Sat Jun 14, 2014, 05:45 PM
RainDog (28,784 posts)
Teens of authoritarian or neglectful parents more likely to use drugs
While "moderate and reason-based" parenting styles - authoritative, not authoritarian, or indulgent parenting styles result in fewer teens who use drugs, or teens who fall into patterns of substance abuse.
Authoritative differs from authoritarian (my way or the highway, no leeway), because authoritative sets boundaries but will talk to the reasoning part of the teen's brain, using affection and two-way communication (i.e. not use shaming/blaming language - which is authoritarian). More on parenting styles here (iow, read this for explanations, don't make up your own in this context.) Authoritative parenting is generally considered the best because of expectations for self-mastery that parents place upon their children, without negative baggage, and without the entitlement that sometimes becomes an issue for kids who grow up with indulgent parenting.
(I admit my personality is more comfortable with indulgent parenting, but I also know good things have happened for my own children with authoritative parenting as part of their life experience, even if it's not my most comfortable "setting" as a human in general.)
An international team headed by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention interviewed 7,718 European kids between 11 and 19 years old. Applying the results to an established psychological model of four different parenting styles — authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent, and neglectful — the researchers found that "the indulgent and authoritative models are those that work best, both for substance use and in personal disorders." Authoritative sounds a bit like authoritarian, but while the authoritarian style is defined by strictness, authoritarian authoritative parents "give clear rules and affectionately and flexibly reason with the children when asking for their compliance," as one of the researchers put it in the press release. Though the kids of authoritarian parents were more likely to do drugs, there's also such a thing as too hands-off, of course: The neglectful parenting style produced similar results.
The key takeaway is that those parents who are most obsessed with their kids not doing bad-kid stuff and who take the strictest approach to preventing that may be the ones most likely to drive kids straight toward those behaviors.
I'm sure a lot of people will read this and go, no, d'uh - but it honestly explains, imo, a lot of the problems in the south and other right wing religious enclaves in relation to parenting styles of religious conservatives. As an authoritative parent, you can say... I expect you to wait to have sex until you're more mature, and I expect you to resist all the pressures surrounding sex in the beehive that is high school. But, if you are going to have sex, you need to make sure you do so with protection against pregnancy and/or STDs. So, if you need birth control, we need to visit the doctor for reliable birth control. Or, you need to keep condoms available, if you're a male, and never assume birth control is a female's responsibility. I think the overall lack of this sort of parenting among "abstinence only" authoritarians causes a lot of unplanned pregnancies.
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