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.