Researchers from Bowling Green State University and Iowa State University recently conducted a study that examined how remarriage that results in children from multiple partners impacts a child’s drug use and sexual behavior.
The results of the study were quite startling. Teens who had half-siblings were more likely both to use drugs and to have sexual intercourse by the time they reached the age of 15 than those teens who had only siblings with the same two parents. While these results are disturbing, don’t panic if you have children from multiple partners. Remember that the study does not say that having half-siblings causes teen drug and sexual abuse; it only says that the two are related. While this may mean that, if you have children with multiple partners, your children are at an increased risk for these behaviors, it does not mean that the behaviors will definitely occur or that there aren’t things you can do to keep these behaviors from happening.
Education Is Key
All parents are encouraged to talk with their teens about drug abuse, regardless of whether those teens have half-siblings or not. If you are the parent of a child who may be at an increased risk for drug abuse, however, it is even more imperative that you talk with your teen about drug abuse and that you do it often. While talking to your teen about drugs will likely not be easy, there are some tips that can help to make it go more smoothly. They include:
- Research modern-day drug abuse among teens. Drug abuse does not look the same as it did when you were young. Today, teens use different drugs than they did in the past. It’s important that you are aware of what drugs are being used.
- Take steps to ensure that everything you tell your children is factual.
- Encourage your child to ask questions or share thoughts and experiences.
- React calmly if your teen reveals something that is hard for you to hear.
- Talk about drug abuse often, but especially when your teen is going through a difficult transition period, such as a divorce or a move.
- Discuss what peer pressure is and how to avoid giving in to it.
When Your Teen Has a Problem
Sometimes, when parents take that first step and talk to their teens about drug abuse, they may find out that their teen has a drug problem. While you may not be happy to hear this information, you should consider yourself lucky that you know the truth and can get help for your teen. And, regardless of what a teen tells you about his beliefs and practices as it relates to drugs, be watchful for signs that could indicate a problem exists.
If you would like assistance in helping your son to overcome substance abuse, call us at Muir Wood today.