With a nod to parents whose homes typically serve as a teen hang out for their kids as well as teen friends, a new study finds that healthy, consistent parents also decrease the risk of use for visiting teens.

The study, published in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that teens who had friends whose parents were unaware of or condoned their teens drug use increased the risk for substance use. “Among friendship groups with ‘good parents’ there’s a synergistic effect — if your parents are consistent and aware of your whereabouts, and your friends’ parents are also consistent and aware of their (children’s) whereabouts, then you are less likely to use substances,” study author Michael Cleveland, research assistant professor at Penn State University, said in a university news release. (http://live.psu.edu/story/59510) “But if you belong to a friendship group whose parents are inconsistent, and your parents are consistent, you’re still more likely to use alcohol.”

Knowing a teens whereabouts is a strong parenting tool designed to create accountability in the teen as well as to monitor the likelihood situational use. Parents of teens should reach out to their friend’s families to communicate expectations and to assess attitudes and monitoring. If your teens have friends where consistency is questionable, make your home the “pad of protection”!

Angela Da Re
Director of Prevention
NCADD Sacramento