There is an important point that needs to be made about parenting styles and their direct correlation with substance abuse, specifically among teens. A lot of parents consider a “stricter” approach to parenting and this can be said to have positive effects on a teen when it comes to avoiding harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Being strict does not mean being mean. In truth, an overly permissive society promotes careless parenting. Being strict strangely becomes a synonym for bad parenting. Such a connection is silly. For example, when being strict protects your child, being strict makes a lot of sense. Moreover, the studies below show that the authoritative parenting approach has other positive benefits as well.
Authoritative Parents Have a Positive Impact on Their Children
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, analyzed the data from multiple years of the ongoing National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They found the following results for teens with friends who had strict parents versus those with permissive parents:
- 40 percent less likely to drink
- 39 percent reduction in smoking
- 38 percent less apt to engage in binge-drinking
- 43 percent decrease in marijuana use
The authoritative parenting approach offers other benefits in addition to helping keep teens and their friends off drugs. Examining the list of these benefits below, any parent will see how a being a little more strict can lead directly to real bonuses for a child. Such benefits must never be underestimated.
Some of these positive benefits include:
- Higher academic performance
- Positive social relationships
- Reduced delinquent behavior in teens
- Deliberate avoidance of risky behavior
- Increased levels of reported well-being
Studies Show a Community Can Work Together to Reduce Drug Abuse
A recent study confirms that the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child,” may be true, particularly when it comes to substance abuse. We live in an age where we often don’t know the names of our next-door neighbors. However, findings from the UC San Diego research show that the parenting style you choose will play a major role in your child’s future.
The study’s results showed that the most effective parenting style to keep kids drug-free is called “authoritative parenting.” Though this title may sound like it describes a strict parent, parents who fall into this definition are able to find balance. They use effective communication, warmth, and appropriate discipline in addition to well-defined boundaries. These boundaries are critical in helping children to avoid drug abuse and/or limit experimentation.
Many people may find it uplifting to know that the ramifications of effective parenting strategies may reverberate throughout their child’s social network. Furthermore, this is just one more reason that parents should get to know their children’s friends and their families. The influence they have may be significant – both positive and negative.
Good parenting means having an awareness not just of your family, but of the greater community. By knowing the social circles of your children, you can protect them from any negative influences. Knowledge is power when it comes to being a parent in the 21st century.
Head researcher Holly Shakya says: “So, good parents may be helping both their own children and the friends of their children. Thus, the benefits of parenting interventions may be multiplied throughout the community beyond parent to child.”
Photo courtesy of Kevin Curtis via unsplash.