IF you ever took drugs in the past, are you honest about it to your DC?(51 Posts)
(Have name-changed here)
I used to smoke cannabis a bit, and have tried various other drugs on odd occasions (speed, Es, coke, mushrooms) - all before I had children. None of it ever caused me any real problems but I did see other people for whom it did.
I have a very open relationship with my DC and talk freely about most things. They're 10 and 14 and at the moment can't imagine why anyone would ever want to do something as dumb as taking drugs (or drinking alcohol for that matter), which is fine, as it's not yet occurred to them to even ask whether I ever have. But as they get into their teens things will change and they probably will start to ask.
If I tell them the truth I worry that they'd see anything I'd done as OK, almost as a starting point of what's normal, which I'd much rather they didn't. But I hate the thought of lying.
How do you get round this?
i remember feeling really shocked when as a teen my dad told me had had smoked pot.
still am tbh
although my dm told me she went to parties where they put the keys in a bowl!
* he says I have no entitlement to an opinion on it because I have not experienced it. A flawed argument , I know, but he is a teenager, so that is how he thinks. *
Exactly that. They do think like that, most of them.
Anyway, Isn't it a bit pearl-clutchy to consider a few teenage puffs of spliff a big secret?
DD is 3.5, so I have a way to go yet before these types of conversations occur.
I have smoked/ingested cannabis in a variety of different guises and take coke a few times. I would be open with her if she asked, and my approach would include:
1. cannabis is one hell of a lot stronger now that it was when I took it, so the risks are greater.
2. the risks of cannabis are real risks, not just made up stuff - I worked in psychiatric health for a while and treated people who had cannabis associated mental health problems.
3. coke is REALLY bad for you and REALLY illegal and is not worth the risk to your health or to your future
4. coke makes you turn into a self-obsessed, insomniac bore who won't shut up
5. I'd also focus on the production/distribution methods and that taking drugs directly funds extremely unpleasant criminal activity. I watched the film Maria Full of Grace not long after I took coke - I vowed never again.
*TAKEN not take. All past tense .
Keys in a bowl?!?!? Gosh....
I'm open with DD about my drug use. She's 13. She knows I've smoked pot (and I've smoked it since having her, but then I was 19 when I had her), done pills and mushrooms. I still, very occasionally, have the odd cigarette if I'm out at a party.
I'm totally open with her. I've said that a lot of the experiences were fun, but that there's no way of knowing how you'll react. I've also shown her examples of people who've ruined their lives with drugs (some of my exes) and the impact that's had.
I've told her that I have been lucky and never got hooked on anything I did, whereas lots of young people (often boys) start smoking weed as teenagers, drop out of school, screw up their mental health and ruin their lives.
DD, at present, is very straight-laced and has no interest in any illegal substances (very different from me who was smoking at 11 and would have taken anything I could have got my hands on!) But I've always been extremely open with her about everything (sex, drugs, money, relationships, you name it) and so couldn't countenance lying to her. Nor could I say "I did drugs and they were terrible", because I did have a lot of fun from time to time. But I do tell her about stories I've read where some poor teenager takes just one pill and it kills them. Or someone gets hooked on skunk and becomes psychotic. Hopefully, DD will take all the information and make an informed judgment.
Kud- quite, and I don't need to experience unhealthy / dangerous things to know I don't wish to do them. It might be 'fun' to get stoned but there's such a thing as self control ! But it shows that as a parent you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I did the binge drinking thing and experimented with most drugs. I still drink too much on occasion.
My ds is only 5, but this does pose an interesting question. I think I would with-hold the info when he's older tbh. I've previously worked in a Drug Misuse Research capacity, and yet I'm still flummoxed as to how I'd respond if he asked me outright. Perhaps it'll depend on his personality? I'll worry about this (or not) in 10 years.
You see I think I will have the opposite problem. I've never had drugs, drunk enough to be tipsy but never sick or anything like that.
There is no one in my close family/friends who have overdone it on drugs or alcohol. Atm dc1 thinks my dad is an alcoholic because he is drinking one glass of wine with his meal .
So I can see how the answer will be 'You can't talk about it because you've never done it' and to be honest, I don't think I am that well equipped to talk about it either. Talks about drugs and alcohol will always be more powerful when you've had some real experience of them (or close people who have done it). So that will be a good point for you OP.
I think a good thing to mention if you are going to be open about drugs, is the monetary cost, and what they're going to go without for them.
My parents, mainly my father, were open with my brother and I about their past drug use - Dad was quite a hippie in the sixties - and why it was incredibly stupid, why he did them, the consequences to him and his friends. My brother and I have never tried any drugs, as a direct result. Neither have my cousins, who were raised the same way by my father's brother, with similar stories. I'm a firm believer in this honesty.
DP, well, was once an addict, from a line of addicts (drugs and alcohol). We will raise our kids with openess about his drug use and the consequences, though not everything. I don't want my children to see their father as an addict, that is firmly behind him. Yet I do want them aware of their genetic disposition toward addiction so they can be aware and more cautious (many alcoholics on my side as well). It's tricky! I suppose it will take playing it by ear and age appropriate discussion.
(NC for this).
I strongly believe in telling the truth, so I did, and I mostly regret it. It had two very negative effects... Firstly, ds was still very young when he first had drugs ed at school and asked me (just 10) and my answer - that I had smoked cannabis in the past and still might occasionally, for instance if offered it at a party - threw him into a hysterical panic. I am not exaggerating: he cried, screamed, banged his head against the wall and sobbed "I don't want you to die! I don't want you to go to prison!" He simply wasn't mature enough to understand all the subtleties (e.g. smoking is harmful but the occasional spliff at a party was very unlikely to kill me) and my honesty caused him confusion and distress that I think a lie may have avoided.
Also, inevitably, when I found out he was smoking cannabis at 14, he retorted "Well YOU did, and you still do!" All my other points were then lost on him - particularly that my experience was of smoking a couple of spliffs each year of someone's big brother's homegrown, and that this was very different and much less dangerous than smoking skunk every day.
There was, however, also a good effect. Because I'd told DS the truth, I think he was more truthful with me. There were one memorable occasion where he told me about something he'd just taken - a prescription drug he and a friend took to 'experiment' - and I was therefore able to help him take steps to prevent overdose, while his friend, who hadn't told his parents, ended up in an ambulance.
I'm talking myself round as I write. Maybe I don't regret telling him the truth after all... It is certainly a hard decision!
Thanks for that spareidentidy - it's really helpful to hear from people who've dealt with being honest, or not, and how it has gone. As it seems quite a lot of people who's DCs haven't yet reached that age are struggling with the best approach.
I can talk from second-hand experience via friends, and also used to work with addicts in the past, so can easily have informed conversations with my DCs without having to admit to having taken things personally.
My grandparents all smoked (cigarettes) but my parents never did - as they said the risks were known by then. Wonder if it's possible to pull that one off with drugs - that the risks are now better understood (or the drugs are stronger/more illegal)?
I think one of the biggest things for me is that if I'm honest with my DC I would have to admit that nothing bad ever happened as a result of my drug taking! To be honest, I enjoyed it.
My parents, Dad in particular was very honest down to the fact I was unplanned and conceived while they were both stoned.
Their approach was we made mistakes don't make the same ones.
They smoked cigarettes and occasionally weed openly at home. As a mixed up teenager, I thought they are alright so I will be too.
My DD was unplanned she is nearly 14 and there is no way I will be telling her she was unplanned or about my misspent youth. I often talk about 'a friend' who did xyz with her.
Wordfactory - that's my problem too. It's easier to say - learn from my mistakes - these awful things happened - than it is to say not to do something that was fine for me. But taking drugs isn't fine for everyone - some people get screwed up by it, or expelled from school/University, or sent to prison - I've known all of these happen to others, I just kind of felt they wouldn't happen to me, and I was lucky, they didn't. But despite having enjoyed most of the drugs I've taken, I would much rather my DCs just left them well alone - there's no guarantee they'd be as lucky.
Yes, 'a friend' who did x,y, z might be the way to go
Definitely I'll lie. That was my crazy time, it was fun, but not essential that I over share with my kids. My mum used to tell me how she took purple hearts in clubs in the 50s and early 60s and I thought it was quite cool, I think it made it easier for me to justify drug taking later. I want to be a role model to my kids. They'd be horrified and upset as well tbh.
Mmm, I didn't go into lots of details with my daughter but I have known lots of people who got into heroin and some who got into cocaine, and tried to give her as much real information as possible from what I knew about drugs. I told I wouldn't like her to smoke cannabis but it was not at all in the same league as these other drugs, for example. I gave any information I got from a reliable source about drugs that I was unfamiliar with, but told her honestly that I didn't know for certain. Between that and the fact that we were living in a neighbourhood that was being decimated by heroin, I think it worked, as she has never got into that type of behaviour.
I suspect that if your teen decides they're going to do drugs then their argument will either be 'you used them so you can't judge' or 'you don't know, because you didn't use them', as applicable. Because, teenagers, and they know more things than we do.
dh and I have talked to our children about our experiences (past and present) with drugs, both good and bad. But then that's our general parenting style, very little is off limits or ever has been. I don't think that pretending that taking any drug is always terrible is particularly helpful because it is counter to most of the first hand type information they will share with friends, and most probably with their own experiences should they try many drugs out.
We've also talked to them about potential issues and concerns with regard to criminality, quality assurance etc, and about the differences between taking something highly risky like heroin, or less problematic like pot. I've told them that they would be well advised to steer clear of pot until they are in their twenties because of the psychosis link, and we've both shared with them our experience of a friend who had a mental breakdown and was sectioned due at least partly to his skunk habit.
So essentially giving them a balanced view so they understand the upsides and downsides. I'd be amazed if they don't smoke or eat at least a bit of pot before they leave home regardless of what they are told at school or home, it's pretty much normalised where we live for both adults and teens.
Beware of using friends as examples. I did that too - and in fact quite a few of the adults DS knows have smoked cannabis - but he immediately asked "Who?"
The anonymous "just someone I know" held no authority - why should DS care what that person thought or did? And I didn't feel I should name names and 'out' adults without their agreement - I thought it was up to them whether they told him they smoked...
I'd not say 'x smokes' 'y smokes' of current friends/acquaintances. Our friend who ended up being sectioned was an old neighbour - our children only vaguely remember him as we moved and lost contact years ago.
I agree that you need to be very careful. My mother taught at my secondary school (many moons ago obviously!) and once used one of my experiences as an example of something. I was so not impressed to be asked whether <bad experience I really really didn't want to talk about> was really true and thought my mother was an idiot not to have realised that would happen (I have two sisters, so to her 'one of y daughters' was a safe approach, forgetting I was the only one at the same school). So I'd only shae experiences about other people if they've said it was OK or it's irrelevant because the children will never meet the person.
Yes I've been pretty open with my DD (11) and will answer questions honestly when asked.
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