Slow and Steady Wins the Race

When you want your kid to say NO

on June 1, 2010

As I was reading through my twitter feed I came across this from @dooce – All my love to you, Katie. RT @kgranju My beautiful boy: 1 hour ago via web.

I clicked on the link and found a sad notification of the death of Katie’s son.  I don’t know her, but it made my heart ache for her.  I had to read further back to find out what caused his death at such a young age.  It turns out that her son was battling drug addiction for several years and overdosed in addition to being assaulted.  As I read more and more I found that she regretted her initial reaction to her son’s drug experimentation at the age of 14.  She says she treated it like a bad grade on report card and not much more.  You can read a bit about it in Katie’s own words – here.

This got me to thinking about my own experience and what I will do if I ever encounter this as a parent.  The way I thought I would react to it was very much like what she describes because I did a little experimenting of my own and never got into trouble for it.  By trouble I mean with my parents or the police.  I don’t even know if my parents knew, but honestly they had to.  I didn’t go to great lengths to hide it.  I made some pretty big mistakes though and I was lucky to live and learn from them.  I could have easily taken the wrong road in life and not ended up where I am today.  I have watched family and many friends struggle with addiction.  I know I am susceptible to addiction simply by having the DNA that I have.  My son will have it two-fold because it runs in the family on my side and my husbands.  This scares me in a way I never thought it would.  Now I have to worry about screwing up my kid with my DNA and not just with my parenting.  How do you stress the dangers of drugs and alcohol to your child without giving them the desire to see what the fuss is all about that much more?  Should you be honest about what you did or did not experiment with as an adolescent/adult when they ask?  Does being honest tell them it’s OKAY to try it because, hey, Mom and/or Dad did and they turned out fine?  Is there a balance here?

Times are different now.  Kids experiment with many things at younger ages than we ever did.  I read about kids in MIDDLE SCHOOL having sex.  Yes, MIDDLE SCHOOL.  That is something that is so foreign to me I can barely process it.  That wasn’t something that we would have even consider doing when I was younger.  At least the majority of people I hung out with didn’t consider it.  If sex is such an easy thing for kids to try out without the consideration of consequences, does that mean that drugs and alcohol are too?

I feel like the time I have to figure out how to handle talking to my kid about drugs and alcohol is so very short.  He’s only 3 and 1/2, but the time is already flying by.  I will blink and he will be 12 and feeling the peer pressure to do crazy things.  I honestly don’t remember what my parents told me about this subject.  I don’t even remember having a conversation about it.  The schools were big on the “Just Say No” campaign.  Obviously that campaign didn’t work so well on me.  So, I still wonder.  What does?

Parenting is hard.


One response to “When you want your kid to say NO

  1. Ann,
    I’m so sad to hear of this news. Thank you for sharing so we can send a message.

    As for you and parenting…gosh. You have THE toughest job on the planet, I’m certain of that, and am constantly amazed at how my sisters do the mom thing. I’m so proud of them b/c they face the same decisions as you every day.

    As a former middle school teacher, I can tell you firsthand that yes, they do have sex. And babies. And STDs. And heartache. And death.

    You will know what to do as each day comes before you. And if you’re not sure, you’ll reach out and those that you need will be there for you. Me, too. 🙂

    HUGS, friend. Yes, parenting is hard. But you are doing an amazing job.


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