Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Strict parents healthy for teens:|
|02/27/01 at 19:16:08|
| Strict parents healthy for teens: study|
Yet majority of youths live in households with few rules
Feb. 21 — Teen-agers whose parents monitor the television they watch and the CDs they listen to are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. Still, seven in 10 youths live in households where parents set few rules or none at all, an anti-drug research center said Wednesday
“PARENTS SHOULD not look to Washington, or the statehouse or city hall. They ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘What am I doing to fight drugs?”’ said Joseph Califano, chairman of the Columbia University-based National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
“When you have a sensible set of expectations and rules, you are going to have teens with a much lower risk of using drugs.” Parental neglect “quadruples the likelihood their teens will smoke, drink or use drugs,” Califano said.
Edward Jurith, acting drug policy adviser to President Bush, commended the study, which Jurith said reflects his office’s findings. “Youth tell us that their parents can empower them to make healthy decisions about drugs,” Jurith said in a statement. “Parents’ words and actions are more effective than they may think in keeping their children away from drugs. The CASA study underscores that the struggle against illegal drugs is a continuous process of education and prevention.”
The study shows a correlation between teens at low risk of abusing drugs and those who live in highly structured households. Researchers said, however, the study does not demonstrate a direct cause and effect. Still, it said youth in “hands-off” households were twice as likely to abuse drugs as the average teen; and such youth with absentee parents were four times as likely to do so as children in highly structured “hands-on” homes.
In its sixth annual survey of teen-agers, the center focused for the first time on a parent’s role in abetting teens’ risky behavior. It also found that 61 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds are at risk of abusing cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.
The survey measures risk, not actual substance abuse: embarrassed teens might not be willing to fully report illegal or unacceptable behavior, researchers said.
Results are based on the telephone interviews of 1,000 teens, randomly chosen from a group representing the general population of youth ages 12 to 17. They were asked about their smoking, drinking or drug-taking histories or habits; the behavior of their friends; and the household rules set by their parents.
Leroy Batts, a San Antonio retiree, makes sure his 15-year-old grandson, Kevin, does his chores, doesn’t wear baggy, gang-like fashions and eats dinner at the table each night.
“I’m strict with him, but I don’t browbeat him,” said Batts, a retired soldier who has reared Kevin since the boy was 3 years old. “When he’s sitting at the table every night, if something went on during the day, it will show and we can talk about it.”
The study should demonstrate that American adults can counter many of the enticing messages their children get from TV, music or the Internet, Califano said.
Parents were placed into three groups, based on about a dozen actions reported by their children. “Hands-on” parents consistently took 10 or more of these actions, which included: turning off the TV during dinner; banning music CDs with offensive lyrics; knowing where their children were after school; imposing curfews; assigning their teens regular chores; eating dinner with their children at least six nights a week.
Twenty-seven percent of teens live in such households, researchers said. “Halfhearted” parents set about half these rules; the largest group of children — 55 percent — said they lived in these households.
Eighteen percent of teens described their parents as “hands-off” — following five or fewer of the rules.
According to the survey, 51 percent said they’d never try an illegal drug, compared with the 60 percent who said in 1999 they expected to avoid drugs.
About two-thirds of children say they can find drugs in their schools. More teens find that marijuana is getting to easier to find, even as cigarettes are getting harder to buy.
The report was financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Standards of strictness
The 12 indicators teen-agers used to differentiate between “hands-on” and “hands-off” parental behavior, as determined by a survey of teen risks
for abusing tobacco, alcohol or illegal narcotics:
• Parents expect to be told where teen is going in the evening or on
weekends and is told the truth by the teen.
• Parents have made clear they would be “extremely upset” to find teen
• There are not periods of time after school or on weekends when
do not know where teen is.
• Parents monitor what teen is watching on television.
• Parents impose restrictions on the kind of music teen is allowed to
• Parents are very aware of how teen is doing in school.
• Parents monitor teen’s Internet usage.
• Family typically has dinner together seven nights a week.
• Teen has a weekend curfew.
• An adult is always at home when teen returns from school.
• Teen is responsible for completing regular chores.
• The television is not on during dinner.
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