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Drugs & Health Blog

Parents: How Much Do They Influence You?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Someone offers you a cigarette or a beer. In the split second that you have to consider your answer, what do you think about?

What your friends will think?

What about what your parents would think?

When you know that your parents don’t want you to drink, smoke, or use drugs, is that enough to stop you from doing it?

The evidence points to yes: One source says that 3 out of 4 teens say parents are the biggest influence on their decision on whether or not to drink alcohol.

And another survey showed that teens who thought their parents would strongly disapprove of smoking were very unlikely to report smoking cigarettes in the past month.

Communication and Respect Are Key

Separating yourself from your parents is an important part of growing up; teens need to learn to think for themselves and make decisions on their own, after all. But that doesn’t mean parents can’t have some influence when it comes to their kids’ health.

But instead of simply disapproving, isn’t it more about how parents talk to their kids that makes them pay attention—or not? For example, a parent saying “Don’t do this because I said so” may have less impact than if they communicated in an open-minded and respectful way, even about unhealthy behaviors they disapprove of.

Tell Us

So back to our original question: If you know your parents disapprove of something, are you more or less likely to do it? Why?

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


[commercial link removed, per guidelines]. Next, answer to the question, I'll definitely do the way my parents want, but it generally depends on the parents-children relationship. And undoubtedly it depends on mutual respect and communication.


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But that doesn’t mean parents can’t have some influence when it comes to their kids’ health. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

I am 22 years old and I still consider what my parents will think about my actions.

My mom often tells stories of when I was a kid and did something bad that I would say, “Don’t tell Daddy.” I was not afraid of a punishment, I was afraid of what he would think. Even now I think about their possible reactions to the decisions I make every day. I am afraid of disappointing them. My parents raised me to make good decisions, to follow rules, and to stay away from choices that would harm my body. So far I have avoided smoking all-together, and I resisted alcohol, for the most part, until I was of legal age. I have a fairly open relationship with my parents, and I know that they are proud of what I have made of my life so far. I have not wanted drugs or alcohol interfering with my goals.

While parental influence is a major factor in my life decisions, I also frequently think about how my friends view my actions. A lot of my ability to resist these harmful activities was due to the friends that I surrounded myself with. We were all dedicated to school and sports, we respected our parents, and we were a good support system for each other. We could have fun without drugs and alcohol.

I have a good, clean reputation, and knowing how people view me helps to guide my actions. I am very likely to not do something if it will tarnish my reputation. If my parents disapprove of something, they have likely instilled the same values in me. These values have paid off in academic success, health, good relationships with friends, athletic success, and professional accomplishments. I am proud of my relationship with my parents and am happy that I have such good role models and a strong upbringing, which has helped me to make positive choices so far in my life.

it dose not always have to be a parent, it could just be some one that you look up to like a youth pastor or a teacher, or just a friend maybe even a random commint you over heard.
one year at church camp there was a commidian he was acd and he told us a story about how when he was our age he mad a promise to himself not to ever drink, smoke, or do drugs. every time he thought of doing some thing stupid his mom would just some how know and come talk to him. one day he was at a party and they were standing out side on a balcany and he passed out and fell off. wen he was at the hospital the doctor tould him that if he had ever drank just one drop, or smoked just onece then when he passed out he would not have waken up... his promise he made to him self saved his life and if it were not for that then he wouldnt have been there to tell his story.

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If the parent and child relationship is close, mutual respect and affection, certainly good advice for the child's parents must be obeyed.