Adolescents who are comfortable expressing their opinions at home can more easily resist negative influences to use drugs or alcohol
PROBLEM: How can parents protect their teens from peer pressure to use drugs or drink alcohol?
- Even Your Pet Dog Was First 'Made in China'
- Those Who Love One Another, Yawn Together
- How to Make Kids Eat the Vegetables They Hate
METHODOLOGY: University of Virginia researchers recruited a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse pool of participants of more than 150 families to understand the influence of social skills, close friendships, and parent-teen ties on substance use. When the children were 13, 15, and 16 years old, the scientists observed their interactions with their peers and parents, and asked all of them to answer questionnaires.
RESULTS: Adolescents who held their own in family discussions were better at standing up to peer influences to use drugs or consume alcohol. The best protected of the group were the teens who persuaded their mothers with reasoned arguments, rather than with pressure, whining, or insults, when talking about topics like grades, money, household rules, and friends.
CONCLUSION: Teens who more openly express their opinions with their moms are more likely than others to resist peer pressure to use drugs or drink alcohol.