How do you take my daughter's reaction to finding out a friend did drugs?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is the first time I've never been worried about N. and drugs. Oh, I am 100% positive she isn't using any or even drinking. She doesn't go to parties and her life is saturated with sports, and she just isn't showing signs of dabbling. But this happened and I'd like your feedback. Names changed.

    I found out that there had been a kid busted for having drugs in his locker.

    Me: Who got busted for drugs?

    Her: Oh, it was Sam. It's because Tyler told on him. That was so dorky of Tyler. Sam wasn't doing it in school.

    I gulped than asked.

    Me: So you don't think he should have told anyone?

    Her: No, it's none of his business. He's a nerd.

    Me: You wouldn't tell if a friend of yours took drugs?

    Her: (shrug)

    Me: Is Sam a friend of yours?

    Her: Well, we don't hang out together, but he's sort of a friend at school.

    Me; What drugs did they find?

    Her: I don't know. I don't care. I don't want to talk about it.

    (She stomps upstairs)

    When I try to engage her in a "why drugs are bad talk" later, she rolls her eyes and goes, "Duh."

    This bothers me, yet I have read over and over again that our kids ARE going to be in contact with kids who drink, take drugs and have early sex. There is no way to avoid that. And that overreacting can make things worse.

    My daughter is thirteen and has never been in trouble. She has a pleasant temperament most of the time. I don't believe most of her close friends are in any sort of trouble. She is very social and knows a wide variety of kids.

    Would you worry? Would you talk about it? If so, what would you say? I tend to come on like a Mack truck. Before this conversation, she had always acted like she thought drugs were stupid and she'd never try them. She still didn't say it was a smart thing to do. What bothered me was that she thought it was dumb of the other kid to tell on Sam.

    My daughter is thirteen, very active in many activities, and concerned with her social status, although she is well liked.

    I don't want to act like a ninny and freak out in advance. She has no mental illness. She does have learning disabilities. She is adopted and her birthfather is a drug addict. Maybe I should remind her that she is more prone to addiction than other kids. On the other hand, again, I don't want to get too wordy and make her afraid to tell me what she's thinking.
  2. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    I would not worry about her at all.She seems well grounded and her reaction seems to have been, well, a normal reaction. :D for a girl her age concerning a class mate.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    There are so many drugs in school, and so many kids doing drugs, that it's almost become a "shrug your shoulders" kinda thing. Especially if it was pot. That's seen as not really a drug these days, I think, by a lot of youth.

    My kids are against drugs. difficult child 2 has done his fair share and still openly admits to smoking weed and drinking - although he says it's losing its appeal. My kids have grown up with him. They don't like the drugs, and both have told him that he's stupid for doing them, but they separate the drugs from the individual.

    I don't know if I'm making any sense, but she may just see it as something Sam does.

    I don't think it means that she is going to go out and do it herself. She sounds like a good kid with a good head on her shoulders, and one that is not likely to follow the crowd.

    It's a different era than what we grew up in. Anyone who did drugs of any kind when I was in school was labeled a "Stoner".

    I would be available (as I know you are) to talk about this should she want to, but I wouldn't push it. I think if you do, then she will most likely not come to you about any concerns she has about friends and drugs, sex, etc. I would keep any eye open, but I think you have every reason to feel confident that your daughter is not going to follow Sam's lead.

    Hope this makes sense. I'm having trouble getting my thoughts out today.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Heather, you made ALOT of sense. To be fair, I used to hang out with kids who did drugs and drank and I didn't do either.

    I'm not going to push it at this time. I realize she is going to have a normal teenage life and seeing this is a part of it. Thank you both.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I can see your concern at her lack of concern. I'd probably feel the same way and would wonder why my kid didn't think that telling someone about it was important to do. And why they didn't think that there might be something dangerous about their friend doing drugs or weren't concerned about it.

    Maybe ask her why she thought the other kid "ratted" on her friend? See what she has to say. It might open the door to a discussion without making her feel like you're plugging her into the hypothetical picture.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wouldn't worry. I think she brushed if off in such a cavalier way because someone being busted for drugs at school is no big deal anymore. She is at the age when it's the thing to protect your friends and "fight the man".

    She's towing the party line.

    You know what what the warning signs are.

    Sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders - she's behaving like most kids would.

    At least that's my opinion.

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree, I don't think you need to worry. At least, not as things are currently.

    I am more worried that she would rather not talk about it, perhaps she's concerned it's going to turn into the third degree and she will feel you don't trust her.

    It's far more important for you to keep dialogue open. She doesn't want to talk about the specifics here - I think you need to back off ("Explosive Child" techniques - put this into Basket B). However, think whether you could say the following -

    "N, I know it's dorky to have your mum want to talk about this sort of stuff. But I AM your mum and I worry about you. I trust you, but this is how your world is. We had drugs in my day but attitudes were different. I'm not wanting to use this as a lecture opportunity or anything. I just want your help to understand how it is for you these days. Can we compare notes together? You help me understand and I can compare with how it was in my day, and maybe together we can discuss how these changes happen."

    Kids these days have more problems thta we didn't have (or not to the same extent). For example, easy child 2/difficult child 2 has experienced having her drink spiked even though she was very careful - we can only assume the culprit was actually the bartender, of the Sydney club she was attending with friends for a Christmas party. We were talking about it in the family, letting people know. As a result, when husband's niece came home from a party apparently drunk to the point of vomiting (when she never drank to excess and never to the point of nausea) her mother was suspicious and immediatly got her to the hospital. Yes, her drink had been spiked. Having heard about her cousin's experience she had also made a point of being careful. I was talking to this girl yesterday about it (visiting east coast for easy child 2/difficult child 2's wedding; she flew home this morning) and she also believed she knew who had done it. Two possible culprits in her case; it had been a party at a friend's place but they had hired a bartender. Niece thinks it was either the bartender, or a male 'friend' who got the drinks for them both. She has never trusted that friend again.

    Drink spiking is one modern aspect of drug usage. However, for a lot of kids these days I suspect that drug use where it's personal only and is not considered to be having an impact on other people. Therefore the kids don't squeal, as a rule.

    Ask N about the modern ethics. Get her to teach you how it works. Don't try to teach her; let her feel she is in charge of this, for now. Because ANY opportunity for her to talk about this is a good thing.

    Kids N's age have a different take on ethics & morals compared to adults and even compared to how she will judge things herself in a few years' time. Kids tend to be more black and white in how they view things. Often they can be more morally upright than later in life, when they learn about having to compromise their views.

    Some years ago when easy child was N's age, we had a small discussion group at our church where we would get together with the kids and present various scenarios. We had a book (very useful) which had these scenarios. They were complex and challenging. None of them had one single correct answer. The aim was to promote discussion, not to teach kids how they SHOULD choose. The discussion was the lesson. The situation N has experienced sounds very similar to the sort of scenario we had in this discussion group. Because really, morally - what is the right way to handle it? As parents, we would like to think that if someone found drugs in our kid's locker, they would tell. We'd want our kid to get help. But it is far more complex. The kid who dobs - what will it do to the trust he wants other kids to have in him? Will there be negative repercussions for him from other kids? Especially the school supplier(s)?
    And the kid who was caught - what happens to him? What drugs was he caught with? What were the circumstances?

    An example - I was teaching remedial reading to Grade 5 kids at the local school. I was one of a number of volunteers, we would visit for half an hour a day and take a kid out of class for tem to read to us. I had to time the reading of a passage, note which words caused the kid problems, talk about reading problems and help the kid have more confidence in themselves with reading.
    I was rummaging in my bag for my stopwatch and accidentally dropped a bottle of prescription medications - it was codeine phosphate. The bottle was tiny but had my name on it on the pharmacy label. I didn't notice I'd dropped it.

    Later at home, I realised that I had dropped the bottle and worked out roughly where it must have happened. I rang the school to report it and ask them to watch out for it.

    However in the meantime, my best friend's son, who was in Grade 5, had come out of class and found the bottle. He read my name on the label and said to his friend, "I know her, she's my mother's best friend. I'll drop it in to her after school."
    But the other boy told the class teacher, who immediately put the worst interpretation on it. She called him everything she could, including dishonest, a liar, sneaky - you name it. I got a phone call form the school asking me very coldly to come down and fetch away my "drugs" and from that point on, I was no longer welcome in the remedial reading volunteer program (not that I realised it at that time). My friend's son came home very upset - he had thought he was donig a good thing. Of course he should have handed the pills in to the teacher, but the kid had no idea they were so restricted. We really are very close to this family, it was almost as if my son had found the bottle. So the mother & I went down to the school to complain to the class teacher about her over-reaction and poor handling of the situation - she had been harsh with him in front of the rest of the class. Yes, he had made a bad judgement call in not handing over the pills, but it was a mistake made in innocence and not in deceit. The teacher's response was to bad-mouth the kid so thoroughly that my friend got deflected and was made to honestly believe her son had been a problem all year (as the teacher claimed) and was not a team player, was repeatedly dishonest and unreliable and so on. I remember asking why the teacher had not communicated this earlier to the mother, the teqacher claimed she had tried to indicate problems in the half-yearly report. I also remembered the problems difficult child 1 had had with the same teacher.

    My friend went home and tore strips off her son, who by now was deeply regretting what he had originally intended to be a kind deed.

    Then my friend checked the half-yearly report (which had been issued by the class teacher only a month earlier). Not only were there no reported problems with her son, but the teacher had been singing his praises for his responsibility, his honesty, his fair play and his teamwork.

    What I'm trying to say here - the truth can often be very complex and not always able to be given a black or white label. And even where it can - kids are increasingly wary these days about getting involved. And in my opinion, rightly so.

    So use this opportunity to ask N to tell you how it is these days for a kid caught in this situation. Don't tell her at any time what she should do - N is already the almost-finished product of your sound upbringing. From here, she simply has to finish maturing pretty much on her own, using the tools you gave her. She is almost completely beyond your current influence now. The best you can give her now, is the ongoing chance to communicate. You need to continue to be a sounding board, she needs to know you are still there for that purpose. But have faith in the parenting job you have done so far. And tell her this - you trust her to make her own choices and to own them. You just want to understand how they work for her, so you can always be there for her no matter what. You want to understand her world but not tell her how to live in it. That time is past. As you talk (about anything) observe yourself and your responses - do you find yourself telling her how she should think, behave or act? Try to curb the temptation, unless she asks for the advice. Instead, listen to her choices and her views. Ask her to explain her feelings maybe, but otherwise back right off preaching about the right way to behave. She has reached the age of Making Her Own Choices. Save your breath for when she DOES ask for it. Because if you give those opinions now, she will shut down the communication, and frankly that MUST be kept open for as long as possible.

    Once they get to N's age, about the only help they will ever come to you for, is either financial, or help in filling out forms (such as first tax return!). Moral choices - the kids would rather walk over hot coals than admit they need help in coming to a decision!

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Marg.

    The thing is, my daughter and I *have* discussed these things 100 times. I think I'll try to talk about it like I usually another time and in the thilrd person...when I know she's more open to listening. She tends to shut down when you try to force her to talk. And I don't want her to stop talking to me because she pretty much tells me everything (so far).

    I read a very good book about girls called "Queen Bees and Wannabes" and there is a hardcore chapter about "Girl World." In it, parties were explained and what kids experience when they go, etc. That opened up some dialogue, but also made me see that it's foolish of me to think I can shield my daughter from drugs, early sex, drinking and other lovely temptations. She will have the choice of doing these things and hopefully her good sense, fear, and desire to please will restrain her. But we can't be with our kids 24/7.

    daughter has never gone to a real party, and I'd never let her go if the parents weren't home or I didn't trust the parents. That's the best I can do. If I freak out, this kid will shut down. And that's never good.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something else I used to do that could help - I would read every book she reads, and then we would talk about the books together. When easy child was into Christopher Pike, I read them all. Same with "Babysitters Club". It also opened the door for me to say to her, "Try this book I'm reading, it's a bit like..." and name books I know she has read, that my book was similar to.

    A lot of books have these issues as part of their topic, so they open up discussion opportunities.

    I also have always liked to know what my kids are into, so I can have a bit of an idea of what they are heading for.

    Example - easy child 2/difficult child 2 was thoroughly into "Interview With The Vampire" and from there, a lot of similar stuff. So I read the Ann Rice books. Then we discussed them together. I could understand the fascination even though I didn't agree with them. I also used to pick holes in the logic - as a result, my kids have learnt to do the same. But you can still enjoy something even if you can see holes. It's called "suspension of belief".

  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Actually, spiking drinks has been around since we had drinks and dissolveable drugs. People were mixing chloral hydrate with drinks nearly a hundred years ago (called a "Mickey Finn" in the US)

    I nearly died at 18 from consuming a beer spiked with Quaalude (strong sedative and early AP that was used as a 'date rape' drug long before GHB and the like). Turns out that not only had I consumed an overdose, but I am hypersensitive to that type of drug.

    I used to mention my 'allergy' to medical personnel for many years but not only is the drug no longer in use, but younger care personnel have never heard of it. The older ones just give you a very strange look.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg :D N. doesn't read. She has never read a book for pleasure in her life. None of my kids are readers, even though I read and write obsessively. N. has Learning Disability (LD) problems associated with reading and it's not her idea of fun to even read a teen book.

    She does watch teen shows and has brought up some plots and we've discussed them. She's not an intellectual kid...she's an awesome athlete (just tried out for traveling basketball and made it) who is very social and "gets by" in school with Learning Disability (LD) resources. We will help her get through a two year college course when she is of age unless she gets recruited by a college for sports. Then they tend to help those kids pass.

    But when people mention "read" I kind of laugh. My biological son is the only child I have who EVER read books, and he doesn't really anymore. Nor does hub, unless it's about mechanics.

    It's just me. :tongue:
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Can you read to her? Perhaps the book of the film, kind of thing. Something she chooses. Another option we have discovered - we are getting audio books from various sources (including free online, although the quality of reading is highly variable) and loading them onto the iPod. We then often play these in the car on long car trips. Other times, too. We've managed to get (I think) ALL the episodes of "The Shadow" (complete with ads for 'blue coal') as well as other old radio shows. Our local library has some great audio books (such as Sherlock Holmes) and I'm currently listening to something I got from the library that you and N would both like - Terry Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic" read by Nigel Planer. It's fantasy satire, modern in origin but with a medieval feel. A young wizard has a small board sitting on his lap, with a miniature Stonehenge arranged on it - he calls it his "kneetop", he uses it to calculate things and do other wizardly, druidic things. I first read this book some years ago which got the entire family hooked into the rest of the series. The audio book has been a wonderful new treat. Nigel Planer does different character voices very well. There are other books - if you can get "Soul Music" in any form (it's also available as an animation series, about 6 half-hour episodes) again, N and you will both love it. It satirises music and the rock music industry. And Elvis. In a nice way.

    The aim is, to find something you can share together. With my girls I also watched various films and TV series interminably. I did quite like "The Craft" and "Interview With the Vampire" (as a film) but other stuff left me cold. We also successfully introduced our kids to our own classic favourites (such as "Arsenic & Old Lace") and this helped tem respect our recommendations.

    You do what you can, to maintain some areas of common ground, areas where you can be in accord. If you both like picnics then you go on picnics. If you both like family movie nights, then get the pyjamas on and bring on the popcorn.

    Whatever you do - try to have fun together.

  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We watch TV together sometimes. And she does talk to me. She isn't interested in books and would laugh at me if I tried to read to her...she really just isn't that kind of kid. We have lunches together and shop at times and things come up and it's best when she initiates it. We do have lots of mom/kid time because my son is so quiet and doesn't demand or want that much of my time.

    I thought it over and there is really no reason for me to talk to her about drugs again now...especially not a scolding. She knows how I feel. At this point in time, she is not involved in drugs. I don't want to turn her off so that she feels she can't tell me anything or I go ballistic.