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?

boomboomfirepower Fri 19-Jul-13 11:11:30

I had pretty much the same experience as you with drugs in the past and I now have a 3 year old ds.

I'm swaying towards not telling ds about my experiences. Mostly because my mother was honest with me about her drug taking youth and my attitude as a teenager was 'you did it so ill do it and there's nothing you can say' I considered her a hypocrite if she raised concerns about my life drug taking and she felt like she couldn't stop me because I had a point.

I don't know that totally banning anything or any discussion on it is any better though. I haven't decided what I will tell ds yet.. It is z tough call.

Lj8893 Fri 19-Jul-13 11:15:06

My mum has always been honest with me about her previous drug use, nothing ott, just when she was living her wild party days.
I have had my wild party days too, and been honest with my mum about that, she therefore knew when to worry and when not to worry if that makes sense.

I have never (and neither has my brother) had any desire to abuse drug use, possibly because we have never felt the need to rebel against our parents because there's been such an openness with them.

I have had friends who have gone completely off the rails, abusing drink and drugs, whose parents have been very strict and zero tolerance.

Flobbadobs Fri 19-Jul-13 11:15:29

You are. DS is 12 and I had this talk with him recently. I only ever smoked weed a long time ago but saw the affects of many more drugs on good friends of mine. He knows this as I described it in some detail. DH is very anti drugs too but was in total agreement that he should hear about drugs from someone who knew something about it.
Admitting to taking drugs doesn't in any way condone it, it just means that you're not perfect, have made mistakes in the past and want them to learn from your mistakes.
It seems to have worked with DS, he listened properly for once and asked questions. They've had a talk about it at school as well which helped, I think there is more awareness being raised now at high school level. I hope so anyway.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:19:16

boomboom yes I have thought about that side of it as well.
My parents weren't really into drugs but they were pretty liberal about drug-taking and didn't ever really discipline me or even react much when I came home at 8am having been partying in a field. I have wondered since whether that whole post '60s tolerance thing created a false sense of security for a whole generation.

I certainly don't want to make it appear that its OK as I really don't want my dd even to repeat my experience, certainly nothing stronger. But I also feel like its a part of my past that I can't easily airbrush out either. And its something which didn't kill me but made me see the error of my ways etc... and a big bit of me feels she could maybe benefit from that....

MolotovCocktail Fri 19-Jul-13 11:19:18

I think you're right, to varying extents, and need to compromise when the time is appropriate to discuss such issues with your dd. Your DH and you need to be on the same page with this when the time comes.

I think that because you have taken drugs recreationally, you are in a better position to be in a relatable position when your dd is older. Your experience however, doesn't make you 'right' and I don't think it's a good idea to be suggesting that weed is okay but heroin isn't. In teen language, I think distinctions like this become hazy, misunderstood and the teen thinks 'well, I can safely smoke weed'. It's not that simple.

I realise, and I hope that tou do, too, how much more compromised and vulnerable drugs and alcohol make young girls. I think there is a gender issue that people need to be mindful of hen pareting teenage girls (im not the parent of teens yet: my dd's are 1 and 4yo). Lowered inhibitions might mean saying 'yes' to things she'd normally say 'no' to.

And there you have the minefield you need to keep your girl away from.

OrmirianResurgam Fri 19-Jul-13 11:20:55

You are right. Ignorance is no basis for taking a stand IMO. I have talked to DS1 about this. I told him I have smoked a few spliffs and made and consumed the odd hash cake. I have explained why modern stuff is way stronger and why I'd avoid it personally.

My parents were of the 'if you look at a joint you will instantly become a heroin addict!!' school of thought. They were so extreme and so ignorant I instantly thought they were ridiculous and proceeded to ignore them.

mrsravelstein Fri 19-Jul-13 11:22:44

you are right. ds1 is 12 and we have already started having a few conversations about drugs in which i've been honest about my own recreational drug use in teens and 20s.

OrmirianResurgam Fri 19-Jul-13 11:22:51

BTW I didn't have the conversation earlier because
1. it never came up and
2. it's illegal and when children are small I think it's confusing to let them think it's OK to obey some laws and not others.

meganorks Fri 19-Jul-13 11:23:43

Well I think I agree with you and am in the same position myself. Except dp also did similar in his youth. But still he is of the opinion that we should claim never to have touched anything and take s zero tolerance approach (similar to you though nowhere near age where we need to think about it yet)

While I agree with your view and would want to be honest with my own dd and give a more balanced view than standard drugs education, there is part of me that worries it would just be an endorsement. Plus I only have experience of the drugs I have taken. By the time my DD is that kind of age who knows what will be around. Trouble is lie and get caught out and you're a hypocrite. Fess up but tell them not to do drugs and you're a hypocrite.

At the moment thinking I can advise without having to fess up. But who knows.

lljkk Fri 19-Jul-13 11:25:32

I really can't decide (DC haven't yet asked!). I had a druggie phase as a teen, DH never. It's so much easier for him. I know DC will come back with "you hypocrite you did it & you're fine so why shouldn't I?!" if I say I did & then ever dare to say I don't like them taking drugs.

Flobbadobs Fri 19-Jul-13 11:28:24

The thing is I don't think that confessing does make you a hypocrite. If you approach it in a "i tried this, this is what happened, this is what can happen" type of way rather than a "I tried this, don't you dare ever touch it" type of way it's advice rather than dictating.
I saw a friend of mine many years ago have a reaction to a mixture of rave drugs, the image of him pissing himself rocking in a corner and screaming has never left me. Thankfully he's fine and never touched the stuff again. Thats the type of experience I told DS. Just what I saw.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:28:39

Molotov yes, this is why I'm concerned about it. I know DH and I need to get to some point of consensus on it and at the moment there's a big gulf between us.

I want the line to be "I did it a long time ago but now really regret it and I think you would regret it too and please come and talk to me if anyone you know talks to you about taking drugs and make sure whatever you do that you are safe. And whatever you try, don't ever even try heroin or crack."

DH thinks that if I draw a line between other drugs and heroin and crack (or whatever it may be when she comes of age) I'm implicitly giving license to her to try everything else.

Sparklysilversequins Fri 19-Jul-13 11:30:33

I am not sure. I used to do quite a bit and I think there's a real danger that your kids will look at you and think "well YOU'RE ok, where's the harm in trying? You did?".

On the other hand if you say you never did anything at all and try to be anti then there could be "well WTF do YOU know? You've never even tried it?"

It's hard to know the right way.

<<no help at all>>

hardboiledpossum Fri 19-Jul-13 11:32:50

I went through a phase of taking drugs from 13-18. I did go completely off the rails and became incredibly depressed. I don't think I will tell my children. I knew my parents has experimented in their youth.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:36:18

possum
that's totally understandable, I'm sorry.
If, heaven forbid, though, one of your kids appeared to be having an experience that mirrored what you had been through and came to you for help, would you still maintain you hadn't done it

I wonder if there's a difference between proactively bringing it up in a drugs "chat" before your kids are likely to be exposed to it and bringing it up in response to a specific situation (such as finding drugs in a kid's bedroom.)

I can imagine in certain circumstances a child going through a rough time might be able to get useful learning from knowing their parent went through a similar experience and pulled him/herself out.

MolotovCocktail Fri 19-Jul-13 11:38:33

quesadilla, I think the trick will be to be appropriately honest (i.e. edit details of pure drug-fuelled fun) and stress how vulnerable drugs/alcohol can make you. Crack and heroin are undoubtedly awful drugs which usually result in crippling, soul and life-destroying addictions, but recreational drugs have their down-sides, too. Usually it's doing stupid shit that you'd never otherwise do.

But 'drugs are bad, okay?' ain't the way to approach it, either.

QueenofallIsee Fri 19-Jul-13 11:39:28

I have a 15yr old DD - I have been open and frank about my experiences with drugs (the reason I did it, why I enjoyed it and ultimately why I found that the risk was greater than the reward). I have yet to see any concrete evidence that I was right to be as open as I have been but she has told me when drugs were available at a social event and informed me that she passed on them. In my view drugs are so available and kids are exposed to it so readily that I couldn't pretend it wasn't out there and for me to present it as something evil just increases temptation - after all, people wouldn't do it if it didn't have an 'up side' (please note i am not an advocate of drug usage, just pointing out that it is kind of fun until the reality hits home)

HairyGrotter Fri 19-Jul-13 11:39:48

I will be open with my drug use in the right context with Dd when she's older. I'm not ashamed of my past, I've learnt amazing lessons, good and bad, from it.

I still occasionally use recreational drugs, but nothing like I used to, I used a lot harder drugs during my teens and early twenties, but haven't touched those since.

I want to be open and honest as much as possible but it's finding the right balance.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:40:53

Molotov yup, totally get this.
I just think even that degree of honesty will be more than DH can stomach.

MolotovCocktail Fri 19-Jul-13 11:42:29

He's gonna have to get a grip, I'm afraid ques.

Meringue33 Fri 19-Jul-13 11:43:15

I don't think you should lie to your children.

I also don't think your past experience is likely to be the deciding factor in whether or not she takes drugs. If she wants to, she will hear your talk as tacit consent. If she doesn't want to, she will think nothing of it bar "Mum was a bit daft when she was younger."

I'd suggest you focus more on helping to create a relationship that helps her (a) become the kind of person who doesn't use drugs as a route to happiness or escapism (b) use them safely if she has to, and (c) stay honest with you.

That means developing a loving and honest relationship. Helping her develop a wide range of healthy interests and hobbies (sport?) Developing high self esteem and self belief. Not worrying about peer pressure or the need to fit in. Independence. Ability to delay gratification and moderate "treats" of all kinds. Interest in helping others (charity work?) rather than hedonistic pursuits...

These are just my own reflections on the the subject smile

I think I'll be honest with my kids when the time comes too.

I really wouldn't worry about this yet though if your DD is only 2. You've got a few years before it will be an issue.

WeAreEternal Fri 19-Jul-13 11:48:28

You don't need to confess anything, DCs don't need to know, other than maybe a "I experimented when I was younger but honestly it was a waste of time and money and I regret it, drugs are so bad" kind of thing.

My mum confessed to us that she took a lot of drugs in her teens/20's (weed and cocaine) and that she was a 'party girl' until she met my dad and settled down.
We did not need to know any of it, and honestly I think it changed our opinion of her for a long time.
If she had just told us that she had tried drugs but knew it was a mistake that would have been fine, we probably would have respected her honesty.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 19-Jul-13 11:48:33

This is a massively important issue.

Personally I agree with you (an am in similar position ) but I think you need to think ver carefully about how you express yourself

I could write a dissertation in the subject after thrashing it out with my ex but don't have the time right now.
If those thread hasn't turned into a 900 message bunfight I will come back and discuss grin

HolidayArmadillo Fri 19-Jul-13 11:51:19

Hmmm, interesting. Something I have thought about a lot. Will formulate a response and come back to this.

50shadesofvomit Fri 19-Jul-13 11:56:33

I agree with your point of view.

My oldest is 12 and I've been honest when he asked me about drug taking, smoking and being drunk.

I've admitted to smoking and being drunk and trying weed a couple of times. He was very interested in why I tried weed and the pros/cons of it. As a teen he's going to have lots of temptation and offers of drink/cigarettes/drugs/sex and I hope that by being honest with him, he'll be safer, knowledgeable and more open about it than me simply saying drugs/alcohol/cigarettes/sex are bad.

quesadilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:57:25

I suppose the $64,000 question for me is this: given that a lot of kids will at least try drugs at some point and that you may not be able to prevent this, what is the difference between a child who will try safely, not get too enthralled and know where to draw the line and a child who will get really into it?

I've thought about this quite a lot in respect to my particular situation. Even when I was doing a lot of class A drugs, there were certain lines I wouldn't cross (heroin, for one, and also never doing something two nights in a row). There was something instinctive in me which meant those were always unassailable boundaries.

My upbringing and family life wasn't perfect and there were some things my parents did wrong (being too liberal I think was possibly one). But my family life was basically stable and loving. If it hadn't, would I have crossed those lines? or is it more complicated and less predictable than this? What is it that gives a child a self-protection instinct?

meddie Fri 19-Jul-13 11:58:00

I was always open and frank with my children about drug use and its effects (including alcohol).
My chidlren knew I had smoked spliffs when I was younger and I talked about moderation, remaining in control and acceptable use levels. About it not impacting on their long term goals etc. About peer pressure etc. About not knowing the content of tablets offered etc.

It would be unrealistic to expect my kids never to come into contact with a joint, or to insist on a zero tolerance approach, especially as they both went to University. I saw many of their friends go nuts when they wnet to uni and off the parental leash.

My daughter goes out drinking of a weekend, my son likes the odd spliff of a weekend. both are early twenties now and both have good jobs and as they are getting older and their work is becoming more responsible, they are self moderating their use, as neither wants to affect their careers.

Its something you cannot avoid. I think its more important to give them the tools and information they need to make a good decision, rather than "Just say no".

HeffalumpTheFlump Fri 19-Jul-13 11:58:22

I have quite a bad drugs past, and I'm really quite ashamed of it. I have thought about this a lot because I would want to protect my children from the things I was exposed to.

I have come to the decision that I will be honest. I will tell them how easily things spiralled out of control and that what started out as a bit of fun very quickly turned nasty. I hope that I will have an open enough relationship with my children that we will be able to have a frank conversation about it all.

However, by the time my children will be old enough for this conversation I worry that my knowledge of drugs will be useless as they are discovering new highs all the time. Although I will be able to research new drugs so as to be as prepared as possible, I fear a lot of my knowledge will be out of date!!

Flobbadobs Fri 19-Jul-13 12:05:22

I suppose knowing that they can talk to you, ask questions and be able to trust that you will give them honest answers is one aspect, the type of people they are friends with is another.
Knowledge is key I feel, along with the ability to have an open and honest conversation wothout resorting to hysteria.

Wallison Fri 19-Jul-13 12:06:30

Heffalump, I also fear that my knowledge will be out of date - in fact, I know that it already is, because people are taking different stuff now to what I was (enthusiastically) dabbling in 15-20 years ago. Even people whose business it is to find out about new drugs and safety etc aspects of them can't keep up with the plethora of things that are available online so kids are literally going into it blind. I think that I will be honest about my experiences with ds when the right time comes (say, 12 or so; certainly no younger) but I doubt it will equip him particularly well for the choices he will be faced with when he starts going out to parties etc. It worries me.

catinabox Fri 19-Jul-13 12:08:21

I think lying/hiding things from children is pretty pointless. Children are not stupid and will pick up on tiny fibs. My mum was terribly uptight about drugs and i remember watching a news piece on the smiley 'acid house' culture when i was about 6 and being(made to be) horrified.

Little did i know that my mum had the odd splif with her friends and my dad loved hallucinogenics!

I spent about 6 years partying and used loads of amphetamines and stuff. I won't hide it from my kids. there is so much more involved in keeping children safe and able to make good decisions. Self esteem, values, work ethic etc..

Branleuse Fri 19-Jul-13 12:12:31

i will play down the extent of my drug taking, as i do with most people if the subject comes up, but I wont pretend I never did, nor will i be overly concerned about a small amount of recreational use when the dcs are older. I think I will be able to be more realistic

ohforfoxsake Fri 19-Jul-13 12:18:54

I think you are right.

My DCs have asked if I have ever smoked. I said I had tried it but it was pretty horrible. If they bring up the conversation when they are older about drugs I'll probably be honest and say I've tried a few but they are dangerous and its a stupid thing to do (and NOT that I really enjoyed them and had a blast). I smoked weed at uni, but steered clear of anything else until my mid-20s and had a couple of years taking them regularly, but not frequently by any means.

I do accept that there is a good chance they will dabble. I hope the message I will be able to get across is that whilst this is not ok, if they are going to do it, to do it in good company, do not buy from anyone on the street, and to take care of each other. To take drugs safely is a contradiction, but that's what I hope they will do if they decide to. And when they are much, much older. I hear of children smoking weed at 13/14/15 and it fills me with horror.

AnaisB Fri 19-Jul-13 12:19:12

I think i agree with meringue, but its a hard one. I had zero respect for any advice my mum gave me about drugs as she was clearly clueless, but i'd hate to be seen as the "cool mum" because i'd taken drugs as one of my friend's mums was. I'd like to be truthful and the truth is that I enjoyed taking drugs and don't regret it. I wouldn't mind if my kids used certain drugs occasionally (not yet though as they are both pre-school).

For me it wasn't really about escapism, it was just one of many ways to have fun and experience something different. Dh has had similar experinces as me and we are uncertain about how honest we'll be when the time comes.

Dededum Fri 19-Jul-13 12:21:13

As said by Meringue33 -

Both DH and I have taken lots of drugs in our youth. I have two boys (11,10) I take a lets talk about it if drugs are mentioned. To a certain extent I think whether they do or do not is nothing to do with if we do or do not discuss, and certainly don't think a drugs are evil attitude is helpful. I think information is important so they can make their own choices and understand the temptations and risks. Lets be honest, most of them have an attraction.

Meringue33 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:28:07

Also what Wallison said. I saw a documentary about kids taking mkat and other drugs, I had no idea about what they were talking about.

If you took ecstasy in the 90s, that's now about as relevant as taking peyote in the 60s smile

Wallison Fri 19-Jul-13 12:28:22

I also enjoyed taking drugs and don't regret it but I get the feeling that I'll be like Renton when he meets up with Diane and doesn't understand her take on it at all and she says to him "People are changing. Drugs are changing"; my own experience will be about as relevant as a former flower child's would have been in the cocaine/ecstasy-fuelled 80s.

Wallison Fri 19-Jul-13 12:29:23

Snap, Meringue!

Meringue33 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:30:00

X post! smile

Amibambini Fri 19-Jul-13 12:42:06

Hmm, this is something I have mulled over too. I went pretty hard in my late teens and twenties, had some amazing times but also witnessed the dark side, lost some friends to addiction, mental health problems, death.

My parents always took the 'drugs are bad, no we have never done them', when it was pretty clear that they had done them and were big stoners themselves. As a result I didn't really respect their views or talk that much to them about it.

I feel teens now are much more exposed to drugs, I assume most teens will try or at least be exposed to various substances, and it's best to try and equip them with knowledge and the confidence to make good decisions around these situations.

When my bubba is older I think that I will be fairly honest about my experiences, with an emphasis on how it can spiral out of control pretty quickly for some people.

lydiajones Fri 19-Jul-13 12:43:39

It's fine to be honest but the fact that you are kind of saying I took drugs and was OK and knew when to stop might give them the wrong message. Some people can't just stop and some people can be more affected by just cannabis than others.

I have seen first hand the serious mental health problems of a close friend as a result of cannabis. It might be thought of as a soft drug but it can have devastating effects on some people.

EatYourCrusts Fri 19-Jul-13 12:52:19

I took a few drugs, because I was interested, I thought they were fun, I stopped, and I don't regret any of it.

I am perfectly happy to be open with my DC about that.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Jul-13 13:09:00

Neither DH or I have ever even tried illegal drugs though until fairly recently were both regular drinkers.

The message we are giving to our teen DCs is about consequences both expected and unexpected.

- the loss of self-control
- driving under the influence (oldest has recently passed her test)
- the morning after the night before
- the long term consequences whether MH or of a caution
- the company you keep ('you can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses and the pig got up and slowly walked away!)

Though DH & I have never tried drugs we have tried to avoid the 'they are evil and there is an end to it' stance.

We talk (and talk and talk).

froubylou Fri 19-Jul-13 13:43:11

In my opinion alcohol is far more dangerous than some of the party or dance drugs and I am sure the number of deaths or serious incidents including rape are higher with alcohol abuse as opposed to drug abuse.

I did the ibiza clubbing party scene when I was younger. I won't lie about it to my dd. But I won't glamorise it either. Personally I put myself in greatest danger drunk than after ecstasy or amphetamines.

With regards to harder drugs like heroin anf crack cocaine I just hope and pray that she has the same attitude as me towards them and agrees they are terrifying.

But my greatest concern with her will be alcohol.

Holly1977 Fri 19-Jul-13 13:47:06

I agree with you OP. I think it's important to be honest with children about this sort of thing. I too have taken my fair share of recreational drugs in the past, weed and pills mostly, as has my OH, and will probably smoke weed again once I'm no longer barefoot and pregnant smile. I think society's attitude to "drugs" versus alcohol is hugely hypocritical (alcohol is a drug). Most people are fine with getting pissed and laughing at joking about it and the problems that come with it (I drank so much I was sick / broke my leg falling down the stairs / lost my wallet and phone etc) but act like you're some kind of deviant if you admit to enjoying an occasional spliff or whatever. I work as a counsellor and have seen far far far more people with alcohol problems than any other drugs.

You're quite right to say that spouting the usual bollocks that having one toke on a spliff will inevitably lead to crack addiction and prostitution is not only dangerously misinforming your children but also means you lose all credibility the second they realise what a load of bollocks that is. But I suppose being too permissive and saying it's all fine is potentially giving them the green light to go crazy which we don't want either.

Obviously I'd rather my kids didn't take drugs, drink or smoke at all, none of it is good for you. But then again I'd be the world's biggest hypocrite to ban them from doing it all outright and I don't think that's a realistic expectation. I think the best thing we can do for our kids is provide them with a stable loving home so they're less likely to feel the need to go out and get hammered and be honest about it. e.g. smoking weed in moderation from time to time is ok. But it will damage your lungs and make you lazy, unmotivated and possibly fat and paranoid.

Pills are good fun but can quickly turn into a nightmare and the comedown may make you want to kill yourself. A friend of mine committed suicide after partying too hard for too long. It was a tragic waste, he was only 30. And I heard of plenty others too. There again lots of us did it for quite a long time, had lots of fun and came out the other side with no lasting damage.

Cocaine will turn you into a massive bore, as well as rotting your sinuses and robbing you of the ability to enjoy a night out without it.

Mushrooms and other hallucinogenics can be hysterically funny, they can also be paralysingly terrifying and traumatic. Beware.

I probably wouldn't say exactly that to my kids but you get the idea. I'd like to think that my kids will be able to talk to me and ask me any questions and just saying "all drugs are bad m'kay" isn't going to encourage them to do that.

I'm with your dh I'm afraid. I am v anti drugs. Exh has form. He thinks this entitles him to when the time comes educate the dc about drugs. I am horrified by this. Actually I'm even more terrified of him doing this now after a colleague lost a child to drug use.

Holly1977 Fri 19-Jul-13 14:13:07

Do you ever drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or drink coffee hamwidge?

DuelingFanjo Fri 19-Jul-13 14:19:59

I think be honest. My father was honest about it with me.

However, I am probably in a similar situation as your husband as my drug use was pretty tame but my DHs was what I would call a lot worse and I definitely wouldn't want my child to think that drugs like Cocaine were worth taking. DH might differ on this point and it could be an issue in the future.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 19-Jul-13 14:21:43

I am pretty anti drugs but have smoked a few spliffs, eaten the od hash cake. I have told mine that I have tried it.

Mine always ask me a lot of questions which i always answer as honestly as I can.

The stance i have taken with my 10 and 12 year old is to be honest about what leads people to take drugs (there must be some benefit, or people wouldn't do it) but the risks and the fact that, fundamentally taking drugs is making up for some lack of confidence or a way of avoiding something. I try to parent in such a way that they become confident and self aware enough that they won't need drugs.

The other message i've tried to give is that buying drugs is entering into a relationships with criminals.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 19-Jul-13 14:23:43

Op
Regarding your question about who will get hooked and who won't, i've been honest about that too - that there is no way of knowing and therefore it isn't woh the risk.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 19-Jul-13 14:24:03

Worth the risk

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 19-Jul-13 14:26:08

I also talk to them about alcohol.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Fri 19-Jul-13 14:29:46

I don't think any good can come of telling lies to your kids.

Holly - no grin

HeffalumpTheFlump Fri 19-Jul-13 14:34:02

I completely agree that there needs to be a conversation about what leads kids/adults to take drugs and what the other options are. I had no confidence and felt like I never fitted in. Drugs gave me artificial confidence and a group of friends who wanted me around because I bought drugs. None of it was real though, and I wish that I had found confidence and friends through an activity rather than chemicals. I hope to give my children the option of the second route.

I was also looking for a family because mine was not so good, so I hope by giving my kids a warm loving home environment it will stop them looking elsewhere for it. Unfortunately I found what I thought was family in the worst places.

EBearhug Fri 19-Jul-13 14:42:48

I agree that alcohol is probably the greatest risk, and I was able to tell you most of the likely risks of it from age 14 or 15 or so, as my mother made sure we were educated on the risks, ostensibly while telling some guys a few years older than we were that she worked with. Somehow, I totally failed to connect any of this to her own gin habit that caused her to end up needing emergency blood transfusions and nearly killed her, and eventually did contribute to her death some years later.

Drugs was discussed from time to time - one girl I was at school with got into trouble with glue sniffing and various things and ended up in care for a bit, and there were one or two others. None of it seemed relevant to me, though. I mostly knew about drugs in the same way I knew about the Periodic table or the Reformation or conjugating irregular French verbs. I'm not sure I was very normal.

If you did take them yourself, I'm not sure total silence is a good thing. In my mid-20s, I discovered the main reason I knew very little about my mother's life before she met my father was that she had totally gone off the rails as a teenager, and ended up in rehab for heroin. The thing that shocked me most was not the drugs, but that I had never had the slightest inkling of any of it (obviously this is a very shortened version of everything), and that my father, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles must all have known, and I never heard a word from any of them on this. If they can all be completely silent on that, what else might have been hidden? Is there anyone else I can trust?

I think perhaps if I'd at least grown up knowing there had been some dabbling, because it was the '60s, and many people did, even if I hadn't had all the gory details, it wouldn't have been such a total screw up to me.

I do also recognise that my experience does warp my views on what might be a normal and wise way to deal with things, but I think not even acknowledging your own past is unwise, because it may come out at some point anyway.

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.

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....

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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'

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

that would be drugs not rugs grin

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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).

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.

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.'

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?

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?

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.

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!)

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.

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