Study: Teens Heed Parents Warnings against Drugs and Alcohol But Indulge When Left Unguided June 10, 2008

A new survey released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the MetLife Foundation has found that parental guidance and example has a profound affect on their children’s use of alcohol and drugs, especially at such “coming-of-age” events as prom and graduation parties. The survey indicates that when parents engage their children in discussions about alcohol and drug abuse the teens take their parents’ message to heart. “Only 16 percent of teens whose parents set a zero tolerance policy reported their individual likelihood of using drugs or alcohol, whereas 45 percent of teens whose parents didn’t set such boundaries reported they were likely to drink or use drugs at prom or graduation parties this year,” the report states.

The survey also reveals that parents who had abused alcohol and drugs as teenagers were less likely to instruct their children about the negative effects of this behavior and to set a zero tolerance policy for their teens. “Parents who drank or used drugs at their own proms or graduation were likely to be more permissive with their kids than those parents who did not. Among parents who drank or used drugs on these occasions, 66 percent set a ‘zero tolerance policy’ for their teens. Among parents who did not drink or use drugs, that number jumps up to 87 percent of parents who set hard rules about drinking and drugs for their kids.”