How Honest Will You Be With Your Kids About Your Past?

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drug use
Study says kids are more likely to use drugs and alcohol when parents are open about their past use.

My high school boasted a reputation for being more socially liberal than its private school competitors in the Atlanta area — establishing derivative traditions we strangely grew accustomed to, like barefoot graduations, lunch on the grassy knoll and the banjo playing. Drug use, although not any more prevalent than I've seen portrayed as "TV normal" for a high school, seemed interwoven in the culture of freedom and acceptance many of us identified with: we were hippies in our own right. 

My parents were not hippies. I was raised by two loving individuals who were traditionally conservative in their child rearing: no TV on school nights, eat your veggies, respect your elders, say please and thank you, no drugs. For all I knew, my parents were saints: my mother a virgin before marrying, and my father the ideal patriarch and mamma's boy. I almost fell apart when I found a photo of my mother smoking a cigarette during college. 

I love my parents, and worked tirelessly to make them proud. So when tenth grade rolled around and sleepovers became less about Blockbuster and more about smoking a joint in the backyard, I was confused; seriously, soulfully confused.

That moment comes for almost every kid when they must make a judgment call based on the teachings of their parents against the allure of the moment. But what if the kids know the choice their parents made, and it was to take that joint?

A new study published in the Journal of Human Communication and Research says that when parents are honest about their past drug and/or alcohol use, kids are less likely to be interested in these substances — and less likely to try them. The study, which consulted more than 500 sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students, went so far as to say parents who only teach the dangers of substance use, raise kids with a more anti-drug attitude. Keep Reading ...

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