Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This is Your Brain on Drugs

"Why do all the cool people do drugs?" Eldest asked the other day. This in response to me singing along to George Thorogood's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and mentioning other songs of boozing and drugs. Hey, come on, who doesn't love the Grateful Dead's "Casey Jones" or my own personal favorite, Eric Clapton's "Cocaine"?


I find myself talking frequently about drugs with Eldest. At the end of this conversation, when we arrived at my friend's house for an outing to the city, Eldest asked, "Is it okay for me to be asking you questions about this?"

I said that of course it was. And I said I'd tell him everything honestly but at age-appropriate levels. In other words, buster, don't be asking me these questions around the soon-to-be-9-year-old boy.



About a month ago, I took part in a small focus group a youth-oriented organization was holding with parents to talk about underage drinking and use of drugs. The organization needed to compile research as part of its applying for grant monies. I felt like I was the only parent there who was actually a stoner as a kid. Yes, I said as a kid. The drinking and pot smoking started when I was 12. I didn't graduate to harder drugs until college, but alcohol and pot were constants in my life throughout junior high and high school.

It is no coincidence that we have managed to arrange our lives, Pete and I, to enable us to be home far more in these later childhood years. It was at the same moment my mom went back to work that I started drinking and smoking pot. There was no one watching. There was no one home to see what was happening, much less stop it.

I've told Eldest many times that I know he will try drinking at some point, that I think he will likely try smoking pot one day, that I hope he doesn't go further. I think the same about the other two, although I've got more time to instill in them what I've been instilling in him. I hope.


I got an email from someone last week. She's a parent of an 8th grader, too. Her email opened with this:

"A 'friend' of mine recently found out that a group of kids in the 8th grade GATE classes are smoking pot. I know I shouldn't be shocked by this but I was!"

She has organized a workshop designed to arm parents with the tools and skills to deal with it.

I was shocked that anyone is surprised that some 8th graders are smoking pot. Peers of mine wonder how the "little" kids even know where to get pot. Really?



I am not naive enough to believe my kids will never experiment. I am not naive enough to believe my kids will always make the right choices. I am not naive enough to believe what I say will trump what their friends and peer say and do.

And I am grateful that I am not naive enough to be that naive.


That Uncomfortable Itch said...

I believe honsety is truly the best policy. That and a healthy dose of reality.

The first time you realize it actually is happening is hard, it's a milestone that isn't as warm and snuggly as say walking or reading. But it does happen and being real and open about it keeps you in the loop.

Colorado now has medical marijuana cards. They came into play since my oldest, now nearly 18, began experimenting. It's definitely put an interesting spin on the whole thing.

Jeni said...

Darned good post, Patti!
One of the things that has always annoyed me greatly over the years of raising my three kids -and now, being involved in watching my two younger grandkids grow up -were parents who had the attitude that their kids would never, could never, do anything wrong and then, defended those kids to the hilt when they did do things that were wrong! I don't mean to say that when our kids do get their fannies into a sticky wicket that we shouldn't stand by them -but there's a hell of a big difference between doing that and trying to keep going on and on that these kids are all so perfect and never do anything illegal, immoral or whatever else there is in life that people can get into that shouldn't be done, ya know! I have a story in the back of my mind about just such a neighbor -actually several about her -that I would love to write about on my blog but can't figure out a way to do that without totally identifying her in the process and risk all kinds of wrath and probably legal wranglings then as a result but they all center around her attitude that her children are the greatest, the best, the most innocent, yadda, yadda, when I know full well that they -and she -are not! Time for many parents to take a closer look at themselves and their offspring for sure!

Maggie May said...

I LOVE this post. I love that you are talking and thinking and giving a shit about this. So many parents just GIVE UP. You rock.

Michele R said...

Great post. I feel the same way. I remember what I did and Hubs is the same way. It is time for us to once again tell the boys that if they are ever somewhere and need to be home, to call us and we will get them. Hubs and I talk all the time about the boys (9th and 7th grade).
I am afraid of the driving a car reality that will happen soon.

Sonya said...

It's funny that those parents were wondering where people get weed when it is so ridiculously easy. There's a dealer at every school--because the people who sell drugs are smart and they plant people where the market it. Duh.


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