Parents: Prevention Means Being Involved
Parents play an important role in preventing substance abuse among youth. Talking with a child about the dangers of substance use and showing disapproval of such behavior is a key factor. It’s also essential to stay involved in a child’s day-to-day activities.
In a new report from SAMHSA, Parental Involvement in Preventing Youth Substance Use, data from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) support these assertions.
In 2007, most youth age 12 to 17 believed that their parents would strongly disapprove of their having one or two drinks of an alcoholic beverage nearly every day (89.6 percent), smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day (92.1 percent), and using marijuana or hashish once a month or more (93.3 percent).
The majority of youth also indicated that their parents were involved in their day-to-day activities.
For example, 86.2 percent said their parents always or sometimes let them know when they had done a good job, and 80.9 percent of those who were in school said their parents always or sometimes provided help with homework.
However, these perceptions among youth varied by age. In particular, perceptions of parental disapproval of substance use tended to decrease as the child got older.
For example, 95.8 percent of 12- and 13-year-olds thought their parents would strongly disapprove of their smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day, but only 87.4 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds reported having that impression.
Youth perceptions of parental involvement also varied with age. For example, 90.7 percent of 12- and 13-year olds indicated that their parents always or sometimes let them know when they were proud of something their child had done, but only 82.2 percent 16- and 17-year-olds answered yes to this question.
Parental involvement was measured in the form of children’s reports about their parents saying that they were proud of them, having the children do chores around the house, limiting the amount of time they watched TV and went out with friends on school nights, and giving help with homework.
Download Parental Involvement in Preventing Youth Substance Use.