Adults who used to smoke pot: What do you tell your teens?

It’s a tough question, and one that may very well end up in great debates, but for now I’d like to try and discuss this in an opinion based arena. I was reading this article entitled ** Ex-tokers wrestle with telling kids not to smoke**. It’s an ok read, some good peer reviewed info in it and in general gives a good all around view on what adults who used to smoke pot are telling their teens to do.

Some parents are taking the Gestapo Approach, saying *" you will not smoke, today, tomorrow, or ever or else you’ll be sorry! *. Which in my opinion would peak a teens interest into finding out what exactly it is about pot that is so awful. In my opinion, I agree with the author of the article in that if a parent reacts with anger towards a teenager, stating ‘you cannot smoke no matter what’ they might as well just light the bong for their kid.

It’s a very tough call, because some of us who smoked pot had no problems with it. Meaning we were never arrested, smoked it leisurely, never got out of control except perhaps when raiding a fridge or Ihop. Then went on to lead quite normal lives, maybe continuing to smoke now and again as adults maybe not.

The flip side: are those who smoked pot, moved onto coke and or other illicit drugs and may have had a series of bad events happen to them over time. Possibly leading to a life of addiction or worse, a bad case of death.

These negative aspects of pot stay in the forefront of a vast majority of the population leading people to call pot a gateway drug, one that when smoked leads to other more addictive substances. Discounting that fact the pot is only a gateway drug - in my opinion - because it is the one most common drug tried first, and the lesser of several evils. But that is not what this thread is about.

Parents by their very nature - in most cases - want to steer their children away from drugs, and this is where the central conundrum comes into play for this thread. If you tell your teenage daughter not to smoke pot, but Uncle Ricky tells her that you - her father - smoked more pot than cheech & chong, an issue arises. And that is what this thread is about. Do you go with the adage that ‘knowledge is power’ and give your children all the knowledge they will need to make the right decision when the time comes. Letting them know full well you smoked pot and turned out ok? Or do you condemn the very act from the get go and hope for the best?

Personally, as a man who is married with no children in his 30’s and as a man who smoked his fair share of pot in his life…I’d take the honest route and be as forthright as possible. And give them the knowledge to make the right decision when the time comes. I can’t wait to have children, I hope I can make the right choice when I do.

What do you think?

I avoided the question as long as I could, but I was honest with them once I was cornered. I told them I smoked it when I was younger, but I grew out of it. I also told them to be smarter than me in making that decision. As far as I know, it’s worked.

I kind of lean on the fact that it’s illegal. My teen knows that I’ve done it, but she doesn’t seem very interested in hearing about it (not from me, anyway). Her uncle’s still a big stoner. I asked her once how she felt about that, and she said she tries not to think about it very much.

One would think the legality of it would keep a lot of people away. But unfortunately it doesn’t. The fact that your daughter doesn’t want to think about her stoner uncle very much could be a good sign, and I think for many teens watching what others do is enough to keep them away. NOt for all though.

I told my kids the truth…I smoked pot and it didn’t kill me, it didn’t lead me to do harder drugs, and I have no problem with people who toke to this day. Now that my kids are grown: 24 year old has a great job and tokes occasionally; 23 year old has many, many issues and tokes too much; and the 20 year old has a great job and doesn’t toke at all.

I only have issue with the 23 year old because she has so many problems. I don’t think her problems are directly related to smoking weed, I think her weed smoking is her way of self-medicating and she needs to quit toking and go get professional help with her problems. But does she listen to me? Of course not—what could I possibly know?

I started having this conversation with my son years ago, long before he was old enough to consider asking me if I smoke(d) pot myself. We talked about the health effects, the misinformation spread by anti-drug agencies, addiction (“Some people can drink a little or smoke a little or shop a little and be perfectly functional. Other people can’t, and they get addicted to alcohol or drugs or shopping or video games. If you can’t do it without it messing up your life, you shouldn’t do it. And *anything *can be addictive, not just drugs and alcohol.”), the politics of the Drug War, and the very real legal risks of illegal drug possession (No federal money for college, jail time, fines, driver’s license revoked, etc.). The overarching theme of the conversation was: I can’t stop you from drinking, doing drugs, having sex or anything that teens commonly do. However, I wish you’d think about them long and hard and put it off as late as possible to give your body, mind and life time to grow like they’re supposed to.

So we’ve got a long history of The Talk without it ever occurring to him to ask me if I tried [fill in substance or activity here] personally. I’ve never ever told him I didn’t, but I also haven’t volunteered that I did. He does know for certain that some of my friends do, and if/when he asks me outright, I will not lie to him. I suspect he suspects, but he hasn’t asked for confirmation.

I have pointed out the illegal bit, and the consequences if my son gets caught smoking the marijuana (he’s 16, BTW). But mainly I talked about moderation, and the importance being smart in his choices, and I applied this to both pot and booze. I explained to him that yes, I have smoked it in the past, but I never smoked and drove, I always made sure I was where I was going to stay for the night before I toked up, and I never let it get in the way of school/work. He knows I don’t necessarily agree with the fact that it’s illegal, but the laws are a reality, and breaking them can screw up your life in lots of different ways.

He’s tried it. I knew he would. He’s the kind of hardheaded little person who just has to learn everything the hard way. But (so far) he’s shown sense with it, and indeed I don’t think he’s smoked it since he was about 14.

With my daughter (9) it hasn’t come up yet.

It’s all individual and it’s been that way for time immemorial

My dad used to smoke, and now he doesn’t (OK, I think he might still do it now and then.) When I was in high school he basically told me, just do it somewhere safe where you’re not going to get into trouble, don’t let it interfere with your responsibilities, and don’t do it while driving.

But he’s a pretty extreme example. I mean, I once asked him for money with the explicit purpose of buying weed, and he’s given it to me. So this is NOT a typical sample of parents.

My mom, on the other hand, always told me never, ever, ever to do it, and acted like it was heroin or something. But I didn’t listen to her because she’d never done it before and I knew she was just repeating what her religious, conservative mother told her.

I think it is pretty tough to beat honesty and opennes as a default setting when dealing with your kids, and this topic is no exception. Isn’t the most important thing that your kids get accurate info and become able to make intelligent choices?

What has surprised me a little bit, tho, is that none of my kids has asked me specific probing questions about the exact nature and extent of my substance use.

My parents never said much to me about vices. They never said anything positive or negative about pot. They may have mumbled something about moderation and a time and place for everything. By the time I knew what drugs were, I had no interest in any of it. I still don’t. I’ve never done drugs and drink maybe 2-3 times a year.

My parents, by contrast, smoked pot and had bongs. It’s pretty startling to find out you’re more of a goody-two-shoes than your parents were.

I asked my parents whether or not they ever did drugs when I was maybe 9. My mother’s response was priceless. She looked at me long an hard and said, “what do you think?” The answer at the time was obvious: my saintly mother never wrapped her lips round no doob.

As it turns out, I was mistaken. A few years later, she told me the story of how she and her best friend smuggled some Acapulco gold across the border in shampoo bottles. I love my mom.

I was never into drugs nor even particulary curious about them, so no issue there.

Yeah, “what do you think” is how I dodged questions on everything from drugs to Santa Claus. It worked for years.

>some of us who smoked pot had no problems with it. Meaning we were never arrested, smoked it leisurely, never got out of control except perhaps when raiding a fridge or Ihop. Then went on to lead quite normal lives, maybe continuing to smoke now and again as adults maybe not.

I’m one of those.

I told the teens that I smoked it, and enjoyed and valued the experience, but that it was also dangerous, and turns out badly for some people, and the risk of legal trouble is a special problem. In my experience and that of my contacts, the “gateway drug” idea didn’t seem correct, so I didn’t make a point of that.

I still think drugs and driving and entering the workforce and living on one’s own and managing money sex and and making one’s way in strange places are all dangerous and exciting and the stuff of life. Bless us all for trying. Whenever I got the idea somebody was lying to me about something, I tended to discount whatever they said.

Knowledge is power, yes.

I never smoked much, but I told the truth about what I’d done. I think my wife would have preferred I lie, but them’s the breaks.

In the end, one of my children smokes pot and doesn’t drink much. The other drinks (too much, IMO), and never smokes pot. I don’t think I had any influence on either one.

Maybe not all that rare, though. My first awareness of pot was my mom smoking it with some of her friends when I was about 6. That took all the glamour out of it right there. I always found it really easy to say no to illegal drugs, in part because it didn’t seem rebellious to me at all. If my mom was OK with it, how cool could it be? Not that this approach would work with all kids, I imagine.

Question: Suppose something bad did happen as a result of smoking pot or using other drugs? Would you tell your kids about that?

When I was a kid, I thought the story about my 12 y/o dad taking his dad’s car keys and cruising the neighborhood was hilarious. But when I was 14, my uncle (mom’s brother) scared the crap out of me with a story about taking his dad’s car, not just to prove he could drive, but to get somewhere specific, getting into a mild fender-bender, and ending up in legal and economic hell because he was unlicensed and uninsured. The moral was that it doesn’t matter how well you can drive: if there were no licenses and no insurance, it would be chaos, and it’s a lot harder to fight the power after you’ve stepped over the line.

So if you got busted for possession or buying or selling weed, would you tell your kids? Or if you had some kind of mishap that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been high? It doesn’t necessarily mean that those things are guaranteed to happen*, but if they did happen to you, and you’re determined to be truthful, why not include them?

*Gen Xers were indoctrinated with the message that if you dropped acid, you were going to jump out a window. No equivocation, just acid = window. Then when angel dust came on the scene, that was supposed to have the same effect. When I started college, I told the same uncle, “Well, the dorms are only two stories high.”

My own two teenage boys are anti-weed. They believe that it should not ever be legalized. They’d look at me as if I’d lost my mind if I ever suggested that they’d smoke it. Hopefully, it will stay that way, but if not I wouldn’t have a problem with it if they were over 18 and didn’t sit around and eat Cheetos and watch Jerry Springer all day.

Yep. I have several old high school friends dead due to heroin overdoses, and a good friendship was broken up for about a year because she was doing heavy drugs while I lived with her (and that was not okay with me). My son knows about those, and has observed first hand some of the things he thinks are negative about pot (“Grown-ups get kinda stupid and lazy when they smoke weed, don’t they?”). My main argument against it for him as a young person was that it *might *interfere with neural development or brain chemistry on a growing brain, and I didn’t think that was a great idea. He knows his brain will mostly stop growing at about 22, and that I’d rather, if he decides to do drugs, he wait until after then before he starts mucking about with his brain.

This is a bit unexpected and amusing … there seem to be a fair number of offspring mentioned in this thread who are more upright than their parents. My oh-so-rightous 9-year-old is one of them. (He got really upset when I had absinthe, even though it was legal.)

Anyway, it is easy for me, so far, because living abroad in countries where you rot in a third-world jail for posessing pot, I can tell him without a hint of hypocrisy, “don’t smoke because you might rot in a third-world jail.”

I can also tell him, truthfully, that (a) I did not smoke pot until I was 19 or 20; I instinctively sensed before that that I was not ready to handle it; and (b) I knew some very cool people who unfortunately could not handle dope, and wasted their brilliance and creativity become total stoners.

So yeah, he knows I’ve smoked, and that under certain circumstances – it won’t get you in a lot of trouble with the law, no one is going to be driving or otherwise doing something requiring alertness, and you only do it as an occasional treat rather than as a way of life – it is not the end of the world. (We’re also discussed how drug use can impair your judgment and how that relates to sex/condoms/etc., but not too much because he is certain he will NEVER do icky stuff with girls.)

But despite my best attempts to raise him as a free thinker, the little prig is a poster child for the “Just Say No” movement.