Along with the rest of the blogworld, I've been reeling this week with the news of the death of attachment parenting guru Katie Granju's son from a drug overdose and assault. And like lots of other moms, one of the things I've been doing is to try for the first time to talk to my eight-year-old son about drugs. Only--and I'm guessing I'm not the only one, right?--I have no idea how to go about it. I keep remembering the baffling time my dad burst into my room to tell me to never, EVER ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I was about nine at the time, and about as likely to ride a motorcycle as the space shuttle. It was good information, and good to know my dad's position on wearing helmets, but I'm not sure how useful it was as a preventative measure (although come to think of it, I never have ridden a motorcycle without a helmet. Or, uh, with one. But still!)
However, my son *is* going to be asked to do drugs, and probably way sooner than I'm willing to contemplate. I want to let him know where I stand, I want to keep the lines of communication open (this somehow suggests that we're on opposite sides of an enemy engagement, doesn't it?), and maybe most of all, I want to give him the tools he needs to resist addiction (one) and the worst of the risky behavior that he's likely to soon be experimenting with (two). It's a tall order, and not one that's going to be filled by bursting into his room and saying, "Drugs are bad! Don't ever do them!"
I don't really understand addiction, and what I do know suggests that parental love and good intentions aren't tremendously effective weapons against it. However, I do know a little about risky behavior and what compels teenagers to engage in it. More importantly, I know, or think I know, the factors that caused one teenager (me) to mostly pull through okay.