My 14 year old came very close to smoking pot for the first time last Friday. But, her reasonably good judgement held her back from trying it because she didn’t feel comfortable smoking with the people around her. Even though they were her friends, she was afraid because of what she heard she would feel like if she got high.
Of course, my wife found this out just minutes before my daughter turned in for the night a few days later. It was close to 11 o’clock in the evening and she was exhausted. My daughter was still up and felt like talking…a bit of a rarity for her.
Better late than never!
I found out about it 48 hours later. This seems to happen more and more these days. As a minority in my own household (my amazing wife of twenty years and two daughters), my wife is the “go-to” parent when it comes to “female” things but also other issues concerning relationships, school issues and now, drugs and alcohol.
Better someone than no one at all.
So, my wife and I, along with our 14 year old, were upstairs in our bedroom, my daughter on the computer, my wife relaxing on the bed and me just hanging out.
No time like the present to have the conversation.
How could I be honest, sincere and ethical about this kind of stuff if I didn’t come clean about my own past. My wife asked me out loud, “would you ground her if you knew she got drunk or high?”
Good question. As a “Johnny-come-lately” to the whole “pot thing”, I was already an adult before I smoked my first joint. I was in the safe company of people I knew and trusted (my wife being one of them). I wanted to be in a safe environment because I didn’t know what I was going to expect. As for drinking…I really never had much of a taste for the hard stuff when I was a teenager. While I did enjoy beer, I only got full on it and never got drunk to the point of being sick. Nevertheless, she needed to know a little about my past so that I wouldn’t be hypocritical.
I spoke more to her about the side effects of over-indulging: bed spins, vomiting, hangovers, being out of control, saying things she might regret, acting really silly…the list goes on.
I told her that we would not be surprised if she ever tried smoking pot but that she should be forewarned of how she might feel and that we might decide to reprimand her if we found out about it (the same being true for getting plastered). I asked her if she thought it was worth it; if getting high or drunk as a skunk and feeling as lousy as I explained she would feel, was worth it? Was it worth getting punished for indulging?
While she didn’t give me a straight answer, I didn’t really expect her to.
I wasn’t born yesterday. Most teenagers, at one point or another, will either be curious or actually partake in alcoholic consumption or smoking up. I know my daughter has only dabbled a little in alcohol but according to her, has not developed a taste for it. I don’t think many teenagers develop a taste for alcohol, they do it for the buzz.
Isn’t this part of teenage-dom? Isn’t this part of growing up? Making mistakes (getting really high or drunk) is part of the learning curve called life.
If I keep on justifying to myself that its ok for her to participate in this teenage ritual, I will start believing myself.
I look at my 14 year old daughter as still being pristine; just like the newborn I remember holding a mere 14 years ago. I remember looking at her and thinking how perfect she was. To poison her young body with chemicals and alcohol seems so wrong, yet I know teenagers do it every day.
On this particular day, my only words of wisdom to her were this: if she is ever out and gets too drunk or high or feels uncomfortable in her situation, that she should call us and no matter what…no questions asked, we will come to get her. Nothing will be said of the event until after she recovers from it.
I reminded her that she should feel comfortable talking to us about stuff like this…nothing to be embarrassed about. The right kind of knowledge (meaning…not getting her info from her friends) on issues surrounding drugs and alcohol are probably best answered by people who have used both (in varying amounts) over the years.
I also told her that if she wanted to sample different alcoholic beverages to know what they taste like and how it feels to be “buzzed”, she could try it in the comfort and safety of her own home (yeah, I know..totally uncool).
I even made the same offer to her regarding getting high. For some reason, when I made that offer, she was totally into it.
Dare I say…so was I!