ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- American parents tend to think it is someone else's teenage children who are drinking alcohol and using marijuana, not their own, researchers say.
Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. parents say their children ages 13-17 used marijuana in the last year, while 10 percent say their children drink, researchers say.
But Dr. Bernard Biermann, medical director of the Child/Adolescent Inpatient Unit at the University of Michigan, says these levels are substantially below what teens themselves reported in the latest Monitoring the Future study. About 52 percent of 10th-graders reported drinking alcohol in the last year and 28 percent of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in the last year, Biermann says.
"There's a clear mismatch between what parents are reporting in terms of their children's possible use of substances and what teenagers report themselves," Biermann says in a statement.
Biermann and colleagues say the parents also say it is very likely that at least 40 percent of 10th-graders used marijuana in the last year and that 60 percent of 10th-graders drank alcohol in the last year.
"In other words, parents are more likely to expect marijuana and alcohol use by teenagers other than their own," Biermann says. "If parents acknowledge the possibility -- and in fact, the likelihood -- that their child may have experimented with or used alcohol or marijuana, they can begin to talk to them more about it, provide some guidance, and allow their kids to ask questions."