Discussing the second thoughts or regrets of past drug use may seem like a decent approach to discuss the dangers of illicit drugs, yet the move could backfire, according to new study.
Children of parents who uncover past alcohol, drug or tobacco use are more inclined to have more positive perspectives about use than peers whose parents didn’t have such confessions, as pointed out in a study distributed by the journal Human Communication Research. The statistics held true even when the parents were portraying their regrets about illicit drug use.
“This is a truly cool thing, on the grounds that it does break down the dialog” and gives parents a few thoughts for what to say, said Michael Fendrich, a substance addiction epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who was not included in the study.
Yet the findings and discoveries are merely correlational, so the study doesn’t demonstrate that parental honesty really prompts drug and alcohol use among teens, and muddles such communication about addiction or drug and alcohol abuse down the line.
Finding the right words
Discussions about drug use can be unimaginably precarious, Fendrich pointed out.
“Children are pretty shrewd, they see the picture of their mother and father giving the peace sign on the VW bus,” he said. “How would you correspond with your children about that?”
“Claiming to never have dabbled in drug use may appear tricky, yet unveiling a hippie past life isn’t simple either” Fendrich discussed in The Old Drug Talk: 7 New Tips for Today’s Parents.
To identify how parents’ discussions were tied to kids’ drug behavior, Jennifer Kam, a University of Illinois communication researcher, and her associate Ashley Middleton studied 561 sixth- through eighth-graders on whether their guardians ever revealed past drug, alcohol or tobacco use, and whether they had regrets about it. (The study didn’t recognize parents’ use of illicit versus lawful substances or single out addiction or issue drug behavior.)
About 80 percent of the parents had uncovered past use. The teens then concealed their drug behavior.
“The more often the parents talked about regret over their own use, the bad things that happened, and that they’d never use it again, the students were more likely to report pro-substance-use beliefs”,Kam told.
Those students likewise imagined that their parents would be less opposing in the event that they did attempt drugs and also thought a greater amount of their peers did drugs. Only a small segment of adolescents had used illegal drugs such as weed by this age.
The researchers hypothesize that these messages may reverse expectations by leading children to think ‘if my parents did it, it’s not that terrible’.
Reason or relationship?
However while the findings are intriguing, they don’t demonstrate that the heart-to-heart drug talks were the reason for tolerant attitude to drugs and alcohol
For one, mental issues are strongly tied to future drug problems, yet the study didn’t evaluate students’ mental wellbeing whatsoever, Fendrich said.
It may be the case that children effectively inclining toward drugs lead parents to open up about their past, not the other way around, Fendrich said. “Are those folks the ones who say ‘Goodness, I can reach my child if I let them know I am human just like he is?'”
Keeping in mind past studies have shown that mentality about drug use foresee whether teenagers are liable to attempt drugs, connecting them to long-term issues is considerably shakier.
Some questionable studies have shown that individuals who experiment with different drugs, but then move past that stage, have a tendency to be better at adjusting than teens who become dependent or teens who totally abstain, Fendrich said.