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Toledo Legal News - News OSU study finds parents who smoke pot are more controlling


Results of a new study co-authored by an Ohio State University professor has found that California parents who use marijuana administered more types of discipline to their children on average than did non-users.

Everything from timeouts to physical abuse, in some cases, Ohio State social work professor Bridget Freisthler said.

"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," Freisthler said.

"Some parents claim it makes them a better, more relaxed parent, but that may not be the case."

Published online in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, the study suggests that marijuana users - who are nearly always also alcohol users (about 92 percent of the time) - are trying to control their kids more than non-users, Freisthler said.

"It appears that users may be quicker than other parents to react to minor misbehavior," she said.

"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."

Researchers interviewed 3,023 randomly selected California parents of children 12 years old or younger by telephone in 2009, a press release detailed. They asked participants about their recent use during the past year and their use of alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine and other drugs prior to that.

Additionally, researchers asked how often parents used non-violent discipline, such as timeouts or taking away privileges; corporal punishment and physical abuse.

Parents who used marijuana in the past year tended to use more of all types of discipline compared to non-users, the findings found. The results took into account a variety of other factors that could affect the use of discipline, such as parental stress and depression and child and parent demographics. The same was true of alcohol users.

Parents who had used alcohol or marijuana in the past, but were not at the time of the research interview, also applied most types of discipline more often than did non-users.

The more substances parents used showed a direct correlation to the frequency of the discipline, according to the study. For example, parents who reported using the most substances practiced physical abuse at a rate about 1.45 times greater than those who used only one substance, the press release detailed.

Results showed that the annual frequency of physical abuse was 0.5 times higher among parents who used both alcohol and marijuana in the past year, compared to those who consumed only alcohol.

"The use of several different kinds of substances certainly is a warning sign that parents may be relying more heavily on discipline to control their children," Freisthler said. "Marijuana use is not risk-free.

"It affects a lot of behaviors, including parenting."

The study, which was co-authored by Nancy Jo Kepple of the University of Kansas, was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

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OSU study finds parents who smoke pot are more controlling

Results of a new study co-authored by an Ohio State University professor has found that California parents who use marijuana administered more types of discipline to their children on average than did non-users.

Date Published: August 13, 2019