Experimenting With Drugs Is Not A Rite Of Passage
Educating children about the dangers of drug use is a complex topic many parents struggle with. Some parents think it’s wrong or hypocritical to tell their children not to use drugs when they themselves used drugs as a teenager. But parents who can speak from experiences they now regret have a real reason for not wanting their children to follow in their footsteps. Experimenting with drugs is not a rite of passage, and parents shouldn’t assume that there’s no way to stop their children from using drugs.
Rumors of drug use in Hollywood run wild, so one would think that celebrity parents have great advice for their own teens on how to avoid drugs. But I was blown away when Madonna revealed her less than stellar advice parenting advice to her own children about doing drugs. While taping for The Jonathan Ross Show last week, Madonna shared what she tells her teens about using drugs. From Popsugar:
I am not a big fan of drugs. They just don’t suit me. The handful of times I have tried drugs, many, many, many, many years ago, I just didn’t enjoy it. I wanted it out of me. I started guzzling bottles of water thinking that was going to end it. . . . I just ask my daughter [Lourdes] to make wise decisions and to do things in moderation and to try not to mix her alcohol. I am not going to say, ‘No, don’t do it,’ because that is just absurd. And it is not fair. Yeah, I did it.
Madonna, I love you, Open Your Heart will forever be my go-to karaoke jam, but this is terrible advice. Besides not wanting to encourage your children to do things that are illegal and could get them arrested, if you used drugs yourself and had a bad reaction to them or didn’t enjoy them, that’s even more reason to tell your children to avoid them as well.
Personally, I’ve never touched illegal drugs in any form, so it’s not inevitable that all teens will use drugs. My parents were open with me about their own experimentation as teens and explained to me the dangers of drugs in a way that made it very clear they did not condone my using drugs. I was honest with my parents as a teen when going to parties where there would be drugs, and my mom trusted me to tell her the truth and not use, and I did just that.
I plan on parenting my own children the same way. I know that some states are starting to decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana, but as long as it’s still illegal in our state, using it is still an unacceptable activity in my household.
Even if you did try drugs when you were younger, you can still send an anti-drug message to your children. It’s not ‘absurd’ to tell our children that we don’t approve of or condone them using drugs. Yes, children are going to make their own decisions, but that doesn’t mean we have to be complicit in those decisions if we don’t agree with them.
Just because you did something yourself when you were younger doesn’t make you a hypocrite for wanting to raise your children differently. Part of being a parent is using our experiences to teach our children and hoping that they can learn from our mistakes, not repeat them.