Filed under: The sky is not falling
A few years ago a mom was telling me that her talk with her 18 year old daughter included, “Don’t drink too much.” And she’d go on to explain that her daughter was about to go to college anyhow and it wasn’t like she could control her in college. I gasped hearing this as my kids were still quite young and in a rare moment of self awareness, said nothing.
I’m pleased I said nothing because as my kids have grown the alcohol conversation has evolved.
When they were tiny it was, “Alcohol is for adults.”
Then it was, “Yes, you can put a little beer/wine on your tongue.” And when they made a face we all laughed.
Now the conversation is decidedly different. Every high school party will have drugs and alcohol. Here’s what I’ve told my kids, repeatedly.
On marijuana: Please don’t use it until after you’re 22. Your frontal lobe isn’t fully formed until that point in time and no one knows if it leads to depression or if depression leads to marijuana use. Either way let’s just leave that as an adult activity.
On cigarettes: cigarettes and e-cigarettes are insidious. They are never to be tried. They exist only to be addictive and this is something neither of my children are to try. Ever. They will be punished. There is no negotiating here.
On alcohol and cars: “You are never to get in a car with someone who has been drinking. Ever.” This is a mistake that can be impossible to recover from. Both kids have Uber on their phone and both kids know that they’ll never be punished for being in the wrong place if they just get themselves home. They have permission to make other parents angry if they don’t want to get in a car with them. They have permission to make us angry. My children have been told a hundred ways that they don’t have to get in the car with anyone they feel is unsafe at any time. If their cell phones die they can call 911 and say they’re a stranded minor. If they don’t feel like it’s an emergency they can call 311 and say they’re a stranded minor. The drink drive issue is the one I’ve hammered my kids with more than most others.
On parties and teen drug and alcohol use: We need to talk about it. We need to talk a lot. Every party the kids go to in high school (and many parties in middle school) has drugs or alcohol. Right now it’s only marijuana but I’m certain that will escalate. My kids can go to parties where kids are drinking and/or smoking so long as they tell me what happened at the party. I have sworn that if they tell me which kids are drinking that they will still be allowed to be friends with them and that I won’t treat the kids differently. This is surprisingly easily accomplished. They’re kids, they’re going to do dumb stuff and still be basically great kids. I can forget that someone tasted vodka and that someone else tried pot. It’s okay.
The parties end if I find out that there’s been drinking and drugs from another parent or another child. I’m totally okay with my kids going to parties, having fun with their friends and making good decisions for themselves. When the communication shuts down their wings get clipped.
So far, so good. My kids are surrounded by really great kids. They’ve chosen their friends wisely and I’m sure that everyone will make a mistake. So long as no one gets behind the wheel of a car I think we can keep the stakes low.
Here’s today’s picture, the subject line she sent was “LA’s Best?”.
I got super busy today working on two really different projects and eating Fresh Brothers salad like the bowl was a feedbag attached to my neck.
Tomorrow I’ll blog properly… I hope. Or maybe even tonight.
Really, it could happen to anyone.
You could conceivably get very stoned and hide your marijuana in a really great hiding place. Then, the next day, when you are not stoned, you might forget where that really great hiding place is.
But it could be worse, because your whole upstairs might stink like weed, and your children might have had that stupid drug education class where they liken marijuana to heroin.
So you could be airing out your house on a very cold day, searching for a stash of marijuana that you can smell but you can’t see. Apparently you can hide things very well, but you can’t seal a ziploc bag.
But I’m not saying it happened to me.
There’s only one good thing about Cancer. Cancer brings about the ability to discuss marijuana in a smart way. Plenty of folks discuss pot in all sorts of ways, but cancer (and other chronic illnesses) bring the medical community into the discussion. If they aren’t stoned, it’ll be a riveting discussion.
In 2007 nearly 75,000 marijuana related arrests were made. What is the real cost of those arrests? Is it $100 per arrest? Is it a thousand per arrest? What could those police officers have been doing with their time?
The cost of the drugs wars is astronomical and it’s a colossal failure.
Clinton didn’t inhale.
Bush snorted how much cocaine?
Obama “inhaled frequently, that was the point”
The last three men to hold our highest office have all defied the law, but no one cared. I’m sure some pundits cared while the cameras were rolling, but the reality is that no one in their right mind cares if adults smoke weed.
Los Angeles is dotted with medical marijuana clinics. Every few months a group of homeowners gets together and screeches Ooh, get them out of here! Which, on the surface, seems prudent. Except one thing. Those same homeowners would gladly smoke a joint if it came their way. Where did it come from? Criminals? Gangs? A Meth House?
What if you’re sick? What if chemotherapy has you so nauseous that you can’t keep food down? Should you waste away and die? AIDS? Anorexia? TMJ disorder is helped by marijuana.
I’d daresay I worry less about pot than alcohol. Did you ever see the police come to break up a stoner brawl? Me neither.
I figure sex, drugs and rock and roll are all a part of young adulthood. With my kids zipping through their early childhood and one entering her adolescence, I worry less about the boogeyman, and more about shining a light on things.
Marijuana isn’t scary, but the laws surrounding it are.