CNN asks parents this morning if it is a good idea or a bad idea to talk to your kids about your past drug use or your experiences with alcohol. I obviously never considered this debate because I have always been fully open with my own children about what a sloppy ass drunk I was as a teenager. And drugs? I have done many of the drugs. I haven’t done any real drugs since I was about 20 years old, so this is all sorts of BACK IN THE DAY sort of information, but I just never felt the need to hide it from them, or be ashamed or embarrassed about it. I always assumed being honest with my own kids was the best policy in regard to this discussion.
So what have a I told them about booze? That booze is delicious.
That booze is fun and awesome to enjoy with a good meal but the bad part about alcohol is that it can go from being happy fun celebratory times, to puking up nachos in the bathroom, crying and becoming super depressed about how Mick Jagger is going to die one day times. You cry about really stupid things when you are drunk. Puking is not fun. I stress to them that if one day they do drink, that they should quit when they are buzzed, try not to keep drinking after that, but I think we all know that the buzzed you is not the best listener.I tell them they should remember to drink water, and take aspirin before bed, and not to drink on an empty stomach. I tell them I do not want them drinking before they are of legal age, but I think we all sort of know the likelihood of THAT happening is pretty much nil. My kids will get drunk before they are 21. I will ground them. But the most important thing, and my rule that can never, ever be broken, is that they cannot drive when they have been drinking, or get in a car with someone who has been drinking. I have always told them we will come get them no questions asked. For me that is the most important discussion to have. That they can under no circumstance drink and drive.
As for drugs, I am all sorts of open about it. I tell them I got high when I was younger, but that dope always just made me sleepy and amazingly hungry and that even though at times it was sort of fun, it just never really appealed to me. I explain that I don’t want them getting high, mainly because not only is it illegal, and I don’t feel like them going to jail for pot possession, but that the drugs these days may not be the best drugs, that the drugs they consume may have other scary things mixed in with them and that can be incredibly dangerous. I’ve spoken to my teen about LSD, and told them that is also a scary drug, and that anything he takes can affect his mind and you can never be totally sure what is in the drugs you take. Because I live in a very meth-y state, I have also discussed meth with him but due to repeated viewings of Breaking Bad I think that has sort of ruined any glamor that drug may have had for a lot of teens.
I tell my younger kids they should never take any substances that aren’t given to them by mom or dad or by a hospital. I tell them that they can always come to me with any questions they may have. I tell them that they will be offered drugs, but before they decide to take them that I hope they consult with me or their father first, because we love them and want to keep them safe. I tell them that people have died from taking drugs, and that they may take something that just seems like a FUN idea and that it can turn into a habit that can destroy their lives.
I always want my own kids to be honest with me, so I have sort of assumed the best way I can make that happen is by being honest with them. There is a chance that one day they will say “well, you did it when you were young” and that will be their excuse for any drugs they partake in. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, because hopefully my tales of vomiting all over my boots and getting grounded by my own mom when I stumbled home at age 16 is enough to deter them from making the same mistakes.