Psychologists earlier this month confirmed what most parents likely already know about their  teenage children. The more they're involved in their kids' lives (Specifically, by knowing where their children are, who they're with and what they're doing), the less likely it is they will engage in illicit behavior--like smoking marijuana.

In a review appearing in the current issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science,  Claremont Graduate University researchers Andrew Lac and William Crano examined the connection between parental monitoring and adolescent marijuana use and found that there is in a fact a reliable link between parental monitoring and decreased marijuana usage in adolescents. In addition, the strongest effects were seen in the female-only studies.

The authors selected 17 studies from the literature, which contained data on over 35,000 participants. The selected research focused solely on marijuana use, involved adolescent participants and required that parental monitoring was evaluated by adolescent self-reports, not parents' reports of their own monitoring behavior.

"Our review suggests that parents are far from irrelevant, even when it comes to an illegal and often secretive behavior on the part of their children," the authors note. They conclude that the information gleaned from this analysis may be useful for marijuana-based prevention programs that target parents and might provide some insight into alleviating risky adolescent behavior.

Citation: Andrew  Lac,  William D.  Crano, 'Monitoring Matters: Meta-Analytic Review Reveals the Reliable Linkage of Parental Monitoring With Adolescent Marijuana Use', Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2009, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01166.x