Recently during a parent group session I ran across a woman who was obviously at her wit's end, frustrated and angry by her child's drug use. The young one had been huffing for two years and had finally been "caught" by authorities - hence the reason for her participation. It was clear she didn't want to be there. Her attitude was much different than most parents... but everyone handles their pain in a unique way... this was her way.
Here she was, somewhere she didn't want to be and she had done everything she could do for the last two years and yet nothing had changed. Huffing meant that she had to clean her entire house from aerosol cans. She had removed everything that her child could use to get high from her home. She had grounded him, cleared his room of all his belongings, attempted to monitor friends... all the things that made sense. Yet she said nothing had worked so they just gave everything back to him and stopped trying to control him - because it didn't work anyway. I truly felt for her because I so clearly understood where she was coming from... been there... done that.
So during our discussions I mentioned that perhaps if juvenile "records" were kept on the books until a child's 21st birthday they might give more thought to their actions as juveniles she went off on me. She would have no parts of that, her thought process was 'that could keep my child from getting into college'. In my mind I thought... okay... yes it might... but if your child keeps huffing and using other drugs his brain capabilities probably won't let him get in to college to begin with. Yes, we must keep our children's future in mind, but first and foremost we must figure out why they are using drugs and help them straighten out this mess. First things - first.
During another part of the discussion I noted that I felt our children today are more bombarded than ever with outside stimuli. They are always plugged in to something... video games, cell phones, TV, music...have you seen some of the video games your kids are playing? Their minds are filled with drugs, ho's, theft and violence... as is their music and television. Now I am not suggesting any form of censorship from the government. I believe in free speech. But parental censorship - yes - absolutely. I am not putting total blame on the media over stimulation, but I also refuse to believe that it does not have an impact on their thought process. I feel there is some degree of desensitizing going on here.
Another point she disagreed with and that is her right, I'm okay with that...she felt 'peer pressure' is the only thing that has any power. Folks this is called denial. Today's youth are much smarting than we give them credit for, they have a better understand than we think. They are just willing to take bigger risks than we would like. I truly feel peer pressure is a large part of the reason kids turn to drugs but do not believe it is the only reason. Bear in mind any child can be the one putting the peer pressure on someone else. It has to start with someone and none of us like to consider our child might be at the heart of the pressure. Therefore, to not look at all of the influences in your child's life is to be in denial. It means that you have some tough parenting to do. Perhaps she felt that way because she had tried to control the outside influences and had found herself so frustrated that she just gave up.
I felt for her, I truly did. She did not want to admit her anger, her fear, or her guilt. She had put on the mask of a parent in denial and commented as we were leaving 'I didn't expect to have to stay here the whole time'. How I wished I would have been able to sit down and speak candidly with her one on one. There is no judgment here folks... only stating the facts and hoping that you learn something from this encounter. When you child is involved with drugs, you are in it for the long haul. Deal with your feelings, open your eyes and be prepared to be frustrated. Don't allow yourself to wear the mask of denial for too long. Her child has something going on inside of them... there is no place for a 'shut down parent' in this situation. Parenting from this situation is not for the faint of heart.