When kids are abusing drugs or alcohol, many parents consider peer pressure, stress from being in sports or other extracurricular activities, or may even consider the idea that as parents they fight with each other a lot and that may be causing the child grief. While these are all reasonable, potential causes for why children may engage in drugs or alcohol, there is one cause that many parents don’t wish to face: parenting style. The way that parents manage the day-to-day interactions with their kids can contribute greatly to their potentiality for drug abuse.
According to the American Psychological Association, there are three main types of parenting styles:
- Authoritative – With this style, parents are nurturing, responsive, and supportive. They have firm set limits with their children, and they attempt to control their child’s behavior through explaining rules, discussing, and reasoning. Children raised by these types of parents tend to be cheerful, self-reliant, self-controlled, cooperative and achievement-oriented.
- Permissive – With this style, parents are warm and loving with their children, but lax. They do not set firm limits, they do not closely monitor their children’s behavior or require mature behavior. Children who grow up with these types of parents tend to be more impulsive, rebellious, aimless, domineering, and low in self-reliance and self-control.
- Unresponsive – With this style, parents are unresponsive and rejecting. They are emotionally and physically avoidant of their children. Neglectful parents tend to raise children who have low self-esteem, little self-confidence, and they may seek out other role models.
A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Sweden titled “Role of parenting styles in adolescent substance use: Results from a Swedish longitudinal cohort study”, they found that the neglectful parenting style was associated with worse outcomes of substance use among the 1268 adolescents who participated in the study. Furthermore, the authoritative parenting style was associated with less frequent drinking. However, more parenting styles have been defined by other researchers, including:
- Authoritarian – With this style, parents do not encourage verbal “give and take”, they expect for their child to follow their rules without any question, they tend to control their children through shaming, withdrawing of love, or other punishments, and they don’t typically explain the reasoning behind their rules. Previous research has shown that children who were raised with this style are more likely to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. They are also less resourceful, less socially-adept, and more likely to become involved in bullying.
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