Monday, July 19, 2010

The Centaur Scrolls: Parental Involvement Reduces Teen Smoking and Drinking

Parents have a profound impact on their children’s lives and decision-making paradigm. Many national organizations that combat underage and young adult drinking and smoking integrate and heavily rely on parental involvement and education into their strategies for achieving results, because parents have the greatest incentive to assist the program.

Perhaps the most well-known organization which uses parents to fight underage drinking is Mothers Against Drug Driving (MADD). MADD writes, “Did you know that 74 percent of kids turn to their parents for guidance on drinking? That’s why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) created this website. It’s packed with tips and expert resources so parents can talk effectively about alcohol with teens and support safer communities.” According to MADD, “caring parents can make a difference,” and they are absolutely correct. MADD provides training courses and informational materials to equip parents with the information they need to best speak to their children about the dangers of drunk driving.

According to a longitudinal study by Redmond Spoth, family factors, such as the child-parent relationship, were heavily influential in whether or not an underage child drank alcohol. His research has also been supported and championed by a number of anti-drunk driving and underage drinking organizations. The evidence is telling: parents have the greatest influence on their children’s drinking habits.

In a similar vein, parents have proven highly effective in combating smoking among young people. According to recent studies by medical specialists, “teens whose parents set the firmest smoking restrictions tend to smoke less than do teens whose parents don't set smoking limits. The same goes for teens who feel close to their parents.” If parents stand against smoking, their children are much less likely to smoke.

The primary pro-parent campaign against smoking is The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). Citing national surveys from various independent researchers, the CTFK soberly writes that “each day, more than 3,500 kids try their first cigarette; and each day about 1,000 other kids, under 18 years of age, become new regular, daily smokers. That is more than 350,000 new underage daily smokers each year – and roughly one-third of them will eventually die prematurely from smoking-caused disease.” The answer, they argue, is an integrated strategy of parents teaching their children the dangers of smoking, the false allure of tobacco advertisement techniques, and setting a consistent example for their children. Other organizations, such as, also employ these techniques (other related organizations can be found on the Women's Health website hyperlinked above).

According to an article in Medical News Today, this is a relatively new approach, yet it is already yielding results. Karl Hill, director of the University of Washington's Seattle Social Development Project, writes that “Parents may feel that they don't matter to their teens, but this study indicates, they really do,” and that “such factors as not smoking, having good family management skills in setting rules and monitoring behavior, and having a strong emotional relationship with their children matter until the end of adolescence.”

For centuries, the influence and guidance of parents over their children has been proven and respected. More recently, individuals have rediscovered just how effective this component is to an effective strategy for societal reform. Dedication to our children and their wellbeing begins with dedication to the rights of responsible parents to raise their children as they see fit. Because this time-honored principle should be protected and preserved for future generations, the Parental Rights Amendment (HJR 42, SJR 16) has been introduced in the US Congress. To learn more about the cause, visit The best course for helping our youth is to protect children by empowering parents: get involved today.

Seek the truth, find it, and defend it to the death -- sometimes it is a matter of life or death,


"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch, as it is your's, Badger, to remember." -- Glenstorm

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