Links Between Parenting Style and Teen Drug-Use

Do Certain Parenting Styles Predispose Teens to Drug and Alcohol Abuse?

Studies have shown that parenting style has a significant influence on a teen’s decision to use illicit drugs.

While there is no cure-all (children still have agency or instrumentality), the way you rear your children could prevent a lot of problems. There is no true “parenting” manual, and there are no perfect parents. But some studies have shown that some parenting styles are more effective than others.

In general, there are four different parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. Let’s take a look at each of them.


Permissive and authoritarian are the two extremes of parenting styles. Authoritarian parenting can be summed up by Mr. Wormwood from Matilda (the movie), “I’m the parent; you’re the child. I’m right; you’re wrong.”

Authoritarian parents give no leniency and offer little affection to their children despite their kids’ efforts. Not all children come out as well-balanced as Matilda, however. Instead of becoming stark, up-right children, authoritarian parents can expect to have an anti-social run-away. These unhappy youngsters succumb to peer-pressure and drugs so that they can receive the recognition and validation they crave.


Permissive parenting raises impulsive children. While these parents have a lot of love for their children, permissive parents give limited guidance and restrictions to their children.

A permissive mother wants to be her kid’s friend, and she believes that her child needs the freedom to learn on his own. Not only this, but many permissive parents will spoil their kids until they turn into self-entitled monsters. These children lack independence and motivation.

They are unlikely to take on responsibility and may act out aggressively. They are more likely to fall into drugs and alcohol addiction for the fun of it (instead of rebellion) because they expect no consequences.


Uninvolved parenting is several levels below permissive parenting. Uninvolved parents have little interest in their kids’ life.

Some rare parents have absolutely no interest in their children. These are the parents who do not worry about discipline. Uninvolved parents neglect and reject their kids; and these children are the most likely to end up getting involved in criminal activity.


Studies have proven that authoritative parenting is beneficial for a child’s overall well-being and success. Authoritative parents use plenty of affection while rearing their children, but they also set rules and constructive limits.

Unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents are flexible; they listen and respect their children’s opinions. Instead of telling the kids to “just do it,” they explain the rules to their children. Children reared by authoritative parents are the most likely to be independent, confident, and academically successful. Brigham Young University studied 5000 teenagers (12-19 years old), and the study has determined that authoritative parenting cuts teens chances of binge drinking in half.


In conclusion, authoritative parenting is the best method to use in rearing children. Here, kids grow up well-balanced and drug-free.

Swinging to the two extremes–being either overbearing or over-relaxed–will leave kids disconcerted, less likely to succeed in society, and more likely to get into drugs and alcohol.

But even children who have been raised well can fall into bad habits and behaviors. It’s a good thing, therefore, that there are facilities that focus on helping teenagers find themselves again.

Citations: Corey Ann. “Family Portrait”. August 15, 2007. Online image. Flickr. November 24, 2012.

by Claire Smith who is a freelance blogger and a nurse who specializes in psychiatry. She writes about several kinds of mental and emotional problems that are bothering kids today. She also provides material for RedCliff Ascent, an organization that offers wilderness therapies to troubled teens.

2 Comments on “Links Between Parenting Style and Teen Drug-Use”

  1. A good insightful article. I feel as parents we need to do what works best for our children and us. every child is unique and of course we can broadly adapt good tips from positive parenting.

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