Thursday, October 08, 2009

Talking about drugs to your kids

Lisa Belkin discusses a survey about parents who used drugs in the past and what their kids know about that use. Do kids want to know? It turns out they do.

I have always been honest with my kids about my own drug use in the past. Yes, it was sometimes fun, but looking back at it now, I realize how much danger I often put myself and sometimes others in. And there were times even then where I scared myself and I knew that I'd gotten lucky. Drinking and doing drugs at too young an age cut me off from some opportunities. It definitely affected my school work. And it kept me from pursuing other activities like sports or student leadership.

By the time I was approaching college graduation, I had pretty much given up drinking heavily and doing any drugs. Yes, there were occasional escapades, but nothing like the crazy stuff I'd done earlier. And my work showed that. I was more focused. Having work outside of school, as well, meant I didn't have time to pursue drugs or drinking.

The big question is, what effect will that have on my kids. It's hard to refuse doing drugs or drinking when you're not sure of yourself. I guess I've mostly tried to give my kids the confidence to refuse, and the knowledge that abusing substances can shut them off from opportunities that they'll only have now. The activities I keep them enrolled in are designed in part to keep their minds and bodies busy, to help them feel good at something, so they don't feel like they need to resort to altering their mood through drugs. I keep talking to them, keep tabs on their friends, but honestly, I also just keep my fingers crossed.