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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll….Sort Of

I recently read a post on BlogHer by PurpleClover entitled “I Gave My Daughter Her First Joint”.  Here’s a brief synopsis: Mom provides her 14 year old with her first joint rolled from Dad’s stash.  Daughter takes it to friend’s house to share.  Mom continues to provide 14 year old with pot. 

There were a ton of comments on this post and it got me thinking about my daughter, who is now 18, and how I feel about pot and her. 

 I understand a lot of people commenting have bigger problems with this post than the fact that she “let” her daughter smoke pot but I don’t want to get into those.  I likely share some of those opinions myself.  These are just thoughts I have on sex, drugs, alcohol and teenagers in my experience.   

I’ve always been the type of mom who doesn’t bury my head in the sand when it comes to my kid’s behavior.  I know she is going to have sex which is why we had the safe sex conversation when she was about 11 and I would randomly start the discussion whenever I felt it had been too long since I had brought it up.  I knew she was going to drink alcohol which is why I would make sure she understood to never drink and drive and if she found herself in a situation where she needed me, to call me, even if she was drunk as a skunk.  I also knew she was going to have friends that drank and I made sure I told her to never get in a car with someone who was driving after drinking. 

I have always tried to encourage her not to smoke cigarettes or pot.  Cigarettes because they are poison and disgusting.  I used to smoke so I know what I am talking about.  But mainly, I encouraged her not to do these things because she has asthma and asthma and smoking don’t mix.  I know she smoked a cigarette with a friend when she was in 9th grade.  She didn’t like it.  I don’t think she has smoked pot but I could be wrong.   

I think if she didn’t have asthma, I would be the type of mom who would recognize that it is hypocritical of me to say that she cannot smoke pot.  I did.  In fact, I was 13 when my brother, 18 months older than me and oh so much cooler, gave me my first joint.  I smoked pot until I was a junior in high school.  I stopped because a boyfriend let me smoke a laced joint and I did not react well to it.  At that point, my brother was out of the house and living his own life so I didn’t have him to watch out for me and make sure I was not getting pot from shady dudes.  After that incident, I realized that I didn’t know for certain what I was smoke and it wasn’t worth it to me to continue smoking. 

I would, however, encourage her to wait until she was older to smoke pot and I would also have to set some ground rules like not sharing pot with her friends because her friends’ parents may not feel the same way as me.  Also, I would worry about her smoking pot away from home because I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning beside some guy and having very fuzzy memories of how I got there.

I found that being open with her and explaining to her how it made me feel (out of control) and stupid decisions I had made while under the influence (with guys, mainly) and the shame I felt after being with a guy while under the influence, this had a bigger impact on her than just telling her not to do it. 

I don’t have access to pot as an adult so obviously, I couldn’t provide it to her but if she wanted to get it, I would talk to her to make sure she is getting from someone she trusts.  I would also want her to smoke it at home so I would know if there was something wrong.

I know that pot is being legalized in a lot of places.  I don’t have any particular opinion on that.  Actually, I feel that the government has more important things to spend their money on, like ending homelessness, than worrying about whether people are smoking pot.  The problem I have with people who smoke pot is when that interferes with their life.  If they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing, at work, at home, as students or parents or whatever, then I have a problem with pot.  I also have a problem with people saying they “need” to smoke pot to relax.  That is like someone saying “I need a few drinks every night to relax.”  I think when it gets to that point, you can consider yourself an addict and I have a problem with addiction.  Addiction makes people do things they normally wouldn’t do. 

Thankfully, I was never faced with this situation where I had to outright “condone” any sort of pot smoking.  My baby is an adult now, but I would like to think that the lessons I taught her about drugs, alcohol and sex, stayed with her and whatever choices she chooses to make, she makes smart ones that are right for her.

My only comment to other parents who criticize this mom for condoning pot smoking is: Be careful not to be a hypocrite.  If you smoked pot when you were young and you turned out fine, is it right to say outright that your kid cannot do it?

Please know that I am not saying you should tell your kid it is okay to smoke pot, if that is not how you feel. 

What I am saying is that sometimes honesty helps.  Admitting to your kid that you smoked pot when you were in high school but that you didn’t like how it made you feel, or what you did when you were stoned, or whatever you want to share with them, may be a better alternative to getting your kids to “just say no.”  Kids are smart and they respect honesty so be honest with them.

1 comment:

Sarah V. said...

Hmmm... I don't think it's necessarily hypocritical. I turned out fine, but on the way to turning out fine I (like most people) did a lot of things that I can see with hindsight were stupid decisions, and I think it's perfectly OK to say that you know now what you didn't know then and, based on that, your rule now is that your child isn't allowed to do X. I think this is pretty much what you were saying, but I also think it's OK to be firmer than just 'Well, it made me feel bad when I tried it'.

Since my own pot-experimenting days, there's been research showing that early use of pot is linked to later mental illness. Obviously, it's hard to be certain which way the causation goes on that one, but it's still enough to make me feel that I'm firmly against my children taking the risk of using pot before age 18, and I will make it clear to them that I don't think it's right for them to take the chance. As it happens, my own pot experimentation was after the age of 18 anyway, but, even if this wasn't the case and I had experimented while in school, I'd still be against my kids doing so because we do now have research findings available that we didn't have then.