Whether or not you’ve used drugs in the past (or present), most parents and care-givers are going to be faced with this particular flavor of The Talk at some point or another. It’s a tricky spot to be in — I personally want to be honest with my son as much as possible, as often as possible. In my mind’s eye, I imagine us discussing all kinds of topics… including drug use. If and when he asks if I’ve done something like smoke pot, I hope I’ll be honest with him.
Here’s how I think about a drug like marijuana: it can be fun, but it’s by no means a path to greater enlightenment. I’ve known many a person who became quite a mellow and creative person while stoned, but I’ve also known one too many burnouts. I personally see marijuana as a pretty tame and boring drug: if you smoke it, great. If you don’t… you’re not missing out on too much.
But how will I explain that to my kid without it sounding like a resounding parental endorsement? Because I’m pretty sure saying something like, “Oh, weed? I’ve totally smoked it, and it was fun! But, um, you should really try to steer clear of it” isn’t going to fly.
I don’t want to give Jasper some sort of half-assed “gateway drug” speech (and I don’t even really believe in the theory), but I don’t want to encourage him to smoke. I know a few people who plan to talk to their kids about pot and keep it in the house — if they want to smoke, they can, as long as they stay home while doing so. I think that’s an interesting approach, but I’m not sure it’s the best for us. I don’t want to lie or mislead him when he asks about my opinions of the drug, but I also don’t want to actively encourage him to get stoned.
Since I didn’t even touch pot (or alcohol) until I was twenty-one, I’m kind of hoping Jasper will also put off substance use until he’s an adult — but I might be trying to Pollyanna my way out of the drug use talk. Monitoring the Future, “an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults,” conducted a survey in 2010 that revealed marijuana use is going up (something like one in sixteen 12th graders smokes daily) among eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students. The primary reason? Kids see pot as something that’s safer than harder drugs.
TELL ME: how are you guys planning to talk to your kids about your past or present drug use? For those of you who have already crossed this threshold: what did and didn’t work?