“Some parents claim it makes them a better, more relaxed parent, but that may not be the case”
A recent study in California has led to a surprising conclusion – not only are pot smoking parents no more chill than their non-consuming counterparts, but parents who use cannabis are prone to administer “more discipline techniques,” from time-outs to corporal punishment.
“The acceptability of marijuana is growing in the United States and with that, more parents feel free to use the drug, sometimes even in front of their children,” said Dr. Bridget Freisthler, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor at Ohio State University’s College of Social Work, in a statement.
“Some parents claim it makes them a better, more relaxed parent, but that may not be the case.”
The study, which was published this week in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, suggests that cannabis-consuming parents (92 per cent of whom also consume alcohol) are more apt to attempt to control their children.
“It appears that users may be quicker than other parents to react to minor misbehavior,” Freisthler speculates. “We can’t tell from this study, but it may be that parents who use marijuana or alcohol don’t want their children to spoil the buzz they have, or bother them when they have a hangover.”
Parents who used alcohol and cannabis together were even more likely to discipline their children more than users of cannabis or alcohol alone.
Data was collected via phone survey from 3,023 parents across California. Although the study is a preliminary exploration – and much further research is needed – it is the first of its kind to explore the relationship between the relation between the use of specific substances and parenting styles.
“Nonviolent discipline and corporal punishment show a dose–response relationship when a parent who reported using more substances also reported using both types of discipline more frequently,” the study concludes.
“We suggest that addiction professionals should consider partnering with a specialist in child development or child welfare to conduct in-depth assessments of parenting strategies among the highest-risk groups, such as those with past-year alcohol use or a history of polysubstance use or methamphetamine use.”
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Written by Emma Spears