Anti-drug “I Learned it by Watching You” PSA (1987)

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“Like Father, Like Son”, also known as I learned it by watching you!, was a large-scale United States anti-narcotics campaign by Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Launched in July 1987, the campaign used a televised public service announcement.

The PSA features a father confronting his son (Reid MacLean) in his bedroom after finding a box containing an unspecified controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. After his father angrily asks him how he learned to use drugs, the son shouts, “You, alright?! I learned it by watching you!” As the father recoils from realizing the error of his own ways, a narrator then intones, “Parents who use drugs have children who use drugs.”

It was listed by Time as one of the top ten PSAs of all time.

The lesson from this PSA seems pretty applicable to every area of parenting. Anecdotally I think almost everyone I know can quote this commercial a quarter century later. I suppose that means it was successful to some degree.