While most people associate smoking marijuana with laid back and chill vibes, a new study is showing that parents who use the drug are more likely to discipline their children than those who don't smoke the drug.
A study published Monday in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Additions looked at 3000 California parents of children below the age of 12 and asked them about their drug use and whether they discipline their children and by what means. The study determined that those who use marijuana are more likely to discipline their children in both corporal and non-corporal ways, such as spanking, time-outs and restricting privileges such as device and video game use.
"The findings revealed that parents who used marijuana in the past year tended to use more of all types of discipline compared to non-users, even after taking into account a variety of other factors that could impact use of discipline, such as parental stress and depression and child and parent demographics," the study found.
"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," Bridget Freisthler, co-author of the study and professor of social work at The Ohio State University said, Science Daily reports. "Some parents claim it makes them a better, more relaxed parent, but that may not be the case."
"There are parents who say marijuana calms them down and makes them a better parent. That’s not what we’re seeing in this particular study," Freisthler told the New York Post.
While the difference is small — the study found a .5% increase in the use of discipline in parents who smoke versus those who don't — the results were surprising. "That is not something we would have expected to see," Freisthler said. "They were more likely to use all forms of discipline more often."
Freisthler hypothesized in a statement as to why those who use drugs or alcohol may be quicker to discipline their children. "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." She also stated that the study found that parents who used multiple substances had a greater chance of using more discipline with their children. "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.
She told the NYP that her concern was how more common drug use would impact the relationship between a parent and a child. "That’s one of the things that we want to keep an eye on," she said. "As we’re seeing more people use drugs like marijuana, are we seeing more changes in how people parent?"
"Marijuana use is not risk-free," Freisthler said in a statement. "It affects a lot of behaviors, including parenting."