Being An Authoritative Parent Can Decrease Risk of Teen Drug Use

authoritativeThe latest data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has found that alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use is widespread among youths in Spain, compared to the majority of European countries.[1] Therefore, an international team, led by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention (IREFREA), together with other European and Spanish universities, analyzed the role parents play at the time of determining the risk of their children using alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis.1 The study focused on six European countries: Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.1

The objective of the study was to clarify the type of parent-child relationship that best protects children from taking drugs, using two variables: parental control and affection.1

“Our results support the idea that extremes are not effective: neither authoritarianism nor absence of control and affection,” said Amador Calafat, main author of the study. “A good relationship with children works well. In this respect, it can go hand-in-hand with direct control (known as ‘authoritative’ or democratic style) or not (style wrongly called ‘indulgent’).”1

Classification of families was done, through combining the behaviors adopted by various degrees of demand and responsibility.1 Authoritative models give clear rules while affectionate models reason with children to ask for compliance.1

The results of the study indicated that the indulgent and authoritative models are those that work best.1

“For self-esteem and school performance, it is still better when parents operate with the indulgent style,” Calafat continued. “This study allows a focus and common discussion in Europe in drug use prevention programs.”1

Overall, 7,718 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 were interviewed.1 “From a global personal health perspective, the ‘authoritative’ and ‘indulgent’ parental styles equally protect against the use of drugs,” said Calafat. “Until now, this last observation was exclusively associated with Mediterranean and South American countries. However, we also see that it is valid for many European countries.”1

[1] FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2014, June 11). Having authoritarian parents increases risk of drug use in adolescents, European study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 12, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611102203.htm

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