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Do Threats Ever Work?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by Rainman, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Do threats ever work? I've heard of parents who use threats to get their kids to stop using drugs. To be honest I doubt that this method would work because the kid could still continue using drugs but stay away from their parents when they are "high."

    So while the parents might think the threats worked, their child would still be using drugs and by the time they realize that their kids still are using drugs it might be too late to help them. What else would they have in their arsenal to use, if threats is all they had?

    Any advice you'd offer parents who think using threats is a good way to get their kids to stop using drugs?
  2. SashaS

    SashaS Community Champion

    Exposing them to the negative effects of drugs may persuade some of them to at least consider stopping. I don't think it's the only thing you should do but if you've tried everything else and for some reason cannot stop your own children from doing drugs, then threats may work. Not only threatening them of the negative effects of drugs, but threatening to send them to prison or out of the house. I know that sounds harsh, but if you want your children to stop drugs, it's a measure worth taking, in my opinion.

    It may expose some kids to thing's they didn't know by telling them the negative effects of drugs, even if you need to exaggerate a little. I think it's definitely a consideration a parent should make.
    Rainman likes this.
  3. darkrebelchild

    darkrebelchild Community Champion

    Threats do work if the child is scared of the parent. The same method was used on myself and my siblings while growing up. My mother, who was the most feared parent who would threaten us about the danger of drugs, drinking, parties and sex.

    Her words always loomed in my head whenever these words were mentioned among my friends. It did pay off though, we were all raised responsibly.
    Rainman likes this.
  4. monty

    monty Active Contributor

    I don't think so because if any child is being afraid of their own parents and family members then he can take the step that he should not and can be in a situation from where recovery is very painful
    parents should be polite to their child and teach them and support them always and not to scare their child all the time which can lead to lose of one precious life and a responsible and our youth from this world
    So, be a good parent in life and let your wards do what they like, believe me, you will be proud of you and your son one day.
  5. Momma9

    Momma9 Community Champion

    I was afraid of my father and his threats (I was convinced I would be struck dead by God at any moment in my teens!), but it didn't stop me from doing drugs and making bad choices. It just made me sneaky.

    I suppose we are all different in our reactions, but I would rather my children be honest with me and have boundaries that I enforce with them instead of threats that alienate them. My children know that they can come to me for help with anything and I will not judge them.

    Now I do have a meth addicted daughter in prison, so maybe my way doesn't work! But I also have 8 other children who do not drink or smoke or do drugs and are productive members of society. In part because of my oldest daughter who does do drugs. They have seen how her life is wrecked and how painful it is for the rest of us and do not want any part of that.
  6. KittenMittens

    KittenMittens Member

    Typically threats only engender distrust and resentment. Deprivation encourages use, taking things away, removing freedom or stimulation, will likely give the child nothing better to do than invent new ways to access the forbidden fruit. When electrodes are implanted in the pleasure-centers of laboratory rats within Skinner boxes (minimalist cage, one rat/unit) these animals will stimulate themselves until they die, avoiding food, sex and sleep for the pleasures generated by the switch. (Frank & Stutz “Self-Deprivation: A Review”). However, when put in an enriched environment with plenty of activities and companionship with the option of drugged water, rats typically choose to drink regular water, very few display patterns of addiction. (Bruce Alexander “Opiate addiction: The case for an adaptive orientation"). Human children aren't rats, but I think these experiments are good jumping-off points for understanding how punishment rather than support encourages addiction. We should educate children, not scare them.

    Of course, this is coming from a child of an addict. I learned the dangers of addiction through experience and vowed from a very young age never to let myself go down that path. I was "scared straight" and never looked back. However, my brother didn't learn from my mom's example in quite the same way, and I've seen studies suggesting children of alcoholics are up to 4 times more likely to drink heavily than the general population. Always remember: every child is completely unique, what works for one won't necessarily work for the other.
  7. monty

    monty Active Contributor

    No, in my opinion, it never works.Explaining any child with kind and love works and the words enter his/her heart but scolding or threatening any child never works as he might think that his/her parents don't love him/her and as a result he might take a wrong step.
  8. Momma9

    Momma9 Community Champion

    I would add to @KittenMittens comments that filling young persons' time with productive activities would be a better alternative. The teens and early 20's are a time of peak energy and creativity. They need something to occupy their mind and fill up their time. I encourage my children to be active in activities that they enjoy; music, sports, church, drama, school, reading, etc. Whatever they enjoy doing! And especially if it involves adults and peers that are good role models!! This way they do not have a lot of free time on their hands to find trouble.
  9. Mara

    Mara Community Champion

    Threats do not work. Because that is just what they are, threats. They are just mere words and have no bearing at all. But if the parent will act on what he has promised, for example, "I will send you to rehab," or "I will call the police and have you arrested," I believe in tough love and I think that it has a higher chance of working than mere threats.
    Zyni likes this.
  10. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    I agree with this. Empty threats don't work in any situation. In the case of addiction, I think it's even more pronounced, since even with follow through it's often not enough. People have to be ready to recover, in my opinion and experience. Often times, they are willing to take the risk of being arrested or something. It may be the only choice the parent has, to save their child though.
    Mara likes this.
  11. rjs5248

    rjs5248 Member

    No, I don't believe threats are effective.

    The problem is, if someone wants to do something badly enough they will find a way to do it. The only thing a threat will do is make the person hide their actions to avoid having the threat carried out.

    An excellent example of this was my own parents...a few years ago they found out that I was consuming alcohol. Not that I was getting wasted at my parents house, but I grew up in a strict traditional Christian household in which my parents firmly believed any type of alcohol consumption was wrong. My parents threatened to kick me out of the house if they found out that I was drinking in their home again. To me this was silly, because having a couple glasses of wine in your own home is much safer than going to a bar and driving home drunk. The only thing this changed was I became an expert at hiding my alcohol!

    The only time a threat actually works is if the threat itself is carried out...which depending on the situation and what's at stake, may be necessary. Otherwise that's all it is, an empty threat.