Most parents are super-tuned toward their children. The term “helicopter” parent is a recently coined term to describe the modern parent that hovers incessantly over little Johnny. We don’t miss a game or piano recital. We hire tutors and trainers as if their college entrance depends on it. We give them the best of everything and do our darndest to shelter them from the storm. We want them to have every advantage we can possibly provide. We spare no expense. We even monitor their whereabouts via our iphones and all kinda tracking apps to make sure they make it safely to their destinations. And there it is. There’s the why behind our worrying ways. We know the world is a terrifying place and we worry little Johnny isn’t ready for it.


So, we try and prepare the road for him. We’ve forgotten that virtue is built when we prepare the child for the road, not the other way around. We remain clueless. Did you know that about the only category American children are leading the world in is the one category where we wish they were lagging. While we line up their next tutor and arrange their next learning event, they are distressed, anxious, and overwhelmed by it all. So, they smoke. I mean they really smoke. In fact, our teenagers, according to research done by David Sheff in his book Clean, are making it no contest when it comes to drug consumption. By a large margin American teens are leading the way when it comes to drinking, smoking, inhaling, injecting, swallowing, snorting, and huffing all kinda shit to get high. Actually, their aim is simply to get by…


When parents are asked to rank the 16 reasons why they think their kids are getting high, we list “drugs are fun” as numero uno; teens, not so much. Teens rank “drugs are fun” as number 15 out of 16. Teens top three, you ask…


1. “Forget their troubles.” (32%)
2. “Deal with problems at home.” (24%)
3. “Cope with school pressure.” (20%)


We remain clueless. “Just say no,” did NOT work. DARE was an epic fail. Programs cannot replace a parent, over Sunday supper, asking their teens to open up. And, keep asking when the response is a grunt or a growl. And, keep asking when it’s a glare. And just say no to another event, another distraction, or another night on the road. We, as parents, can keep asking, keep asking, and keep asking. And, some evening, some afternoon there will be an opening. The prepared, available parent will have a chance, in fact, to prepare their child for the road. So, parent, when your MOT (moment of truth) arrives, be ready to prepare your son or daughter for the road ahead. Tell them some truth once they’ve been heard and understood. Tell them the road ahead is hard and filled with obstacles. Your job, remember, is to understand them and not coddle them. Your job is to tell them there will always be trouble you can’t simply forget. There are problems and they must learn to deal with ‘em. Life is filled with pressure and they’ve got to learn to enjoy the hard tests, not avoid them. Come clean with your child. Stop preparing the road for them, this does not work. Prepare them for the road. Model the way, parent. Embrace pain and suffering, parent. Embody truth in love, parent. Sucks to lead, I know. Lead them, anyway.


There are no easy answers. Talking truth over Sunday suppers, is a good start. Come clean. Good…

2 thoughts on “Clean…

  1. I believe that you and I are about the same age. When I was in my teens, I got caught up in the group of students who wanted to get high. I eventually got in trouble at school getting stoned on school property and was suspended for 2 weeks. As part of my being allowed back to school, it was mandated that I had to go see a psychologist as part of my rehabilitation. The psychologist had my parents come to one of the sessions and he made this very observation about parental pressure on teens. I vividly remember my father rejecting that idea and becoming angry that part of this blame was being laid at their feet. It was at that point that he called the guy a quack and said that he would not have me see him anymore and that ended any therapy counseling for me. To this day, I have a bit of disappointment that my parents had this view. Looking back now, I know that I had some issues that if dealt with at that point in my life would not have followed me into later life. I love my parents but that one action that they took had a direct impact upon my life.

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