Area families get an “A” for good parenting practices

A survey of youth in the Stettler region has revealed that parents are providing a positive path for their children, awarding them with an “A” for their parenting practices.

Responses collected last June from almost 700 students in grades six to 12 in a “Parents Connect” survey, commissioned by Highway 12 Communities for Drug Prevention, show that the vast majority of parents are closely monitoring their children’s activities.

The survey results indicate that parents, more often than not, know where their children are and who they are with, and that they develop and maintain healthy family connections, giving children and youth clear guidelines, rules and expectations.

“It helped raise awareness that most parents of students in the Highway 12 project area are taking action such as parental monitoring, rules and expectations and positive bonding with children, to prevent their children from using and abusing alcohol and other drugs,” said Gayle Thoun, who co-chairs the group.

Schollie Consulting out of Red Deer assisted in putting together and printing the survey as well as compiling the raw data into a report.

The data was then scanned through and graphed to identify trends and summarize key findings.

“Every student from grades six to 12 in Stettler middle and high Schools, Donalda, Erskine and Big Valley schools completed the survey,” said Thoun.

Students were asked about their own family practices around parent monitoring and family time together and their perceptions about the families of other students in their school.

According to the results of the survey

• Nine out of 10 students say: “When I’m not home my parents know where I am and who I am with.”

• Nine out of 10 students say: “My parents want me to call if I’m going to be late.”

• Nine out of 10 students report their family “has clear rules about alcohol and drug use.”

• Nine out of 10 students say their family “has clear rules about school attendance”.

• Eight out of 10 students say their family “has clear rules about household chores”.

“Parents are really bombarded by all kinds of messages about what they ‘should’ be doing,” said co-chair Siobhan Atkey.

“It can be overwhelming at times, especially when they are being pressured by their teens to be more lenient.”

“We hope this survey reinforces and continues to encourage their positive parenting practices – we want parents to know they are on the right track.”

Survey results are considered significant because earlier research done by Alberta Health Services – Addiction Services (formerly known as AADAC – Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission) and other leading addiction agencies show that parental monitoring and family connections are the strongest protective factors against substance use and abuse among youth.