Posted by Steps to Recovery on February 22, 2013
How will you talk to your kids about drugs? As a parent, one thing I think about quite a little bit is how I will talk to my young daughter about drugs when the time comes. I have a ways to go, but it’s still something I find on my mind quite often. Will I share my experiences with her, that of our family members, will I be very informative but keep it really impersonal? It is a really hard thing to find an answer to that I feel comfortable with. And according to this research, it may be better to not talk to your kids about drugs while including your own personal experience with drug use.
Parents know that one day they will have to talk to their children about drug use. The hardest part is to decide whether or not talking about ones own drug use will be useful in communicating an antidrug message. Recent research, published in the journal Human Communication Research, found that children whose parents did not disclose drug use, but delivered a strong antidrug message, were more likely to exhibit antidrug attitudes.
Jennifer A. Kam, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ashley V. Middleton, MSO Health Information Management, published in Human Communication Research their findings from surveys of 253 Latino and 308 European American students from the sixth through eighth grades. The students reported on the conversations that they have had with their parents about alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Kam and Middleton were interested in determining how certain types of messages were related to the students’ substance-use perceptions, and in turn, behaviors.
Past research found that teens reported that they would be less likely to use drugs if their parents told them about their own past drug use. In Kam and Middleton’s study, however, Latino and European American children who reported that their parents talked about the negative consequences, or regret, over their own past substance use were actually less likely to report anti-substance-use perceptions. This finding means that when parents share their past stories of substance use, even when there is a learning lesson, such messages may have unintended consequences for early adolescent children.
Kam and Middleton’s study identifies specific messages that parents can relay to their children about alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana that may encourage anti-substance-use perceptions, and in turn, discourage actual substance use. For example, parents may talk to their kids about the negative consequences of using substances, how to avoid substances, that they disapprove of substance use, the family rules against substance use, and stories about others who have gotten in trouble from using substances.
“Parents may want to reconsider whether they should talk to their kids about times when they used substances in the past and not volunteer such information, Kam said. “Of course, it is important to remember this study is one of the first to examine the associations between parents’ references to their own past substance use and their adolescent children’s subsequent perceptions and behaviors.”
When the time comes, how will you talk to your kids about drugs?
Original article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222083127.htm