Ahead of Father’s Day this weekend the US government have published findings which link father’s drinking habbits to their children’s substance use.
Alcohol use among fathers, even at levels not sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, is associated with several substance use behaviors and disorders among the adolescent children who live with them. These findings highlight the continuing need to educate fathers, mothers, and family support systems professionals about the potential impact of paternal alcohol use on adolescent substance use. In addition, these findings suggest the importance of providing treatment for fathers with alcohol use disorders and family support services for children of these fathers.
Filed under: alcohol, parents, USA
The Telegraph publish findings from a survey which suggests that divorce causes the children caught up in the middle to turn to alcohol:
Couples who use youngsters as “emotional footballs” during custody battles can leave children so traumatised that a third seek solace in drugs or alcohol, according to a poll of 2,000 people.
This seems to fit in with the findings from the American research we covered the other day which looked at high conflict families.
Filed under: alcohol, parents
A piece of American research into the associations between adolescent family experiences and young adult well-being has been picked up by the Guardian and Telegraph, both of whom report the finding that where there is “high conflict” between parents the young people in the family are more likely to use drugs and become sexually active at a young age.
The paper these stories are drawn from can be downloaded here and whose abstract says:
Findings suggest that exposure to parental conflict in adolescence is associated with poorer academic achievement, increased substance use, and early family formation and dissolution, often in ways indistinguishable from living in a stepfather or singlemother family. Income and parenting largely do not account for these associations. While children tend to do better living with two biological married parents, the advantages of twoparent families are not shared equally by all.
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Filed under: parents, research, USA
Via email I’ve been asked to bring to your attention a book that the NCB have published. My correspondent says:
Building Resilience in Families Under Stress explores how professionals can support parenting in families affected by parental mental health problems and/or parental substance misuse. It considers the prevalence of these issues, the policy and legislative context and discusses current UK service responses.
Drawing on literature and research, the book explores the potential impact on children and families of parental mental health or substance misuse problems. It also considers the concept of resilience and factors that can bolster families’ ability to meet their children’s needs and improve their life, as well as the barriers to effective support for families affected and what is necessary to overcome them.
The book costs£20.00 / £16.00 NCB members and should be available from www.centralbooks.com
Filed under: parents
New American research into how neighbourhoods and family interaction impact on alcohol use amongst urban young people. The abstract says:
We examined relationships between alcohol-related neighborhood context, protective home and family management practices, and alcohol use among urban, racial/ethnic minority, adolescents.
Results suggest inner-city parents respond to environmental risk, such that as neighborhood risk increases, so also do protective home and family management practices. Parent engagement in restricting alcohol access and improving family management practices may be key to preventive efforts to reduce alcohol use.
Filed under: alcohol, parents, research, USA
The Telegraph has a piece looking at what parents can do when trying to cope with their children’s drug problems. The author comes at it from an American perspective, but it may be of interest none the less.
As you’d expect from a piece of journalism there are different perspectives. Those that frown on harsh discipline:
“This tough-love business – throwing him out of the house, calling the police – is just rejecting the child all over again,” says Sheenah Hankin, a British-born psychotherapist on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, who has a celebrity practice including the “brat pack” kids of the very rich. She argues for better understanding and tackling emotional issues that trigger teenage addiction.
And those who think it has a place:
there are addiction counsellors, often those dealing with teens from the urban “street culture”, who do endorse calling the police. “It can be a reality check,” says Perry Savino of the Bridge Back programme in Kingston, New York. “And I make it clear to kids in the programme that if they are selling drugs, then they are harming others. For that, they deserve the consequences.”
You can find a similar discourse about approaches to teenage development in this story from the Guardian a few days ago; where Decca Aitkenhead interviews Camila Batmanghelidjh (Kids Company) and Ray Lewis (Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy).
Filed under: parents
UNODC have published a new report, a Guide to implementing family skills training programmes for drug abuse prevention.
Family skills training programmes have been found to be effective in preventing many of these risky behaviours, including substance abuse. Research findings confirm that skills training produces better results than do programmes that provide parents only with information about substances. Better yet, programmes including skills training for parents, children and families can be implemented from infancy through adolescence and have been shown to positively change family functioning and parenting practices in enduring ways. This results in healthier and more supportive environments in which children can grow and develop.
The report has the following chapters:
- Families and the need for family skills training programmes
- Principles of a good family skills training programme
- Culturally adapting family skills training programmes
- Recruiting and retaining parents and families
- Selecting, training and supporting group leaders
- Monitoring, evaluating and ensuring the sustainability of family skills training programmes
- Summary of the effectiveness, principles and benefits of family skills training programmes
Download the report here.
Filed under: parents
John Bynner writing in the Guardian, takes a look at parenting and whether they matter:
The public wants action. Pick up any tabloid paper and you’ll find headlines about “generations lost to drugs and violence”, teenage muggings and gang fighting, stabbings and knife-carrying youths. Family breakdown is rife they cry and so is drug-taking.
But as one young person pointed out in an online chatroom: “I am 15 years old and I have never smoked, drunk alcohol, had sex or been offered drugs. For every asbo in a hoodie with a knife tucked up his sleeve, there’s at least 100 good guys. The good guys don’t make headlines.”
However, parents are in the spotlight. They are blamed for being overprotective and not equipping children for the real world. They are castigated for being neglectful, self-regarding, irresponsible. They are, it is thought, the originators of many ills.
Now read on.
Filed under: parents
Given the increasing (and welcome) emphasis there has been on involving and empowering parents in delivering drug education I thought there might be an interest in a new report, Oh, Nothing Much, from Becta about engaging parents in education.
They suggest that parents are somewhat frustrated by communication about what happens in schools at the moment.
The press release says:
The survey of 1,000 children aged between seven and 14 years and 1,000 parents, reveals that 43% of parents admit they find it either difficult or very difficult to extract information from their child about their day at school.
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Filed under: education, parents, Becta, Oh Nothing Much
Know the Score is the information and advice service on drugs in Scotland.
They’re running a campaign to encourage parents to talk to their children about drugs and to become better informed themselves. The video they’ve got on the front page of the website makes the point that information about drugs is better coming from parents than from school gossip.
Launching the campaign Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said:
“Parents are as aware and concerned as anyone about the harm which drugs cause in our communities. But many are less certain about the relevance of this to their children, and even so, what they might do about it.
“As this new Know the Score campaign makes clear, if parents don’t discuss drugs with their children, someone else will and very often they’ll be getting the wrong advice.”
Readers of this blog will recall that surveys of parents of teenagers tend to show that while they think that their children’s peer group are taking more drugs they tend to under-estimate their own children’s use.
Filed under: parents, Scotland