Skateboarding/the skateboarder crowd

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by mrsammler, May 8, 2011.

  1. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    Just curious: how many of you (with male difficult children, since that's typically where this happens) have difficult children who are involved with "the skateboarder crowd"?

    I ask not to demonize skateboarding as an activity--it's obviously as innocuous as any other activity in empirical terms--but because I have seen a VERY high incidence of difficult child-ness among teen skateboarders. In the town where my difficult child family member lives, the skateboarding crowd is practically a magnet for difficult children--or maybe its social influence breeds difficult children? Not sure which, but the correlation is simply astounding. Wondering what others have seen regarding this.
    Lasted edited by : May 8, 2011
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Well I dont have a male difficult child however, there are many in my school and the skateboard park is blocks away. Several of our boarders have marijuana problems. 2 arrested at school for possession. (parents still in denial) When daughter was at residential, many of those kids I.D.ed with that crowd. One day when I was over at the park-I found a bag that had paraphenalia in it. I just think it would take an amazing kid to hang with this crowd and avoid the drug culture that is so much a part of it.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Son #1 was sponsored by a local store, and for years put everything he had into skating. In the last few years, he's really turned things around for himself, no longer believes he'll be the next Tony Hawk, and is now a journeyman electrician. However, the pot is still with him.

    Along with the dumb tricks (just check YouTube, I know both Son #1 and #2 are on there) and the "Jackass" boys seems to come the drugs and the drinking. Maybe to dull the pain of losing all the skin on one side of their bodies after tying a rope to the bumper of a car, and skateboarding behind it till you fall off?
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I was a skater chick in the 80s... But... All the skater boys I knew were in my church youth group. I don't remember any drug use, but I could have missed it.
  5. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I think the skateboarder social culture has changed dramatically since my teen years in the late 70s, when the skateboarder kids were often nice boys who had simply chosen this as a primary pastime but were good students, varsity athletes, college-bound, etc. Somewhere along the way since then it became the pot-smoking, druggie, rule- and law-breaker crowd. In my family difficult child's social crowd, with MANY kids with CD in it, it seems like fully 80% or more are just amoral, druggie punks. It's a real chicken or egg riddle: do the bad kids gravitate toward skateboarding, or does exposure to the bad kids in skateboarding breed more bad kids? I do charge skateboarding with drawing kids away from healthy and positively socializing activities like organized sports--that's not skateboarding's fault intrinsically (you could say the same about the graphic novel/comic book crowd, the bookish kids who stay home and read a lot, and so on), but it does seem to draw kids into the CD trough--or maybe just collect them in an identifiable social group. I don't know why, but it seems to be directly correlative to at least pot-smoking, and of course that routinely leads to other, worse misbehaviors.

    I know this: if either of my sons had ever fallen into the skateboarder crowd in their teen years, and I knew then what I know now, I would've been very concerned. And I had a skateboard and, while not fanatic about it, did enjoy skateboarding in junior high and occasionally in high school, before tennis took over as my primary recreational interest. But those were very different times.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is only my experience and I know there are different opinions but here's my story.

    Our city allowed a skate park to be built next to the library. Almost immediately it became a magnet for young people smoking and using very foul language. Within months it became a hang out for drug users/dealers, mostly mushrooms, ecstacy, pot. There were woods behind the park so it was a great place to hide. My difficult child began hanging out there the summer before high school because you could walk there from school and she was on the flag team and they had practice all summer. We tried to forbid her. She wouldn't listen. She began not coming home when it got dark (she had just turned 14). She got rides from boy much older than her, she began smoking, she hid from police when they rode by, she started smoking pot. We had the police bring her home on several occassions. She became violent at home and began running away.

    I talked to the school resource officer and juvenile detective and our mayor and councilman about having the skatepark closed. Some were in favor and some felt it kept the bad influences in one place and easier for police to watch them. I hated it and even wrote letters to the editor for our community newspaper. Of course she graduated on to bigger things and is now living in a sober house at the age of 19. Whoever thinks pot is not a gateway drug has only to hear the stories of these young women who are now hooked on other drugs to realize that's not true.

    Anyway that's my experience with skateparks.

    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sad to say...same true in our small community. Local parents who believed that their teens needed a "healthy" outlet for their energy managed to get a park constructed. Within six months most of those who went to the park were skaters and "users" primarily pot users. The term "skater dude" quickly became a negative label. Mind you, our teen was a droopy drawers drug user and alcoholic but he and his peers had no admiration for the "skater dudes". Makes sense?? Uh, no! I "think" that the "skater dudes" were and are maligned because they try to look All American while they break the law and it is more admired to look like a law breaker. As a parent...I can understand that seeing your clean cut kid head off with a skateboard probably makes you feel safer about their motives. I haven't heard of a "clean" skatepark. Sad. DDD
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    I think skateboarding is a good "cover" for some difficult children since the good boarding is "at the park" ie can't stay home and do it. I also think that as a real athletic activity, it is a magnet for other difficult children because it is a "socially acceptable" form of thrill seeking, unfortunately the thrill seeking difficult children will get sucked in with the cover difficult children and it's just not good.
    I laughed at this so loud because it's s true. Unfortunately in your case the location was HORRIBLE between a school and a library? In my town we have tons of parks. One is red and orange, and we drive by it frequently. The kids always asked if we gould go to the red park since it's the only one in town we never went to. Ah, NO. The last time they asked, I felt they (my DDs) were old enough for some reality, so I asked them if they've ever seen kids playing there? No. What kinds of ppl did they see there as we drove by? Mostly men, old teenagers to old men. They were cnfused and starting to understand the oddity of it. So I explained the whole drug thing, and it's not safe, and even if no one is there, we will NEVER go that park. And yeah, the cops like it because they always know where to start looking.
  9. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Hi, I haven't been on for a while, things are mostly ok but I had to weigh in on the skate crowd. My difficult child is an avid skateboarder and I would say it's been mostly a good thing. He skates because he can do it on his own time and in his own way and he IS NOT the kind of kid who functions well on a team. We have a skate park located 2 minutes from our home in a very small community and we've been to skate parks up and down the east coast. Our park is in the middle of a town park with lots of traffic and things going on. While it's not perfect, at any given moment there are adults going through to get to ball fields so that provides a lot of supervision. The best park we ever went to as far as safety goes was in the parking lot of the local police station (brilliant!) There's been a few spookey places where the parks are isolated and I've never felt good about him being there but most of the ones we've been to have been ok. There are some wonderful indoor parks in FL and in NH if anyone needs information you can PM me. I find the skater crowd to be interesting. I like the clothing choices (better than Goth LOL!) and they are usually very tolerant of the little ones who are just learning. Like anything else, it's really about individual experiences. Ours have been mostly good. I can understand though that some can be really unhealthy places. For me, it's those that are isloated. You isolate the kids and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  10. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I think it obviously varies from place to place and relies heavily upon how often adults are present there--the more adult presence, the less of a difficult child sinkhole it can become. Still, my late brother-in-law built a mini-skatepark in his spacious backyard to accommodate his budding difficult child's interest--a couple of big half-pipes brought in on 18-wheelers--and even with adults observing right there in the backyard, the tubes brought in all of the skateboard difficult child crowd and his son fell into their group and went down the tubes during teen years. I.e., best parental intentions (expensively accommodating a son's interest in an athletic activity) led the kid right into the worst teen crowd. You see something like that and it's hard not to blame the social culture of skateboarding itself, given how controlled and parent-observed the environment was. The lesson: it's not the park and what happens there--it's that the difficult children gravitate to skateboarding and find each other, and the social positive feedback loop kicks in. I am very wary of skateboarding as a primary social/athletic interest for teens because of this--if pot is a gateway drug (as it clearly is), skateboarding seems very much (to me) like a gateway social activity. YMMV, of course.