Should parents tell kids about their past drug use?

Psychologist Michael Dennis, PhD, shares advice for parents on why it is not a good idea to tell your kids about your past drug and alcohol use when you were your their age
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Should parents tell kids about their past drug use?

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Parents from the baby boom generation often face the question of, should I confess to my own children that I did drugs and alcohol when I was their age? The short answer is, no, you shouldn't even discuss it because telling war stories is going to glamorize it. Even if you are saying how bad it was, how drunk you go, how you passed out. They are going to want to be like you. If what you told them about how you grew up they are going to try to they are going to follow in those footsteps. While it is very tempting to say, I have to be honest and disclose, a teen is not in a place where they can hear that message from a role model and interpret it. That's a very mixed message that you want to avoid giving to your child.

Psychologist Michael Dennis, PhD, shares advice for parents on why it is not a good idea to tell your kids about your past drug and alcohol use when you were your their age

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Michael Dennis, PhD

Psychologist

Michael Dennis, PhD, is a senior research psychologist and Director of the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center at Chestnut Health Systems in Normal, Illinois. Over the past 25 years his primary area of research has been to better understand and manage addiction and recovery over the life course. This includes multiple clinical trials to compare the effectiveness of adolescent treatment approaches and recovery support services, longitudinal studies with adolescents, adults and older adults to understand the predictors of entering and sustaining recovery, and creating the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center for teaching evidenced based assessment to support clinical decision making at the individual level and program evaluation. He has multiple awards for moving the field from science to practice, promoting diversity through practice based evidence and bringing more people into the field.

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