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Parental Involvement Important to Prevent Addiction in Children

Update Date: Dec 05, 2012 11:10 AM EST

The home is a child's first school and his mother, the first teacher. A large part of a child's personality is already shaped even before he starts going to school. Also, irrespective of how much time a child spends in his school or with his classmates, his/her behavior and choices are to a great extent influenced by family environment.

A new research from North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the Pennsylvania State University suggests that parental involvement matters much more than the school environment when it comes to preventing or limiting alcohol and marijuana use by children, according to a report in Medical Xpress.

"Parents play an important role in shaping the decisions their children make when it comes to alcohol and marijuana," says Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work.

"To be clear, school programs that address alcohol and marijuana use are definitely valuable, but the bonds parents form with their children are more important. Ideally, we can have both."

For the study, the researchers assessed data of more than 10,000 students, as well as their parents, teachers and school administrators for the influence of school and family in the choices made by children in terms of marijuana and alcohol use. They checked for the likelihood and/or frequency of marijuana use and alcohol use in children.

Researchers looked at the bonds that the parents and children shared, apart from the trust, open lines of communication and the parent's active engagement in a child's life.

In terms of school environment, the researchers looked at how it served as a positive platform for learning, including measures such as student involvement in extracurricular activities, teacher morale and the ability of teachers to address the needs of individual students, the report said.

The findings of the research revealed that in case of marijuana and alcohol use, the students with more and healthier family involvement were less likely to have used marijuana or alcohol - or to have used those substances less frequently, compared to other students with a less healthy family atmosphere or indulgence.

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