Not My Kid: Parents Severely Underestimate Teens' Drug and Alcohol Use
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2011 Sep 14
Why do parents consistently feel it isn't their kids who are engaging at-risk behaviors? See my thoughts in the article, The "Not My Kid" Syndrome on HomeWord.com.
Few parents of teens who drink or smoke pot are aware of it, suggests a new study that also finds that most parents are concerned about substance use by teenagers and believe that more than half of 10th-graders drink alcohol (just not their own 10th-grader).
Only 10 percent of parents think their own teens drank alcohol within the last year, and 5 percent believe their teens smoked marijuana in the last year, according to the latest poll by the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
These low numbers severely clash with the university's 2010 Monitoring the Future survey, in which 52 percent of surveyed 10th-graders reported drinking alcohol in the last year and 28 percent reported using marijuana within the last year. Those numbers were based on an annual survey of about 420 public and private high schools and middle schools that are selected to provide an accurate representation of U.S. students at each grade level.
"There's a clear mismatch between what parents are reporting in terms of their children's possible use of substances and what teenagers report themselves," said study researcher Bernard Biermann of the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan. He is also a medical director of the university's Child/Adolescent Inpatient Unit.
While most parents seem to assume their own kids aren't trying alcohol or drugs, they certainly don't think their child's peers are as innocent. In the poll, researchers found that many parents of teens are very likely to believe that within the last year at least 60 percent of 10th-graders drank alcohol and 40 percent of 10th-graders used marijuana.
Source: Live Science