Substance Use by Parents and the Effect on Kids

Introduction

The misuse of substance among children has been a major problem in most countries (Velleman and Templeton 2007). Research has indicated that children who are introduced to substance abuse at early stages in their lives are likely to develop serious psychological and behavior disorders in adulthood (Velleman and Templeton 2007). In America and most of European countries, children are introduced to substance abuse as early as the age of 11 years. The problem of substance abuse is particularly common among the adolescent. This is because the children at this stage are likely to adventure and to imitate others. Consequently, they imitate the use of various substance such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana from their significant others. Research has indicated that children will abuse substance if their parents are consumers of such substance (Andrews, Hops and Duncan 1997). Earlier research studies have identified the risk factors that lead to substance abuse among children whose parents abuse the same substance. However, how these risk factors influence the use of substance by the children is not well understood. This research will build on the findings of earlier studies. It will use qualitative research to investigate the relationship between age and gender of adolescents and their relationship with their parents with the aim of determining how this relationship contributes to substance use among the adolescents.

Literature Review

Earlier research studies have proved that children whose parents abuse substance are likely to develop the same behavior (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). Studies have indicted that parenting has indirect effect on substance use among the adolescents (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). These studies suggested that parental factors on substance use among adolescents operate indirectly (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005).This is through stable characteristics among the adolescents (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). The studies by Chapple, Hope and Whiteford (2005) investigated the relationship between self-control among the youth and the parenting variables. They concluded that the variables operate indirectly to prevent the adolescents from abusing substance (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). They identified the intensity of relationship and emotional attachment between the parents and their children as the factors that determine the children’s ability to imitate their parents in relation to substance use (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). However, the relationship between these factors and the level of substance use among children is yet to be understood. Besides, the conclusions were based on personal views and suggestions rather than empirical evidence.

According to Andrews, Hops, and Duncan (2007) adolescents are likely to model the use substance if the relationship between them and their parents is good. Their investigations indicate that the most influential factor that introduces adolescents to substance abuse is their parents’ use of substance (Andrews, Hops and Duncan 1997). This study indicates that mothers have more influence on adolescents than fathers (Andrews, Hops and Duncan 1997). However, this conclusion did not take into account the effects of age and gender among the adolescents in relation to the influence of their parents (Andrews, Hops and Duncan 1997). It also did not identify why mothers are more influential than fathers and how it happens.

According to Plant, Orford and Grant (1989), parents who drink excess alcohol are likely to have children with the same behavior. According to their findings, parental use of substance has long-term effect on their children (Plant, Orford and Grant 1089). These effects include crime, substance abuse and suicide (Plant, Orford and Grant 1089). However, their study did not investigate why some children whose parents abuse substance abstain from the same substance. According to Velleman and Templeton (2007), substance use among parents has both social and mental effects on their children in addition to initiating them to the use of the same substance. However, their study did not explain how the risk factors initiate the children to substance abuse.

From the above literature review, it is clear that children are likely to use substance in future if their parents use the same substance (Plant, Orford and Grant 1089). The intensity of the relationship and emotional attachment between the parents and their children determine whether the children will imitate their parents in using substance or not (Chapple, Hope and Whiteford 2005). Earlier researches identified that parental use of substance has an influence on their children’s use of the same substance. However, they did not investigate how this happens. Consequently, an academic research on the relationship between age, gender and the relationship between the parents and their children is needed as a response to the above challenges. The sociological theory of differential association will be used to investigate the relationship between the parents and their children. The control theory will be used to investigate why some children do not use substance despite the fact that their patents use them.

Hypotheses

Based on the issues and questions raised in the literature review, the following questions will be investigated:

  1. What is the relationship between age and gender of the adolescents and the influence that their parents have on them?
  2. What is the role of the relationship between parents and their children in relation to substance use?
  3. What is the relationship between a child’s belief on moral standards and the influence of their parents?

Research Design or Method

This will be a qualitative research study that will use sociological theories and both primary and secondary sources of data to investigate how parental influence leads to substance abuse among their children.

Data Collection

The primary sources of data will include the statistics on substance use among adolescents and their parents. This will be obtained from the state’s department of crime and law enforcement. Data on substance use will also be obtained directly from the adolescents and their parents. Secondary sources of data will include reports of earlier research works and publications or journal articles on the research topic. The methods of collecting data will include surveys, focused group discussions and article review. All these methods are needed since the topic is wide and requires a lot of information to be analyzed.

Sampling

The participants in the study will include adolescents (between 9-20 years) and parents below 50 years of age. To ensure representativeness, the study will be conducted in every district of the country. The marginalized communities will also be considered in the study. To avoid bias, the participants will be picked at random in order to give everyone an equal opportunity of being picked. The size of the population will depend on the time and resources available to support the study.

Constructs

In research question one, age and gender will be conceptualized as characteristics. The measurements will include variance in parental influence in relation to the age of the child, the relationship between daughters and their mothers/ fathers, the relationship between sons and their mothers/ fathers. In question two, the role of the relationship between parents and their children will be conceptualized as commitment. The measurements will include the authority of parents over their children, the role of parents in socializing their children, and children’s perspective on parents’ behavior. In question three, the measurements of belief will include children’s perspective on morality and children’s ability to identify right from wrong.

Data Analysis

The first step in data analysis will be proofreading the surveys to ensure that they are complete and free of grammatical errors. Statistical tools such as ANOVAs and Chi-squares will be used to analyze the data. The result of the analysis will be presented in the form of a report that answers the questions of the research.

References

Andrews, Judith A., Hyman Hops, and Susan C. Duncan.1997. “Adolescent Modeling of Parental Substance Use: The Moderating Effect of the Relationship with the parent.” Journal of Family Psychology 11(3): 259-270.

Chapple, Costance L., Trina L. Hope, and Scott W. Whiteford. 2005. “The Direct and Indirect Effect of Parental Bonds, Parental Drug Use and Self-Control on Adolescent Substance Use.” Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 14(3): 17-35.

Plant, Michael A., John Orford, and Michael Grant. 1989. “The Effects of Children and Adolescents of Parents’ Excessive Drinking: An International Review.” Public Health Report 104(5): 433-442.

Velleman, Richard and Lorna Templeton. 2007. “Understanding and Modifying the Impact of Parents’ Substance Misuse on Children.” Advocacies in Psychiatric Treatment 13(1): 79-89.

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