February 25, 2013

Just saying ‘Yes?’ Be careful what you tell your child about your drug use

Wondering whether you should admit to your kids you have used drugs? If the results of a new study are an indicator, you probably should pause and think hard before you do so — at least if you want your child to have a higher likelihood of staying clean.

The study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign involving 561 middle school students found that the ones who knew about their parents' substance use were more likely to think it's all right to do drugs. To the contratry, those who believed their parents had not used drugs were more likely to think they are bad and say no when offed a chance to use, according to an ABC News report.

Furthermore, children whose parents told them stories of people who have struggled with the law or otherwise due to substance use, and whose parents made rules against using substances, were much less likely to accept drugs.

“Parents should really hit on what are the bad things that can happen, health-wise, from using drugs,” researcher Jennifer Kam told ABC News. ”They should really clearly tell kids that they disapprove of them using drugs. Also, give them strategies to avoid use or decline use in a way that makes them look cool.”

She does, however, advise parents against lying. “I wouldn’t volunteer the information, but if a child asks, and a parent lies, it could impact the relationship later on,” she noted.

The study appears in the journal Human Communication Research.

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