Teen Behaviors May Be Influenced by their Friends’ Parents

A new study suggests that a teen’s behavior towards drinking, smoking and drug use may not only be influenced by their peers but also by their peers’ parents as well.

teen friendsStudy author Michael Cleveland from the Penn State University said that while teens are learning to choose their set of friends, parents should not be far behind in making sure that their kids’ friends also have responsible parents. There is a relationship between a teen and the behavior and attitude of his friends’ parents.

“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,” Cleveland said.

Children with parents who refuse to deal with the issue of substance abuse and at the same time belonging in a circle with friends under the same condition will more likely to go the wrong way.

The study was done with about 9,000 students from rural school districts in the 9th grade. The research team were able to identify almost 900 groups from the participants classified as to who their friends are and the parents of their chosen peers. After a year, the groups were surveyed and allowed to answer questions on alcohol, cigarette and marijuana use.

It was found out that teens with parents who regularly check on them and know their activities were less likely to get involved in drugs or alcohol use. Yet having friends with parents that are not aware of their kids’ whereabouts and activities significantly influenced the teen’s decision on the said issues despite having “good parents.”

The complete results of the study can be found in the latest issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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