Mom's Use of Substances Puts Child at Risk
Are you a "do what I say, not as I do" kind of Mom? If so, you may be surprised that your own use of cigarettes and alcohol during your child's early and middle school years may affect her later use of the same substances - as well as illicit substances such as marijuana - especially if she has certain temperamental tendencies.
A recent study at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at a group of over 3,000 young adults, determining whether their mothers had used tobacco and alcohol, both at a point in time when the child was 5 years old and again when the child was 14 years old. Researchers found that for the children whose mothers used tobacco when they were 14 years old, there was a greater likelihood of regular marijuana use, whether or not Mom was smoking when they were 5 years old. Those children of mothers who consumed more than one daily glass of alcohol both when the child was 5 years old and continuing by the time the child was 14 years old were also more likely to use marijuana in early adulthood.
Authors of the study admitted that some of the young adults who used marijuana had temperaments that consisted of many "externalizing behaviors," that is, characterized by attention problems, aggressive behaviors, and rule breaking, which can play a part in the development of cannabis use disorder.
Nevertheless, parent use of substances is important, not only because if you use cigarettes and alcohol, these things may be more readily available to your child, but because your regular use of these substances gives your child the message that they are an important part of adult life. Children who see their parents dealing with problems and enjoying life without the use of substances more easily understand that these things are not an essential part of life.