Imagine that, you’ve managed to get through what you thought would be a horribly cringy conversation about the birds and the bees with your teenage kids and fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as you thought. You explained the precautions of how to have safe sex, knowing when you’re ready to have sex, and more so the importance of consent and getting checked. Hell, you even threw in the classic “and if there’s ever anything you want to talk about, you can always come to me, no judgments”, because you’re an awesome parent who’s also just a little nosey and quite frankly lives for the drama of your children’s’ lives. There you have it, you got through the sex talk unscathed and bias-free! You sink into your couch and close your eyes with relief as you sip on your afternoon coffee, but wait, what’s that smell? Is that… Weed? And just like that, it’s time for the talk about drugs.
Five minutes pass and you’re still trying to register the herby smell creeping into your living room. You think, there’s no way that could be weed because number one, your kid wouldn’t have the audacity to smoke in the house and two, your kid would never smoke. Then you let another five minutes pass and all of a sudden you’re visualizing your kid do coke lines before they grab a chewy bar and make their way out the door for school. You jump up out of your seat because the thought finally hits you. What are you doing sitting around when your kid’s in their room smoking weed and probably doing coke lines?!
Rushing to their room, you have a million dialogues and questions racing through your mind. Why is your sweet boy or girl, doing drugs? Is something wrong in their lives that’s led them to drug use? Does this have anything to do with you being a bad parent because now when you think about it, maybe your sex talk wasn’t all that great and now you’ve emotionally scarred them for life! You stand in front of their closed bedroom door, stuck. What will you say to them? Should you react with anger or disappointment? But wait, why should you be either angry or disappointed when really, you experimented with drugs growing up and you turned out just fine. Maybe they’re not smoking weed because of some sort of trauma but because they’re curious about trying it. Maybe they’re just doing it because well, getting high can be pretty damn fun, at least that’s the way you remembered it anyway. Ok so maybe there is a rational way to go about this; you can be stern and set rules and boundaries but also be honest and open. Finally, you take a deep breathe and go in for the kill… We mean support, you go in to support.
Having the talk about drugs with your children is never easy and this is a conversation you definitely want to address early in your child’s life and definitely not when you’re about to catch them doing it. Like the sex talk, the great upper hand you have in having a conversation like this is that you’ve mostly had experiences or run-ins with drug use yourself and can speak from a personal perspective. If not, now you have a wonderful opportunity to talk to your child about their experiences and try to understand how their decisions have transpired to drug use or even the consideration of experimenting. What you want to do is come from a place of understanding and empathy but also firmness and disappointment that rather than coping through means of communication, they’ve resorted to other vices. Sharing your own experiences with your children, sure, would be embarrassing or maybe even shameful but the great thing about kids is that they’ll love you and look up to you no matter what. Sharing your truths with them, especially on drug use will not only humanize you in their eyes but allow them to comfortably share their truths as well. Be calm, collective, and insightful when having the talk about drugs to your kids. Your opinions on them matter most; enabling room for these sort of conversations is what builds the foundation of a healthy and honest relationship with your kids.
The kid who never got the talk about drugs.