Parents who discuss their own drug-use risk encouraging their children to experiment, researchers have warned. While previous studies have suggested that parents should be open about drug-use to make their children less likely to take drugs themselves, the study showed that the opposite is the case.
The report, published in the journal Human Communication Research, said that even when parents spoke about negative experiences, it increased the chances of their children also using drugs. However, children whose parents did not talk about drug-use but delivered a strong anti-drug message were more likely to exhibit anti-drug attitudes themselves.
Jennifer Kam, of the University of Illinois, based her findings on a study of more than 500 American high school pupils. The children were asked about conversations with their parents about alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.
Dr Kam said: “Parents may want to reconsider whether they should talk to their children about times when they used substances in the past.”