Question for the PE group

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by firehorsewoman, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. I know, I know....I promised not to hang out here because doing so really scares the **** out of me but I feel like there is a lot to be learned from the true veterans here. I recently read the post written by a young adult difficult child struggling with addiction a and that really saddened and scared me.

    Reading that post reinforced my feeling that I have to start now trying to do everything possible in regards to prevention when it comes to my young difficult child and future drug/alcohol use. Even at this young age, I talk to him about the very serious dangers of using drugs and alcohol with the disorders that he has. He mentioned to me one day about a year ago that he "cannot wait to taste beer" and from that day forward I have consistently sent an age appropriate message to him that he is at especially high risk if he drinks or does drugs. My mother (his maternal grandmother) is a difficult child and has been a drug addict most of her life. So as the child of an addict perhaps I am hyper-reactive to this issue? I don't care. I feel like it is my duty to do whatever I can to protect difficult child (and his easy child sister) and a big part of that is arming them with information. I hope.

    Did any of you PE parents warn your kids about such risks when they were young difficult children and did it work for any of them? Did it help any of them stay away from drugs and alcohol? I know that nothing is fool proof and that my son will always be at especially high risk but I feel compelled to do whatever I can to prevent him going down the road of drugs and alcohol...being a clean difficult child is hard enough...those that are also addicted are really facing an uphill battle.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My two youngest adopted kids definitely have serious substance abuse in their genetics. Sonic was born to a drug addict and had cocaine in his body when he was born. Jumper's birthfather has spent his life in and out of jail due to what he does to get money for drugs. So both of them are at high risk. I have drummed this into their heads since they were young 'uns...that maybe their friends can experiment and be ok, but that they can't. Does this guarantee anything? No. Sonic is nineteen and has never had any interest in drinking and drugs and, since he is on the autism spectrum, he doesn't really "Hang out" much. His few friends are mostly just into videogames and staying But Jumper will be going away to college in a few years. She is totally straight now, but I don't know what will happen once she is away. I hope she heeds my warning.

    All you can do is talk to your child. If you do that, you have done your best. After a certain age, it is (scarily) up to them.
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, we were upfront with our daughters about husband's brother's alcoholism and warned them that there was a genetic component. The girls also participated in the DARE program at school.

    Despite all of that, difficult child became involved with drugs and is an alcoholic. easy child doesn't have any substance abuse issues. I am convinced it is in the hard wiring and difficult child got the short end of the stick.

  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child is adopted and we were very open with her about her risk of addiction because of her family history. It did not save her from the same fate. That doesn't mean I would do it any differently. I think it's important to talk to our kids about drugs/alcohol so they know what our values are and they have the facts and self confidence to avoid peer pressure.

  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi FHW,
    I really respect you for trying to be proactive. One thing I would recommend is that you also talk about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. It was always discussed along with drugs and alcohol at our house, but ironically, the first indication that my easy child son was turning into a difficult child was when he started sneaking cigarettes and hanging out with kids who smoked. That was when he was a freshman in HS. After that, he experimented with alcohol and pot, then went on to harder stuff from there. But cigarettes, believe it or not, was where he started - in the shallow end of the pool, so to speak.
    Another thing I remember in retrospect was that during our talks about the dangers of substance abuse was that he was always trying to find out if his dad smoked weed or drank. I'm a really shy, straight-laced person, so he never even asked me lol (ah, but still waters run deep!), but he was fascinated in a really persistent way. Both my kids are adopted by the way, and I can't figure out why he was fixated on whether Dad smoked pot way back in the '70s, except that if the answer was "yes" then maybe he'd have an excuse. I remember also he was obsessed with "That 70's Show" reruns on TV and the kids were always getting high and it was supposedly hilarious.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CJ very wise words! My difficult child also was very curious whether we ever smoked pot. We believe there are things that parents need to keep private between them. Whether we did or didn't smoke pot. she still needed to know the dangers of pot use and that the pot of the 70's is far different than the pot of today.

  7. thanks everyone for responding. Yes, CJ I have spoken to the kids about cigarettes but not as emphatically as I should lately. They are being raised so differently than I was. My mother smoked cigarettes (possibly weed as well?) through all of her pregnancies, smoked heavily around us all day long, both of my grandparents were heavy smokers, I grew up in a place that was very kids on the other hand did not even know what cigarettes are called and until a few years ago referred to them as "those smoke sticks."

    My kids have never met my mother. I have not had contact with her for over 16 years. They have sensed from a young age that something is very different and wrong with the situation because their father has two parents that he is very close to and sees virtually every day. They are super involved in my kid's lives. Me on the other hand have no parents to speak of. Haven't had contact with my father in about 30 years. Because they have asked me many times why this is ("Mommy why don't you have a mom and dad?") we have had the discussion about my mother having "problems" and more recently I have shared with them that part of her problems involve drugs. We will have more detailed conversations about that later. But for now they seem to associate drugs with "bad" people who have "problems" like their difficult child maternal grandmother that they will never meet. So, I doubt they will ever ask me if I have smoked pot etc. I probably won't get that warning sign.
    Lasted edited by : Jan 16, 2013
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We did talk with our difficult child not only about alcohol and drugs but also about gambling, because there seemed to be some very vague warning signs with him. And when he did hit his tweens and teens unfortunately poker and sport betting had become incredibly trendy and cool. There was absolutely no way getting through to him and I have even wondered if all the talk was counter productive. Teens, especially those with rebellious streak mile wide, don't take it well, when they are told they can not do something, ever. And especially if they feel they are set aside. That others can, but because you have this structural error in you that can not be removed, you never can even try.

    That is something you may want to keep in mind. It is relatively easy to make younger kid to believe something simply is off-limits for them. They will easily tell you they would never drink or smoke or try drugs. That makes you feel good as a parent, but unfortunately after they hit puberty that goes out of the window and strong warnings and talking a lot about something may even turn against itself. If I would have a re-try, I would probably go more with trying to influence the peer group they hang out with. The peer group influence, and what is considered cool, has so much more influence on teens than parental advises.

    Then again, with my difficult child I don't know if anything would had helped. Maybe having better peer relationships and less pressure trying to be cool. Or maybe not.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir made an excellent point. I think A LOT depends on the person's temperament. My oldest daughter was dreamy, creative and a non-conformist...and a risk taker. In spite of never seeing her dad or me even drinking and in spite our talks with her, she did drugs anyway. I don't think we could have stopped her. She had a rebel's personality...fortunately she also had common sense in there somewhere. She DID quit. But that was after trying almost everything...
    My younger daughter is sixteen and a little goofy, but she is very level-headed. To her cigarettes, drinking and drugs are not worth it. She likes sports and wants to stay healthy and also does not like being in trouble. She is not at all a risk taker and she tends to look down at teens who get into trouble.
    I would never say "don't try", but what a child does as a teen and older has a lot more to do with who her friends are and if he/she is a risktaker/rebel than what we tell them. JMO.
  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I started laughing when I read this question because I think nearly all of the parents I have encountered here are and always have been very involved, caring, proactive parents. If good parenting could have stopped the issues of our difficult children then I think very few of us would be on this board. I know we all made mistakes, but I believe nearly everyone here did everything within their power to give their difficult children a stable, positive upbringing. With most of these kids I think there is some faulty wiring- either mental health issues, addictive personalities, or maybe just DNA that predisposes them to problems. But I'm pretty sure most of us not only talked and talked and talked to our kids about this stuff, but did all kinds of early intervention to prevent it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying early intervention won't help, and who knows you may not face these problems at all. You have to educate them and provide them every opportunity to make the right decisions, what they end up doing is up to them.

  11. I never meant to imply that it was the parent's "fault" and that they parents here are not, involved, proactive etc.

    I just wanted to hear specifics about talks and outcomes.

    Glad that I made you laugh.

  12. I am in REAL trouble then. So, I might as well plan on drug and alcohol abuse then?
  13. I feel the need to clarify.

    I do not think that the problems we have with our difficult children young and old can be solved simplistically. If that were the case sticker charts would have worked years ago and I would not have found this place when difficult child was three years old.

    Perhaps the parents of that poster on the other thread did talk to him proactively? I never meant to imply that they did not. I know that we are up against hard-wiring and genetics and environment and peers and the media and a whole bunch of other challenges. I was just hoping that someone out there would give me a glimmer of hope that some of their proactive early parenting paid off.

    Geez, I really need to stop reading the PE posts. I feel like there is no hope when I read them. Then again, I remind myself how this forum self-selects. The happier endings are NOT hanging out and posting here.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh....there are happier endings posting here! Good lord, I can name 4 kids that were young teens on this board who everyone would have laid good money would have been in prison today. My son Cory, SLSH's son thank you, Suz's son Rob and Marcie Mac's son Danny. Not a one of them is in jail or prison today. At least not that I know of. I havent checked my voice All of those boys are doing pretty darned well by this boards standards. No they didnt go to Harvard. Cory gave me two beautiful girls and he is a great father. That may be his strong suit in life. He also loves us so much. thank you has turned himself around remarkably. He wouldnt even sit down in a classroom when he was young and now he is taking college classes to become a forensic psychologist! Rob is now married with a daughter of his own and was doing roofing but he was in a motorcycle accident. I am not sure if he is back working now or not. Danny is working for himself now with a computer business out in CA.

    These are success stories. All these boys were in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s or Department of Juvenile Justice. All were labeled with the alphabet soups and on medication. We worried endlessly. We were on this board endless hours.

    The reason the PE forum was formed was because that group of boys and girls aged into adulthood at around the same time. We all realized that talking about our older kids going to jail and doing drugs was scaring parents of kids who were very young. Its just not the same type of issues.
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you're already doing everything any of us have done along the way, you love them, you talk to them, you tell the truth, you guide and direct and teach and nurture and help and give them everything you've got so that they have all the tools necessary to survive and be successful and be happy. And then you let them go into their destiny and if that includes addiction, then you show up for that. None of us thought we would be on this board when our kids were young or in my case or others, when our kids are grown. But if we knew way back when, what did in fact happen, we couldn't have enjoyed those times back then with our kids. Which for some of us, were the very best times.

    You're right, being a difficult child is hard enough, and being an addicted difficult child is really tough, but right now, here in the present, your difficult child is simply a difficult child, not an addicted difficult child. He may never be an addicted difficult child, he may be one who avoids that fate entirely, you just don't know. Please don't worry now about that possible future, it may never happen. If it does, you are strong enough and you love him enough to make all the right choices if that should happen. And, I imagine you are doing everything possible and making all the right choices so that he knows or will know what all the risks are considering his genetics. That's the best you can do, the best any of us can do. And, perhaps, to stop reading the PE forum too...............(((HUGS))))
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I used to think that kids who did drugs just had parents who did not care. Now I know better. While parents can lower the risk by talking with their kids, my being involved in their lives, by enrolling them in positive activities, by living in lower-risk communities, etc, even the child with the best parents can still end up on drugs, if they are hard-wired for addiction, they will find the drugs.

    As Janet said, there are success stories on the board. They may not have achieved the dreams that we had for them but they are doing okay. Kanga is about to turn 18 -- she made it to adulthood without getting pregnant, without criminal charges and without a substance abuse problem. No one would have thought that was possible when she was 13.

    I've met several difficult children in real life who were horrid through their childhood and teens but are now successful adults.
  17. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I would try very hard to be proactive, but live in the present, the future will be here soon enough! Try not to worry about it!

    I have difficult child family members that have never used alcohol or drugs, but they are still adult difficult children lol!!! My son was a problem child from the start and he was in program after program from a very early age. He is a follower and will go along with whatever just to fit in. Add immaturity, low self esteem, and no dad involved to the picture and it's a hard start to life.

    in my opinion the drug use on TV shows is not helping us at all. Even the '70's' sitcom had drug use and made it look 'cool'.

    BUT I know plenty of difficult children that have overcome all obstacles and have a good life. Two are now ministers!
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No. Not necessarily. I was rebellious too, but I was afraid of drugs and alcohol and THAT kept me straight. It is just more likely that a risk taker who follows t he crowd will use drugs. It is not a guarantee. It is just more probable, but nothing is certain. Don't give up, please :)
  19. mrsammler

    mrsammler New Member

    I told all of my kids about my "drug period" in my life from 18-20, how it totally destroyed my academics in college and lost a huge academic scholarship, and how I had to do an enlistment in the army in order to get my life out of the ditch and get back into college, and I've made it very clear that smoking pot & taking other drugs was the source of my decline during that 2-year period. I think that this has had a real impression on them. I also think that them seeing the horror of their difficult child cousin's behavior, and what a wreck he's made of his life, and how it all seems to stem from his addiction to pot, has had a very powerful effect on them. I hate to say it, but sometimes having a difficult child in the family is the best possible tool by which to instruct one's kids not to go down that road. They all see his life and behavior and just recoil from it.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I started speaking with my kids from the time they asked what beer/wine/liquor was and if they could try it. They all accepted that it was for adults when they were little. WHen Wiz went on medications at age 7 I started talking about how they would react with drugs and alcohol and about our family history with alcohol. A short time later Wiz and J were sent wth my bro for an afternoon at the lake (my parents sent them - they were on vacation at my folks and I was flying home wth thank you that day) and he terrorized them and refused to let them put on sunscreen so they wound up with sunburns that needed doctor attn and J was almost hospitalized from the burn.

    I am sure Wiz has tried alcohol but he has not come home drunk and he actively refuses to spend time with anyone who is using drugs, even if it is taking their own rx medications to get high rather than as intended. He is honestly terrifed of what drugs would do to him. He loathes and abhors my brother and has seen over and over the awful things my bro has done while drinking and what bro's now exwife has done and is doing to my niece. Wiz considers my bro's exwife to be a waste of carbon and oxygen, "not worth the two bucks of carbon and water it takes to make her body" was his last description of her.

    in my opinion he is a success story so far. This is a college town and drugs and alcohol are EVERYWHERE and it would be extremely easy for him to purchase either. So far he has been very very responsible and we are very proud of that and of him.

    You are doing what you can do. It is ultimately a choice we all make over and over. I do think that the trauma and unhappiness that my bro's behavior and his exwife's behavior have caused have had a HUGE impact on Wiz' decisions.