A Parent’s Watchful Eye Does Keep Kids From Drugs, Alcohol

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.

Parents can be very effective buzzkills for their teens just by letting kids know they’re being closely watched, a new study reports.

Teenagers are less likely to drink, smoke, or use drugs when parents keep tabs on their activities, according to findings published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

What’s more, teens don’t need to be busted at least once by their parents to get on the straight and narrow, results show.

Simple awareness that parents are monitoring their behavior wound up cutting teens’ use of alcohol or drugs by 40%, without any actual punishment being doled out, researchers found.

The assumption up to now has been that monitoring works because parents are more likely to catch kids red-handed and inflict some sort of punishment like grounding them or taking away their smartphones, lead researcher William Pelham, an assistant adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Diego, said in a news release.

But it appears that assumption is wrong, based on survey responses from more than 4,500 11- to 15-year-olds from communities across the United States.

Overall, nearly 4% of kids said they’d used alcohol or drugs in the past month, and there was no evidence that parents’ monitoring had increased the teens’ likelihood of getting caught.

On the other hand, other kids said there were times in the past month when they had a chance to drink or use drugs, but they chose not to out of fear their folks would find out, results show.

If not for those second thoughts, substance use would have been 40% higher among the teens in the study, researchers said.

In other words, if teens know their parents are keeping track of them, that might be enough to keep many from drinking or taking drugs, Pelham said.

Source: HealthDay

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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