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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quarter of Parents Don't Think They Influence Children

When it comes to teenage substance abuse parents are often the first line of defense. How parents treat the issue can determine how their children perceive the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. However, about a quarter of parents do not believe they can have an influence on their children’s use of alcohol and drugs, according to a new government report.

In the last year, nine percent of parents said that they did not discuss the dangers of substance abuse with their teenage children. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 68 percent of parents who failed to speak to their children about substance use believed they would influence whether their children used drugs if they had spoken to them.

“Any time is a good time to talk to your kids when you have a chance,” said Peter Delany, Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA, reported to USA Today. “But if you haven’t started talking to your kids, before school gets out is an especially good time. In the summer months, especially around holiday weekends, kids are more likely to get involved with substances.”

Delany points out that teens may be more able to obtain substances when they are not in school.
National surveys have shown that teens that think their parents would be against the use of substances are less likely than their peers to experiment with them, according to Delany.

“Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children’s perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “Although most parents are talking with their teens about the risks of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, far too many are missing the vital opportunity these conversations provide in influencing their children’s health and well-being. Parents need to initiate age-appropriate conversations about these issues with their children at all stages of their development in order to help ensure that their children make the right decisions.”
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