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to think its better to be honest with your kids about previous drug-taking than lie to them?

(83 Posts)
quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:04:23

Want to get the mn jury's vote on this. DH and I are at loggerheads on this.

I used to take a fair amount of drugs -- recreationally -- when I was younger. Over a period of about 15 years I smoked weed and took ecstasy and cocaine, fairly regularly.

I'm not proud of it at all, I wish I hadn't wasted so much of my money and brain cells on it. I think it probably limited my drive and ability to push myself to an extent and didn't help my mental strength. On the other hand I don't think it's done me any major, long-term harm either. And that's partly because I never really got into heavy drug use or drug dependency. I always knew where to stop. I haven't touched anything (apart from a very occasional toke on a joint at parties) for over 5 years and nothing at all since my dd was born.

DH is very anti drugs, has never so much as smoked a spliff in his life (though he does drink).

The question is how much of this to 'fess up to with dd. She's now just over 2 so its not (hopefully) going to be an issue for some time, but I need to figure it out.

DH takes a very hard line on this and wants to be zero tolerance when it comes to drugs. I strongly wish that my dd won't ever take any drugs and will warn her that they are a waste of time.

On the other hand, I want to have an honest conversation with her about this. I want to admit to the fact that I used to use them as I think it will give me more credibility on the topic. DH thinks this should be totally off limits as admitting to having done it tacitly acknowledges drugs are OK.

I believe quite strongly that part of the reason some teenagers don't take any notice of drugs advice is that the advice is often wildly wrong and contradictory. Drug education programs vary, but in general they tend to tar all drugs with the same brush, so there's no distinction made between, say, cannabis and heroin. I'm not going to say there are no risks involved with even soft drugs as there clearly are, but it seems to me that if you tell kids that smoking a spliff will put them on a high road to heroin addiction they will quickly figure out that its rubbish, making them less inclined to listen to you when you warn them off much more dangerous drugs.

So that's why I'd rather tell my dd that I would strongly advise her not to touch them at all and will be disappointed if she does, but be clear that some drugs are much more harmful than others and she should make sure she gets as much information as possible about them if she ever decides to try them.

Who is right?

SelectAUserName Sat 20-Jul-13 07:57:11

When I had the "drugs and alcohol chat" with my DSD when she was about 15, I started off in the abstract and we discussed staying safe, not being afraid to say "no", the dangers of getting so out of control you end up vulnerable, the potency of new drugs with unknown side effects etc. She asked me outright if I had ever taken anything and I was honest, I said I'd tried a couple of things at the softer end of the spectrum when I'd been with friends I trusted but hadn't enjoyed it (true - poppers & weed both gave me raging migraine) and that if I were being honest, I was a little bit disappointed in myself for trying them because I knew, really, that I don't need to take stuff to have a good time. I also admitted that I had a couple of stupid experiences with drink when I was about 18 and was horrified, looking back, that I had made myself so vulnerable. It was only because I was with friends who looked after me that I stayed safe and I told DSD that I'd been embarrassed afterwards that they'd had to see me puking up and passing out. So basically a certain amount of casual emphasis on how pathetic and uncool it had made me!

So far as I know, DSD who is now in her late 20s has never taken drugs or smoked. She has various allergies and intolerances and she finds it hard enough to find legal stuff she can put into her body without complicating matters by adding illegal ones! She was once the victim of a suspected drink spiking and the feeling of being out-of-control spooked her quite a bit. On one occasion she rang me in tears on a night out because she felt too drunk and scared and when I picked her up she started crying and apologising, but tbh I was just grateful she felt she could ring someone!

I don't know if my approach made any difference to her or if she would have found her own sensible way anyway, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable lying to her, so I'm with you OP.

exoticfruits Sat 20-Jul-13 07:18:08

I would be truthful. DCs are quick to pick up hypocrisy - which leads to no respect IMO.
In addition the 'say no to drugs' message is much clearer if you can back it up by saying you went there and it a waste of time and for losers.
(I should think that if you had a mother like ComposHat it would make you steer clear of any sort of drugs whatsoever and be embarrassing!)

birdmomma Sat 20-Jul-13 07:14:03

We always said we would be honest and upfront about our misspent youths once our kids were teenagers. However, now they are teenagers, the time never seems right to bring it up. I think it would really shatter their image of us, as we are quite sensible, involved parents and they respect us and see us as role models to a certain extent. They are both wildly anti-drugs and I can't see the benefit of us telling them that we took lots, and also enjoyed it. I don't think it would be honest to tell them it was a mistake, as we actually had a lot of fun and don't regret most of it. So I think we'll just keep quiet now.

CorrieDale Sat 20-Jul-13 07:03:30

Not that I've done anything other than smoking and a bit of weed but why would I lie to my children?

DalekInAFestiveJumper Sat 20-Jul-13 01:37:19

Here in the US we have the DARE (drug abuse resistance education) program. It's an 'all drugs are the worst possible thing ever' sort of program, heavy on 'Just Say No'. The results have been ... less than positive.

One of the problems it has is the old 'anything THAT forbidden must be great!' Kids try softer drugs and find they enjoy the experience and that one joint has not made them an addict. As a result, they tend not to trust any of the warnings about much more dangerous substances! After all, if the DARE officer wasn't telling the truth about one thing, why would you believe the rest of what they have to say?

imademarion Sat 20-Jul-13 01:07:45

As a teen, I took shed loads of drugs and drank and smoked. I was really unhappy and unstable and that all made it a million times worse.

Lots of my mates thought I was really amusing and privileged and happy and ever so sophisticated. Those people were twats and encouraged me.
I
Some people, not my parents sadly, tried to help me and were concerned for my physical and mental health.

My kids are so far stable and sorted and sporty. They seem to feel a bit sorry for anyone who takes drugs or gets pissed a lot.

I've started talking to them a bit about the Drug Talks they get at school. To their horror. They think I'm an old fart who's never been in a pub. And in some ways that suits me.

I feel like a hypocrite because I don't want them to pity what I was, but I do want them to know that not all druggies are automatic losers, some are just a bit lost with the wrong friends.

That, for me, is a more important message than 'drugs are bad.'

ComposHat Fri 19-Jul-13 23:20:07

What's yhe big fuss, drugs are all fine now, everyone does them.

isn't tbe 80s anymore with junkies dying in puddles of suck in a shooting gallery with Zamo from Grange Hill.

The savvy young person of today needs advice on the best varieties of weed (white widow is a good one for the kids) and top tips like have a shit and a piss before taking speed. it causes a lot of social embarrassment otherwise.

Buy some poppers for their birthday and steer them on the right direction.

Pigsmummy Fri 19-Jul-13 22:28:38

I think if you tell your dc that you took drugs then it's a green light. Mine will will be told "just say no". (I took loads).

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 19-Jul-13 22:20:18

That is what i was thinking Worry.

Just to mention another slant on this, the DSs and I wer watching channel 4 news the other night and there was apretty horrific report on drug gangs in Honduras. It wasn't hard to see that the market for cocaine is directly linked to the mess this and otherbcountries are in. That hit home to them.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Jul-13 20:08:46

But if I'm totally honest, I did enjoy taking drugs and though I grant I was lucky with this, I didn't suffer any significant downsides or at least none I'm aware of yet. I think I probably could have got a slightly better degree and could have progressed at work earlier if it hadn't been for the miserable Mondays and general lack of focus. But its nothing that hasn't evened out for me in mid-life and the effects of having a child on your career are far more damaging than a bit of weekend partying.

quesadilla I think you have to look into yourself and really think what your opinion on your own drug taking is. Are you just looking at this through the rose tinted spectacles of a parent of a young child?

If you cant honestly say that you regret your drug taking then I dont think you can give your DD the 'dont do as I do, do as I say' message.

What is the message you would give to your teenage self?

HerrenaHarridan Fri 19-Jul-13 19:48:51

Well done everyone smile I am pleased to return and see no buns and dismembered body parts grin

I feel strongly that if you want dc to be honest with you, you have to be honest with them.

Much to my exs horror I have no intention if lying to my daughter about anything in my past. I will however release information as and when I see fit.

I do think it is important to draw a distinct line between crack / smack and other drugs.

There absolutely is a sliding scale and I think a message along the lines of these drugs aren't good for your body or your brain and leave you vulnerable and exposed etc etc and these drugs are a death warrant if any one ever offers you them stay the fuckaway from them.

The whole drugs are just bad thing led me to get a lot more involved in the whole thing than I think I would have otherwise.

The only drug I never did/would try is smack and I have one dear friend to thank for that. 11 years on the only clue I have he is still alive is the £5 child maintenance that gets deducted from his giro and sent to my best friend and their kid.

I've lost some beautiful people to smack and I don't feel I could adequately share these experiences with dd without being honest.

mayoandchips Fri 19-Jul-13 19:26:09

my dad told me he did magic mushrooms when I was younger and I just thought he was a fool.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Jul-13 17:17:18

quesadilla is it worth then highlighting the risks you were taking? Not just the risks of the drugs themselves but also some of the unforeseen consequences?

I have traveled a lot for work and a caution for possession might have made some of the places I traveled to far less easily available to me. Imagine the embarrassment of explaining to your boss why you cant go on this or that business trip!

My DCs are teens now. I think that one of the hard lessons for children to learn is when saying "sorry" isnt enough. The possible consequences of drug taking or drinking to excess definitely fall into that category.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 16:25:47

whois well this is the exact dilemma I'm wrestling with and this is why its hard with DH who didn't go through this process.

DH comes from a relatively poor and socially conservative country and didn't have the luxury of having affluent parents and the chance of a tertiary education, so I don't really expect him to understand these attitudes.

But if I'm totally honest, I did enjoy taking drugs and though I grant I was lucky with this, I didn't suffer any significant downsides or at least none I'm aware of yet. I think I probably could have got a slightly better degree and could have progressed at work earlier if it hadn't been for the miserable Mondays and general lack of focus. But its nothing that hasn't evened out for me in mid-life and the effects of having a child on your career are far more damaging than a bit of weekend partying.

But I know I was lucky with this, it could so easily have been otherwise: several people I knew, including one person I was close friends with as a teenager, went on to develop serious drug problems.

And I don't want my beloved dd to take those risks....

Namechangingnorma Fri 19-Jul-13 16:22:22

DH recently had this conversation with dsd who is 15. she was well aware of him smoking weed as he only recently gave up but she had no idea and was shocked to hear about his previous cocaine addiction, the end result is basically anything we do or did is considered completely uncool by dsd so more likely to put her off for life than anything. DH won't lie to her and as a result we both hope she would be honest with us if she was experimenting.

AmberLeaf Fri 19-Jul-13 16:16:48

I believe quite strongly that part of the reason some teenagers don't take any notice of drugs advice is that the advice is often wildly wrong and contradictory. Drug education programs vary, but in general they tend to tar all drugs with the same brush, so there's no distinction made between, say, cannabis and heroin. I'm not going to say there are no risks involved with even soft drugs as there clearly are, but it seems to me that if you tell kids that smoking a spliff will put them on a high road to heroin addiction they will quickly figure out that its rubbish, making them less inclined to listen to you when you warn them off much more dangerous drugs

I agree with that.

Whothefuckfarted Fri 19-Jul-13 16:14:40

Lying to my daughter won't be an option for me. It's silly to lie.

I'll tell her the truth. Appropriately for her age and understanding.

I will tell her all about the dangers of alcohol though. I don't drink.

burberryqueen Fri 19-Jul-13 16:07:04

that would be drugs not rugs grin

burberryqueen Fri 19-Jul-13 16:06:48

I have told my children nearly everything (but not quite) with some true life anecdotes which hopefully have done more to put them off than 'rugs are bad m'kay'

whois Fri 19-Jul-13 15:56:53

I am not yet in the position where I have to make this decision. I think it's a hard one!

Recreational drugs ARE fun but there are huge downsides, and they can spiral out of control with some people and effects can be unpredictable.

I'd feel a massive hypocrite saying 'drugs are bad m'kay' when I have enjoyed many years of hedonistic fun every couple of weekends, while getting a first class degree, professional qualifications and performing extremely well at work. My life has been richer in terms of friends and relationships and fun, poorer in terms of cash, and many wasted Sundays feeling physically crap and some tricky depressing weekdays a few days after a big party.

Would I do it all again? Yes. So it would be very hard to say to my (hypothetical) children that drugs are 100% bad. But different people react in different ways, and some people have a really bad time and things go wrong in a major way and I'd hate that for my DCs.

DuelingFanjo Fri 19-Jul-13 15:39:10

yet I was 21+ before I took my first drugs.

DuelingFanjo Fri 19-Jul-13 15:38:29

I was absolutely horrified by the effect of alcohol after I attended a lecture on the liver (Arranged by my school) at the age of 15 however when I went to university I spent 3 years (and several afterwards) getting paralytic on a regular basis.

FetaCheeny Fri 19-Jul-13 15:14:29

Holly - "rob you of the ability to enjoy a night without it" - this for me is key. It's not just the risk of addiction/suicide/depression, it's the impact it can have on moderate, recreational users. It can drain the fun out of everything non-drug related.

When I have children I'll be completely honest with them.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 15:07:26

Those of you who mention alcohol are totally right... this is probably more worrying that soft drugs, imho.... just that its a slightly different conversation. There's no way my dd is going to be able to avoid contact with alcohol....

BridgetBidet Fri 19-Jul-13 14:51:30

I think it depends on what your child is like when they grow up. If they are a sensible and mature child that you can sit down with and explain your past and your regrets and they'll listen, take it in and not judge you then tell them.

On the other hand you may end up with a stroppy teenager who would use it as blackmail material or something to throw back in your face every time you try and discipline them, or to use as an excuse for their own bad behaviour I would agree with your husband that it's better not to tell.

There are so many variables which make a difference I really don't think you need to be worrying about this for many years yet.

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