Study Warns You Should Be Keeping Mum On Your Past Drug Use to Your Kids

Study Warns You Should Be Keeping Mum On Your Past Drug Use to Your Kids

I have always been of the mindset that honesty is the best policy. There are times where honesty can be difficult or uncomfortable, but sometimes that’s what parenting is! The kids know they can come to me and ask any questions, which at their age is multiple times a day, and I will answer honestly.

A new study suggests that when it comes to talking to your kids about past drug use, honesty may not be the best policy.

Published February 22nd in the journal Human Communication Research, the study found that parents who did not disclose their past drug use to their kids, but delivered a strong anti-drug message, were more likely to have children who exhibit a strong anti-drug use attitude.

Jennifer A. Kam, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ashley V. Middleton, MSO Health Information Management and her team of researchers surveyed 253 Latino and 308 European American students from the sixth through eighth grades for the study. Each student reported on the conversations they had with their parents that discussed alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana to determine, “how certain types of messages were related to the students’ substance-use perceptions, and in turn, behaviors.”

The findings of the study show that 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. What this means is that when parents share their past stories of drug use, even when portraying the negative, those children are more likely to follow that same path. Researchers suggest that you can still talk to your kids about drugs, the negative consequences, dangers and can even share stories from other people, but you should keep mum on your own personal past.

“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.”

:: Do you think you will talk to your kids about anything negative from your past? ::

Photo credit: adapted from iStockPhoto
Study:  Human Communication Research, February 22, 2013


Article Posted 4 years Ago

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