In texting lingo, the kids call it TMI: Too Much Information. A new study published in the Journal Human Communication Research reports that children whose parents did not disclose drug use, but delivered a strong anti-drug message, were more likely to exhibit anti-drug attitudes.
The researchers say that when parents share their past stories of substance use, even when there is a learning lesson, such messages may have unintended consequences for early adolescent children.
The study identifies specific messages that parents can relay to their children about alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana that may encourage anti-substance-use perceptions, and in turn, discourage actual substance use. For example, parents may talk to their kids about the negative consequences of using substances, how to avoid substances, that they disapprove of substance use, the family rules against substance use, and stories about others who have gotten in trouble from using substances.
Additionally, positive discussions about healthy decision-making and goals for the future can help adolescents and teens appreciate the unintended consequences of substance abuse.