Many teenagers today use illegal drugs and substances. There are many factors that influence drug use. Whether people say it is parents that influence the most or peers that influence the most, each one has a role in it. Some surveys say drug use is going down and some say it is going up. Whichever the case may be it is still a problem to our society.
The presence of a parent is no as important as people think when talking about drug use. Research shows that the “presence or absence of parents is less crucial… than the quality of the parent child relationship”(Whitman 22).
Also there are many things that can happen in a family. When there is a drastic change in the family structure, for example, a parent is replaced by another person it could have an impact on drug use later in life. As research shows, “changes in the family structures should be considered when investigation relationships and drug use”(McCullum 22).
Relationships with parents have always been very important to teenagers, whether it influences them in a positive way or a negative way. For example, “if parents can remain warm, firm and supportive throughout the often troublesome time of adolescence” they “will still feel secure and loved”(McCallum 26).
Therefore better communication between parents and children about the dangers of drug use has helped the decline in teenage drug use (Vise 1).
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When teenagers have a good communication between their parents and them, they tend to be more open with their parents about drugs. Parents will, in most cases, communicate with their children their disapproval of illegal drug abuse. If this happens, teenagers will be more apt to listen to their parents. In studies shown “teens who have a close relationship with their parents report low alcohol and drug use”(McCullum 22).
Many people think it is only the behavior of the parent that counts the most, but actually it is the “parental attitudes towards a behavior that influences an adolescents’ behavior more than the actual behavior of the parent”(McCallum 22).
One of the main reasons for developing a drug abuse problem is a poor relationship with the parent or parents. These adolescents run a greater risk than all the other, of having a drug problem(McCallum 25).
Also “many parents don’t know how much they influence their children – they aren’t aware of the importance of being good role models of responsible substance use, or the importance of warm, supportive family relationships”(McCallum 26).
Many parents abuse drugs and/or substances themselves. Adolescents follow that example, and eventually become drug users too. But most other parents put good examples for their children.
Teenagers have always had a tendency to do what their parents have told them not to do. Some teenagers use drugs to “get back at their parents. On the other hand teenager who did use drugs, quit using them because of their parents. In a survey taken, “when 25 year old men and women who abstained from marijuana or had stopped using it were asked why they did so, 60% of the abstainers and 53% of the quitters gave parental disapproval as the main reason” for their quitting of the use of marijuana (McCallum 24).
Peers are well know to play major parts in a teenagers life. This is especially true when it comes to drug use. In a survey taken in 1994, it mentions that “in all studies reported, the initial use of marijuana involve association with peers” (McCallum 23).
When friends us drugs they are more apt for using them themselves (McCallum 23).
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Another major part in peer influence is age. A child of younger age is less susceptible to peer pressure than one in the teenage years. In elementary is not as desired to be “cool” than in the high school level (McCallum 24).
Many teens use drugs to be cool, and many do not. Some use drugs to escape the harsh reality of their problems and many do not.