Parent Drug Perceptions Survey Shows Range of Approaches

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

Project Know, an organization focused on helping parents and educators learn more about addiction, has completed a survey of more than 2,000 adults on the subject of parenting and substance abuse. According to the project’s website, no challenge is tougher to handle for those who care about kids than guiding young ones through the complexities surrounding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The study is named Parental Drug Perceptions: Exploring Positions on Youth Substance Use.

Parents often have to rethink their positions on substance use despite their personal opinions on the subject. No matter a mother’s or father’s stance, he or she must realize that decisive leadership by the guardians of a child can have a crucial impact on the child’s relationship to these dangerous substances.

The question becomes, will a parent use education and leniency to prevent their youngster from abusing drugs, or will he or she administer strict rules which could backfire and drive the child to abuse substances?

When adults involved in the study were asked their positions on drugs and alcohol, 40.2% said they were somewhat strict, 31.1% responded they were very strict, 1.4% replied they were very lenient, 8.3% were moderately less stern, and 19% were neither strict nor lenient.

Of those asked about their position on drugs and alcohol as compared to their parents’ attitude, 41.4% stated they were of about the same opinion as their parents. Only 4.6% said they were much less strict, while 18.5% replied they were somewhat less stern. Twenty-one and a half percent revealed they were slightly more stringent, and 14% advised they were much more stern.

Apparently, the lessons and rules taught during childhood stay with individuals beyond the adolescent years. The study reveals that parents can have a substantial influence on their children and that these young ones will also eventually adopt their mothers’ and fathers’ positions on drugs and alcohol when they are adults.

In 2014, research conducted across six countries discovered that particular parenting styles could result in increased drug use in adolescents. The groups with the largest rates of heightened drug usage in their teenagers were those who were overly strict, neglectful, or very lenient.

Parents were asked when they first tried alcohol and marijuana and at what age they thought it acceptable for their children to use these two substances. Sixty-five percent of participants had used alcohol before they were 18. That same percentage responded that their kids would need to be 18 or older before they try alcohol, while 3% said it would never be appropriate for their children to do so.

The same perceptions were in place when the questions were centered on marijuana, where 39% of subjects acknowledged they had tried marijuana before they were 18. However, only 14% would be agreeable to allowing their young ones to try it out at the same age. Of the respondents, 77% say it is important to educate kids on the dangers of these substances before they are 13.

Although a majority of the parents felt substance abuse needed to be addressed early on, 41% felt it was appropriate for kids under 21 to drink alcohol while under adult supervision. But only 6% stated that marijuana use under adult supervision would be proper. Project Know explains that being lenient with one menacing substance can potentially cause minors to become confused when it comes to deciding whether to use other dangerous substances.

Attempting to understand the difference among and the gravity of particular substances is one reason it is so difficult to balance sternness and leniency. The organization says that it is often best to teach children values they will take with them into adulthood by ensuring they are educated in these matters as soon as is appropriate and are guided by their parents consistently.