There are myriad reasons why kids use drugs. Some may include peer pressure, a curiosity about drugs, a search for something to ease tension and anxiety during social settings such as parties and dances, etc. Yet, in my opinion, the role of the family, the home environment, the action and behaviors of the parents, the family cohesion, and the parental response or lack thereof of to the knowledge of drug use and abuse plays a key role in the initial choice to use drugs and progression of drug use.
It is well known that kids follow after and mimic the behavior of their parents. I, myself am a perfect example of this fact. My father is a Biology professor. I am sure this played a huge role in my obtaining a perfect score on my Advanced Placement Biology examination in high school, becoming a Biology major in college, going on to attend medical school, and even specializing in Pathology. We are creatures of habit and we are also the offshoot of our parents.
Dr. Roberta Gilbert in her book The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory describes that even kids that cutoff and strive to get as far away from their family of origin, still discover a great deal of parental and familial influence in the choices they make and where they end up as adults.
Isador Chien, et al in their book, The Road to H, which focused on a group of boys between the ages of sixteen to twenty that used drugs describes the home life of the kids that went on to use drugs as typically “conducive to the development of a disturbed personality.” The parents were often separated or divorced, overtly hostile, and displayed a general lack of warmth in their interactions. In almost half of the cases, there was no father and no other adult male in the household during a significant portion of the early childhood years. The parents were often unclear about their expectations of standards of behavior which led to much frustration. In many cases, the parents were inconsistent in their application of disciplinary measures and their ambitions for their sons were typically unrealistically low or unrealistically high.
As I read this, I could understand the frustration of not knowing “how to act.” As children, we look to our parents or other adults in our lives to teach and train us proper behaviors. We learn how to act by looking at and mimicking the behavior of those adults we encounter. Although problematic and inconclusive, we receive what is handed down from those that have gone before us. If those actions and beliefs serve us well, we will may find the elusive “happiness” we seek.
If those teachings and behaviors serve us poorly, we will likely make life more difficult for ourselves. If your life has not turned out the way you hoped or expected, think back to the actions and behaviors that got you to this point. Where would you have thought or hoped you would be? Are there people you look up to and admire that are living or behaving in a way you would like? Seek these people out and spend time with them and see if you can learn new beliefs, new behaviors, new ways of action that will serve you better and get you closer to the you, you desire to become.