Smoke and Mirrors


There are definitely a lot of different philosophies on child rearing especially when it comes to alcohol and drug use. Now, believe me, I was far from an angel when I was in high school and college. I did my share of partying..probably did a little of your share too. But at some point, trying to be somewhat athletic or even climbing a set of stairs conflicted with my smoking ways. I also was never a big fan of drinking to puke-dom.

After I graduated, I stopped the smoking. A decade or so later, my drinking has slowly diminished. I am now a teetotaler.  I started working out..and that became quite the obsession.

Now, having impressionable kids, they know I'm not much at parties. If they see me with a beer in my hand they're somewhat shocked. They have never seen me drunk (I save those rare occasions for my luckiest and closest of friends). They know I don't approve of drugs and I've voiced my concern about excessive drinking. Yes, Dad's boring..but "I'd rather be known as a boring person, an athlete, a scholar than a druggie or an alcoholic." My kids have heard it all.

Do they know of my previous, hallucinogenic life? Absolutely not! I am from the school of don't tell your kids anything they can use against you.  How can you tell someone "Yes, I smoke pot, I drank to oblivion, so I know it's not good for you." That gives them the idea that "hey, if my Dad did it, and is still a successful upstanding citizen, I can do it too and turn out OK." Nah -uh..I'm not gonna do that  - give them a reason to try.

My kid was doing a report on smoking:
"I need to interview someone who has smoked, who has tried smoking" (cigarette smoking). "Have you tried it?" he asks.
"Me?" Gulp. "No. I've never tried it. But ask Uncle Pete. In his day, they didn't realize that smoking was dangerous, could kill you. That's why he stopped." I said.

Other parents believe that you should prepare your child for adulthood: let him see people drinking to demonstrate responsible drinking. Allow them to try alcohol under your supervision, even if they're under-aged. What's a sip of beer going to do to a 13 year old anyway? They say that they set an example of adults who can do these things intelligently.

Me? I think it's more intelligent to lie.

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