Consumption, Addiction and Amy Winehouse

07.25.11

This weekend I talked to my kids about drug addiction. They don’t really know Amy Winehouse, and they aren’t exposed to the news that she passed. Not at home anyhow. I can’t control what they discuss at camp.

I posted this on Twitter when I heard about Winehouse’s passing a few days ago.

Amy Winehouse tweet

More than one person commented to me that they’ve told their kids that drugs are always bad. Unless you’re living in a Mormon enclave this probably isn’t the best teaching method.

Our kids watch us have a drink, they watch us take an occasional ambien, sip an energy drink or nibble a painkiller. Most of us aren’t drug addicts, most of us will never have a drug problem we do medicate here and there.

Telling our children to never drink is foolish. Telling our children we hope they won’t drink until they are of legal age is fair. Asking them to never drink and drive is reasonable.

Teaching our children that drugs are bad is a good beginning to the discussion. Teaching our children that drug abuse is fatal is probably more realistic.

I’m not worried about my 12 year old being offered crack, it’s simply not the norm for kids to start there. It is the norm for kids to drink a beer, smoke a little pot or experiment with pills. These aren’t scary drugs to them because they’re totally acceptable at the age of 21 (or at about 8 depending on the pills… ritalin anyone?).

Talking to kids, and listening to their questions (and the subtext) is what we’re doing. All of us who came of age in the era of Nancy Reagan and “just say no” realize that telling kids that drugs are bad isn’t the beginning middle and end of the discussion.

It’s got to be reasonable or they’ll know we’re fools.