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#121 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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My kids would laugh in your face if you described me as being their "friend", and I have said no plenty of times in my mothering career. If wishing made it so, I would be the greatest parent on the face of the earth! I used to pontificate on message boards about the "right" way to parent, because my children never did anything wrong. Then reality (in the form of two teenagers) hit me right between the eyes. My perfect daughter was out drinking about two weeks ago, (at least she didn't drive, thank God), and I know my son has been around drinking and drugs (I don't think he participated, but I certainly wouldn't swear to it). I did everything I thought needed to be done, and alcohol/drugs found us anyway.

Embers, I have no wonderful words of advice, but I wanted to offer a hug from someone who has walked in your shoes.
Many parents of teenagers and adult children would agree with you.
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#122 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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Smoking MJ now causes schizophrenia? : Please, do share this latest "research"!!



I'm always curious to hear why a person automatically assumes one's appeal to any substance, MJ or not, is due to some repressed need to drown emotional issues.

For me? I like it! That's it. I'm also fat and like food. No, I'm not an emotional eater, I just like the taste of food. That's it. Sometimes we create more problems by over analyzing. I love the smell of good herb. I like the taste of it, and even though you don't get "high" when you make tea, I still drink it. This, to me, is the difference between substance abuse, and substance USE. There is a difference. Not all teenagers are abusing substances. But as evidenced by the misinformation in this thread, one has to know enough about the substance to tell the difference.
It's been known for a long time that MJ users can become psychotic while using, the drug can also bring out mental illness already present. What some research is showing now is the there is increased incidence of schizophrenia in MJ users later in life. Here's one study discussing the link.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?ali...modsrc=reuters

As far as "drowning issues" in this particular situation there is a high likely hood of that happening.

I think it's great for those folks who truly follow a everything in moderation philosophy and teens who are capable of doing so is even better. If an adult chooses to alter their brain chemistry recreationally than go for the gold. A teen and/or younger child is a different scenario imo and it is not so cut and dried.

Back to the original topic, I think the OP has handled the situation beautifully and when my children hit their teen years, I only hope they feel comfortable enough to come to me with heavy duty questions.
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#123 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 01:22 AM
 
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Delurking to get all philosophical on y'all:

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It's been known for a long time that MJ users can become psychotic while using, the drug can also bring out mental illness already present. What some research is showing now is the there is increased incidence of schizophrenia in MJ users later in life. Here's one study discussing the link.
I'm not looking for an answer to this ('cause it's probably unanswerable). This is just something that studies like this always make me wonder:

Does using drugs make people more likely to have mental disorders or are people with mental disorders more likely to use drugs? It could easily be a bit of both or even neither.... Correlation /= Causation.

, Embers. My only concern with your way of handling this situation is your son's friend. IMO, you certainly haven't deserved the comments that some pp's have made

love and peace.

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#124 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 02:13 AM
 
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Does using drugs make people more likely to have mental disorders or are people with mental disorders more likely to use drugs? It could easily be a bit of both or even neither.... Correlation /= Causation.
Exactly. I think we could all put our own spin on such research in order to prove our point.

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#125 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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Delurking to get all philosophical on y'all:



I'm not looking for an answer to this ('cause it's probably unanswerable). This is just something that studies like this always make me wonder:

Does using drugs make people more likely to have mental disorders or are people with mental disorders more likely to use drugs? It could easily be a bit of both or even neither.... Correlation /= Causation.

, Embers. My only concern with your way of handling this situation is your son's friend. IMO, you certainly haven't deserved the comments that some pp's have made

love and peace.
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#126 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 08:05 AM
 
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embers, I think you are doing a great job communicating with your ds. I would be happy for any of my dc to spend time with yours.I would be worried tho about the other child, who probably is glad to have found people like you especially if,like you say his mom is not interested in what he is doing, just in case someone makes a phonecall u'know. I was pally with a lot of older folk as a teen and they were all good people, who some did drugs, but all knew what I was going through and talked sense to me.I smoked pot from age 13 and still do sometimes, unfortunately I've been a smoker of tobacco since age 9 and have to stop. It's very addictive, you can help your son to not fall down that trap,, now. Super-gluing your lungs to your ribs with tar is just wrong.I conquered alcohol tho and simply do not require it now. I was fostered at 6 and my foster mother did not have the skills or knowledge that embers has imo to deal with a teen growing up and experimenting. She booted me out after 10 years and I was expelled from school, tho was never found with any drugs on me, I was made an example of being the care kid who could be disposed of, other kids were actually doing drugs( not just mj) in school and none of them got booted out or made homeless. My foster mother had threatened to boot me out for years cos I wasn't what she wanted,I was turning out 'like my mother' who I'd never met, she wanted me to go to uni so she could be proud of her achievements to the neighbours. She couldn't 'cope' with me and I was blamed for everything cos I liked music, pierced my ears against her wishes( at age 12) wore clothes she didn't like( I had to sneak into those too) tried drink, pot and sex, like most other kids I knew. She spread word that I was a 'junkie'. Ironically she was addicted to sleeping pills from the docs and heavy tranqs, zombie drugs,(house full of bottles, none of which I ever touched!) she deteriorated over the years, was always winding me up, trying to bring me out of my shell( I was reserved and inner as a child but independant and could have made art school had I been supported) she was bad tempered, very drowsy, constantly irritable and irrational.
So she got rid of her real problem, me, and I was banned by social workers and education authority from getting to school or college, their exact words were ' you've made your bed, lie in it'. I was 15. I was constantly homeless after that, no money, and I'd been taken away from all my friends and a stable way of life after a rough start as a young child, I have serious rejection issues still and have been clinically depressed, I had no security and started binge-drinking heavily till blackout, mj was much kinder. I would hitch all over, getting lifts from 40 yr old men who would take advantage of me and I would get someplace to stay for a night.
My dc will never have to put up with that cos they tried something out, thrown on the scrapheap at 15 in thatchers britain was no fun, plenty cheap booze tho to keep you warm at night. I strive to communicate with my dc. My eldest dd is 15 and has a lot of personal freedom, she has drunk alcohol and she has drunk it once in our house with mates over while I was there. They didn't finish it and watched a dvd. Her mates are 17 and get into pubs.I have known some of her mates since they were 2 yrs old and care for them as I would my own. My dd has said that having a good communication has made trying stuff out not so taboo, even making actual substances less of an attraction in the first place,cos it's not forbidden,( not forbidden is not the same as condoning)she has been very good at telling me what she gets up to and I have had to learn that she will make choices that I would not make for her. At least we can talk and she knows her safety and well-being are paramount to me and hopefully to her.
I tell my dc I don't want them to drink, do drugs etc, not very thoughtful, but I don't cos I've seen and lived with the crap that is involved when misuse is evident, from other's too, being a victim of domestic violence for years from alcoholics. I've been a single mum for years now and we have a life. Moderation, knowledge and sensible approaches to any substance is vital whether it's alcohol, mj, drugs in general, chocolate, gambling, junk food, relationships etc. I would deffo dissuade my kids from tobacco, it's a killer, there are healthier ways to imbibe mj, brownies for ex. I can't fathom the approach that if the parent say's 'dont do it' the child will just follow, reality check. As for breaking laws erm, mj should be legal imo, alcohol is a far more destructive drug and misused on a far wider scale but hey it's legal so it's ok. To encourage your child to not get addicted to tobacco I suggest a healthy body and mind as something to take good care of and physical activities to maintain that, my dc see me smoking outside day and night and are desperate for me to stop as I am,especially as the thought of my dc having no-one if something happens to me is too much to bear so I have to break this. I will be keeping a good eye on my dc, now, and in the future to enable them to have healthy lives despite the peer pressure around to get into drugs and booze, not everybody can limit their use if they are going to try stuff but it's not impossible with some decent mentoring available and plenty support.
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#127 of 177 Old 08-20-2007, 02:09 PM
 
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I have heard of people that have schizophrenia, bi-polar, and a few other disorders having a sudden onset after smoking pot for a while. The pot did not create the disorders (they were already there), but it did uncover them for the user.

Though it may or may not affect this conversation, but my son is adopted. He has experienced some trauma in his life. He also shows many attributes of ADHD. It is possible that he could use pot as a way to process pain or to use as a crutch or something. Or it is possible that he could try it and just like getting giggly and stuff with his friends. He may like the calming effects. He may like that it gives him the munchies (he has a low appitite and it bothers him often, especially when he feels low energy and knows its because he should eat, but just does not FEEL like eating). He could self-medicate. He could become addicted. It could uncover schizophrenia. He could really like to just zone out on video games and read. He may not like it at all. It could give him a head ache. I do not know. I would like to keep no knowing, because I would like for him to not smoke pot.

I have not allowed him to become addicted to cigs nor have I let him play with drugs. I have had some really great conversations, I have lots a lot of sleep, I have asked for suggestions on how to do things differently, and I have not shut the door on any subject or possible way to handle it. Shame on me for not being a good parent : I am not being just a friend to my son. But I do not think that parents need to be unfriendly or unfriendlike. I think that the trend in our culture to justify being disconnected from our children by feeling like we are hurting them by also being their friend is really sad.



This makes sense to me. Even if he does still try pot, having other interests and activities is great, and the pot may be a passing fancy, but the martial arts and chess team may last well through his adulthood.

My son's interest with pot seems to be with "hippie culture", Oregon subculture, self-exploration, etc. "Trying on hats" about what kind of teen he is and want to be. My husband is getting our son together with some of the people through the SCA tonight that both do and do not smoke, for conversations on why, the ups and downs in their personal lives, how it has affected them, etc (especially since so many ARE that cool, self-exploring, active hippie type that DON'T smoke... and a few that do are the ones that would likely discourage it and talk about some of the realities - ie. use it for pain management, have tried to quit and can't, have been arrested, etc).

I have been talking to my son at length about the level of responsibility and things he needs to consider when thinking of experimenting with pot. There is so much more to it than spending $10 at the skatepark to some kid with pot and then grabbing a pop can. I have discussed the legal side, the ethical sides that I can see with buying it, getting other people involved, the risks in getting caught on the effect on the family, knowing where the pot is coming from, getting involved in a "scene", etc. Meanwhile, I am getting the boys involved with a peaceful anarchy group and Food not Bombs (for that "cool" hippie crowd through volunteering and service work in a public place). I want to get them into a bike repair and riding group, rock climbing, concerts and music with a focus on learning to PLAY music, too (we wrote on several instruments last night on Craigslist), etc. They are also starting to show an interest in martial arts - something that I intend to support completely and enthusiastically. Unlike some of the posters on MDC, I am not anti-exploration... especially in a thoughtful and academic way (which is what it is right now). This can be a wonderful time in a teen's life; it seems like our culture is scared of our older children and sees teens (especially boys) as "bad". I, on the other hand, am just glad that the kids have allowed me to be part of this process (as opposed to thinking they are skating and drinking soda and get a call from the police because some older kids was pulled over, my kids were with them, and they are drinking and smoking).
I was hoping on to say something similar to what had already been posted, I JUST got through all of the posts *PHEW*.

It could take eons to comment on other posts so I'm directing my reply at the OP. My own DD has just turned 12 and despite her vast maturity in some areas, she's still very young and naive in others. She's going from an elementary school this year to junior high next year so I imagine these same conversations will come up in our family in the not so distant future - but we have yet to deal with them so I am by no means an expert.

I had great parents, some areas could definitely have used some tweaking but on the whole I grew up very respected, valued and listened to. My parents made their views on smoking, drinking, drugs well known to us (I have a sis). Their take on things (and now mine) is that we were sooooo valued, sooooo special that they didn't want us to make decisions and choices that would de-value ourselves or our bodies - to think bigger and further than to do things for immediate gratification (which most of us agree is common with teens).

13 seems REALLY young to me to be experimenting (especially with parental consent), although admittedly common at that age at this time, it wasn't common for my own group of friends growing up. I think children tend to gravitate to friends based on a number of factors, including having parents with similar parenting views (ie. my friends all had similar curfews, parents who valued higher education, encouraged community involvement, supported extra curricular activities, etc). In my own experience, it was during times where I was struggling to find my place in life that experimenting with drugs, smoking, alcohol, or sex seemed much more appealing and it was during times when I was involved and passionate about something (music, sports, yoga/meditation, politics etc.) that the urge to experiment was no where to be found. I believe that helping your kids find things they're good at and passionate about is key to helping them thrive in their teen years.

While my parents were people I trusted to love me unconditionally, I did see them as my 'guides' and respected and valued their opinions. I was a pleaser, not because they expected it of me, but because I saw myself through their eyes - a girl who could be and do anything, was funny and intelligent and talented and special and I wanted success and happiness for myself as much as they wanted it for me. It seems to me that your son also values his relationship with you and may perhaps be looking for guidance from you so I can understand how difficult finding the right course of action is - it's obvious you don't want to disturb what is an open and trusting relationship. I just wanted to demonstrate that setting boundaries or having expectations doesn't necessarily throw off the balance of an already strong relationship.

I'm not naive, I KNOW I'll likely deal with these issues with my DD at a younger age than I myself dealt with them. I have discussed most of these issues with my DD already in order to foster open discussion and while I don't 'tell' her what to do, I do share experiences and fears with her. At 13 (a year from now) I don't expect I'll feel any less responsible for her well-being and I feel very strongly that I need to guide her through the common struggling points in her teenage years. I'll be very curious to hear what comes of the dialogue with your son and what decisions you make.
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#128 of 177 Old 08-22-2007, 08:42 AM
 
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Irish - Great post! I agree with everything you said.

I've been thinking a lot about this thread and thanks to the OP for giving me a lot to think about. I realized that these issues are going to come up earlier than I realized (I think the statistic is that most kids have been offered pot by age 12?)and its good to be prepared ahead of time. My conclusion after thinking about it is that if something like this happened when my kids were 16 or 17, I could see approaching it like the OP did. However, at 12 or 13, experimenting with drugs isn't allowed. (if I had to go to the extreme of constant supervision, I would) I agree with Irish that possibly a more effective way to do that is surround myself with other parents who have the same values. (which makes me seriously rethink some of the friends I have now who smoke pot themselves and will possibly condone it when their kids do!) I also agree that if a kid that young wants to do drugs he/she is likely feeling lost and need to get involved in some activities that inspires them and boosts self esteem. I know my own "experimentation" at 15 started out of feeling lost/bored.

I read in a parenting book that as teens, kids actually need more parental involvement then they did at 9 or 10 and typically its a time where parents are letting them go even more. It made the point that is probably safer to leave a 9 year old alone for a weekend than a 14 year old! It advised parents to prepare to put other things aside during this time (much the way we do when they are toddlers) so we can give them more attention and guidance during this time.

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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#129 of 177 Old 08-22-2007, 12:59 PM
 
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13 doesn't seem that young to me. I was in 5th grade the first time I smoked MJ. How old was I, 10 or 11? That was 27 years ago. So, if kids are exposed to illicit drugs at an earlier age now, I'd suspect they're being offered in elementary school, not junior high. Most of the people I knew were doing it. I have a brother 3 years older then me who, for whatever reason, fell into the druggie crowd. He and his friends had a lot of influence on me. So, yes, a lot of it had to do with the people I knew. There were plenty of kids my age and my brother's age who did not and had not ever used drugs. I could go on and on with speculation of why we ended up with the group we did. That doesn't really matter now. The fact is that the drugs were there for us if we wanted them at a very young age. So, thinking your child won't be exposed until 12 or 13 or later is being a bit naive, I think. IMO, there should be an ongoing dialogue about illicit drugs and other risky behaviors starting at a much younger age.

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#130 of 177 Old 08-22-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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13 doesn't seem that young to me. I was in 5th grade the first time I smoked MJ. How old was I, 10 or 11? That was 27 years ago. So, if kids are exposed to illicit drugs at an earlier age now, I'd suspect they're being offered in elementary school, not junior high. Most of the people I knew were doing it. I have a brother 3 years older then me who, for whatever reason, fell into the druggie crowd. He and his friends had a lot of influence on me. So, yes, a lot of it had to do with the people I knew. There were plenty of kids my age and my brother's age who did not and had not ever used drugs. I could go on and on with speculation of why we ended up with the group we did. That doesn't really matter now. The fact is that the drugs were there for us if we wanted them at a very young age. So, thinking your child won't be exposed until 12 or 13 or later is being a bit naive, I think. IMO, there should be an ongoing dialogue about illicit drugs and other risky behaviors starting at a much younger age.
I DO know my twelve year old well enough to know that drugs just haven't been an issue yet (and we have had an open dialogue about many such topics, including mj). She doesn't have older siblings and I know all her friends and friends families very well - at 12 they're still playing with dolls and sidewalk chalk (albeit on the down low). This proves my theory that not only does it have to do with childrens own personalities but also on their favored influences (friends, family etc).
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#131 of 177 Old 08-22-2007, 08:58 PM
 
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Hehe playing with dolls and chalk on the down low

I'm glad it hasn't become an issue yet. My point was that it is around whether it's an issue or not. I think if you talk to anyone involved in any of those drug education programs they'll say dialogue needs to begin in elementary school. The DARE program is focused on that age. The reason for that is because the drugs are there and available and most kids no about them, whether they're an issue for the kids or not.

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#132 of 177 Old 08-22-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Hehe playing with dolls and chalk on the down low

I'm glad it hasn't become an issue yet. My point was that it is around whether it's an issue or not. I think if you talk to anyone involved in any of those drug education programs they'll say dialogue needs to begin in elementary school. The DARE program is focused on that age. The reason for that is because the drugs are there and available and most kids no about them, whether they're an issue for the kids or not.
The DARE program made my kids want to try drugs!
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#133 of 177 Old 08-24-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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I have heard of people that have schizophrenia, bi-polar, and a few other disorders having a sudden onset after smoking pot for a while. The pot did not create the disorders (they were already there), but it did uncover them for the user.

Though it may or may not affect this conversation, but my son is adopted. He has experienced some trauma in his life. He also shows many attributes of ADHD. It is possible that he could use pot as a way to process pain or to use as a crutch or something. Or it is possible that he could try it and just like getting giggly and stuff with his friends. He may like the calming effects. He may like that it gives him the munchies (he has a low appitite and it bothers him often, especially when he feels low energy and knows its because he should eat, but just does not FEEL like eating). He could self-medicate. He could become addicted. It could uncover schizophrenia. He could really like to just zone out on video games and read. He may not like it at all. It could give him a head ache. I do not know. I would like to keep no knowing, because I would like for him to not smoke pot.

I have not allowed him to become addicted to cigs nor have I let him play with drugs. I have had some really great conversations, I have lots a lot of sleep, I have asked for suggestions on how to do things differently, and I have not shut the door on any subject or possible way to handle it. Shame on me for not being a good parent : I am not being just a friend to my son. But I do not think that parents need to be unfriendly or unfriendlike. I think that the trend in our culture to justify being disconnected from our children by feeling like we are hurting them by also being their friend is really sad.



This makes sense to me. Even if he does still try pot, having other interests and activities is great, and the pot may be a passing fancy, but the martial arts and chess team may last well through his adulthood.

My son's interest with pot seems to be with "hippie culture", Oregon subculture, self-exploration, etc. "Trying on hats" about what kind of teen he is and want to be. My husband is getting our son together with some of the people through the SCA tonight that both do and do not smoke, for conversations on why, the ups and downs in their personal lives, how it has affected them, etc (especially since so many ARE that cool, self-exploring, active hippie type that DON'T smoke... and a few that do are the ones that would likely discourage it and talk about some of the realities - ie. use it for pain management, have tried to quit and can't, have been arrested, etc).

I have been talking to my son at length about the level of responsibility and things he needs to consider when thinking of experimenting with pot. There is so much more to it than spending $10 at the skatepark to some kid with pot and then grabbing a pop can. I have discussed the legal side, the ethical sides that I can see with buying it, getting other people involved, the risks in getting caught on the effect on the family, knowing where the pot is coming from, getting involved in a "scene", etc. Meanwhile, I am getting the boys involved with a peaceful anarchy group and Food not Bombs (for that "cool" hippie crowd through volunteering and service work in a public place). I want to get them into a bike repair and riding group, rock climbing, concerts and music with a focus on learning to PLAY music, too (we wrote on several instruments last night on Craigslist), etc. They are also starting to show an interest in martial arts - something that I intend to support completely and enthusiastically. Unlike some of the posters on MDC, I am not anti-exploration... especially in a thoughtful and academic way (which is what it is right now). This can be a wonderful time in a teen's life; it seems like our culture is scared of our older children and sees teens (especially boys) as "bad". I, on the other hand, am just glad that the kids have allowed me to be part of this process (as opposed to thinking they are skating and drinking soda and get a call from the police because some older kids was pulled over, my kids were with them, and they are drinking and smoking).
I'm glad you brought this up because I was going to. Kids are going to model their parents. You son is exposed to the counter-culture and views this as something cool. It's up to you now to show him that it isn't. If you really don't want him to partake, you have to hold firm to that belief.
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#134 of 177 Old 08-24-2007, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, then you and I DISAGREE on this... or at least the approach. See, I think that a lot of "counter culture" IS cool. I do not think that it is up to me to show him that it is not cool, because it IS cool. It is wonderfully cool... but there is a lot of things bunched into "counter culture" that is dangerous, undesirable, and deadly. It is up to me to help direct his interests, not to tell him that they are not cool. Introducing him to Buddhism, into some social conscious and volunteer-focused hippie culture, getting him into music and performance, etc are all ideas on how to help him direct his interests in a way that is healthy, exciting, and "good"; and hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls of "pretend" realities (including drug use).

If it were all about modeling, he would have no interest in pot. He would have no interest in large new social situations. He would likely aspire to being a stay at home mom that vacuums a lot and sits on the computer for fun. I have not modeled pot interest, hippie culture, etc.... but I have not villanized his INTEREST in it, either. He is exposed to counter culture daily due to living in Oregon, but so much of that counter culture is beautiful and enriching. My goal is to help him direct his interests in those areas, while avoiding and the drug allure.

Kids do model their parents to a certain degree, but kids (like all people... yep, kids ARE people) are individuals with free minds, their own reasons, and their own interests. Your statement is painfully narrow, I think, because it takes away the possibility for individuality. Sure, modeling is the BIGGEST part of parenting and possibly has the largest effect (especially long term) on the most fundamental aspects of discovering and inventing "self". But modeling can only go so far, as it is very human to want to strike out, seek out, and experiment. My goal is to be PART of that process and help give wisdom, insight, direction, and help.

If you actually feel that holding to the belief that counter culture is not cool, why are you posting on Mothering? This forum is very counter culture as far as parenting is concerned.
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#135 of 177 Old 08-24-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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yeah this is the crux I think, so many people want to just shrug off, demonize, avoid, put down our whole culture of hippiedom or whatever that, that just cannot be right. We have soo much to be thankful for, soooo much. Music, art,film,theatre, etc. It's like if we celebrate anything that may be, however, in some way drug-related, I'm sure led zep were wasted, the stones?, van gogh? was he not an alcoholic? it's not like celebrating the fact that they used and abused substances, more like their talents and inspirations grew despite and possibly sometimes with those influences as well as other influences of course. It's like we are the people your parents told you to avoid. Mainstream culture is imo so boring, also negative and it's no wonder many, many people choose to divert from that. There is so much more to indulge in in this life than 'ending up' seriously addicted to drugs, drink, but imo the very straightness of mainstream society actually pushes people in the very direction it seems hell-bent on avoiding. And the lack therein of any positive subcultures can end up forcing people to rely on possibly destructive sources to get by in life.
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#136 of 177 Old 08-24-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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You [sic] son is exposed to the counter-culture and views this as something cool. It's up to you now to show him that it isn't.
IMO, setting oneself apart from the masses, whether through the experience of counter culture or otherwise is not inherently negative. I would hope the poster meant to say parents would do well to guide teens navigating counter culture. Teens, especially those raised to be open to people and experiences, are not likely to buy into painting counter culture with a broad stroke - good or bad.

One clear message in our parenting has always been that "different" can be good, great. Strides and change don't come from the center of society, they comes from the fringe - no? Isn't it those who color outside lines that create art? Isn't it those who think outside the box that invent? Isn't it those who step ahead of the pack who lead? The key, I think, is to encouraging our children to take what works, explore what seems interesting, and pass on what's known to harm or doesn't appeal.

I'm in awe of what sets my 19 y.o. apart from the mainstream. I certainly proud when she does well in here core curriculum at college and reward her performance with praise and, sometimes, tangibles. But, I'm rendered completely speechless when I see her art work and
her fashion designs, and when I read her stories. In her art, her clothes and stories, I see my 19 y.o. defined apart from the multitude.

Different - counter - odd - fringe ... these can be sweet words. KWIM?
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#137 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 01:17 AM
 
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Sometimes kids model the behaviour of adults whom they admire and sometimes they listen best to the adults who have actually BTDT.

My favourite aunt smoked cigarettes (she recently died from an asthma attack) and the whole time I was growing up and following her whenever she went outside for a cigarette, she told me NEVER EVER EVER to try even ONE cigarette because I didn't want to end up like her and not be able to quit.

My parents had talked to me about cigarettes before, but honestly, they'd never tried cigarettes so I didn't give them much credit. I considered that my aunt, since she actually had firsthand experience with what she was teaching me, knew what she was talking about and it's because of HER, not because of my parents, that (although I have tried other drugs) I have never taken a single puff of a cigarette.

I'm sure my parents were concerned about me seeing her smoking so much, and they even told me that on at least one occasion. I told my mom fairly recently that going out with my aunt on her smoke breaks was probably the deciding factor in my decision NEVER to try tobacco.

OP - I think it's awesome to take your son to see reliable folks who used to (or even still do) use drugs and have them talk to him about it. Them telling him to wait until college to experiment (until his brain is more developed) or to not try certain drugs because they truly are horribly dangerous will probably carry more weight with him than someone who's never used drugs or who didn't experience many for very long because these folks KNOW what they're talking about firsthand instead of getting it from some textbook or government propaganda.

Does that make sense?

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#138 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 09:30 AM
 
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embers,
I do not define myself as belonging to any one "group." I am not what you would consider counter-culture, though I do agree that some of the aspects are "cool". I do agree that some of the aspects are not, as you said. (I don't really think we disagree on that) :

However, you need to define within your family what you will accept. He is still a child and you do have the responsibility of protecting him as much as you can. Of course we cannot protect or shelter them from everything, but if you truly do believe that MJ use is OK, it will be a lot harder for you to enforce it.

You originally asked us if we thought you were doing the right thing.

As far as why I am posting here, well, I began reading Mothering magazine when my boys were little and I liked it for its differing opinions on parenting topics. I felt drawn to this community. I may not have followed the "trend" here to the T, but like anything else, I picked and chose aspects from Mothering and applied them to our lives. Just because I don't look like a "crunchy granola" , don't homeschool my kids and didn't "wear my baby" doesn't mean I can't post here. Actually, I find the signature lines (I didn't circ! or anti-vax, extended breastfeeding) kind of amusing. Who cares?
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#139 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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I had to go back to the beginning to remember what this thread was originally about. I wanted to comment on allowing other people's children to smoke at your home. I posted before that my 16yo smokes and I do "allow" him and his friends to smoke outside my home. I don't chase them off with a broomstick. I don't allow them to smoke in my home because of the health of the rest of us. I recently found out that a mom of one of his friend does allow my ds to smoke in her house. I understand her reasoning. She smokes so, like has been said here many times, she can't really tell them that they can't. Having them smoke in the house doesn't change or affect her home life at all. I didn't and won't freak out over it but that doesn't mean I like it. Maybe that's because I knew he smoked cigs already. If I didn't know he was smoking at all, maybe I'd be more upset.

I also wanted to comment on MJ leading to other drugs. I am not hardcore against MJ. I really don't care whether other people use it or not (although I would not knowingly leave my children with someone who had been smoking it). I don't think it's evil. I do think it is mind-altering and, therefore, put it in the same category as alcohol in that respect. I and most of the kids I knew growing up smoked MJ first. We all, every single one of us, moved on to other, harder drugs. Some of us got over it and moved on. Some of us became full blown addicts and got into lots of trouble. I'm not saying that everyone who ever experiments with MJ is going to use other drugs but I am saying that it is a gateway. If one is willing to try MJ, one is probably more willing to try other drugs as well. KWIM?

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#140 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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I also wanted to comment on MJ leading to other drugs. I am not hardcore against MJ. I really don't care whether other people use it or not (although I would not knowingly leave my children with someone who had been smoking it). I don't think it's evil. I do think it is mind-altering and, therefore, put it in the same category as alcohol in that respect. I and most of the kids I knew growing up smoked MJ first. We all, every single one of us, moved on to other, harder drugs. Some of us got over it and moved on. Some of us became full blown addicts and got into lots of trouble. I'm not saying that everyone who ever experiments with MJ is going to use other drugs but I am saying that it is a gateway. If one is willing to try MJ, one is probably more willing to try other drugs as well. KWIM?
Did you and the other kids who smoked MJ and went on to harder drugs try MJ first or did you try alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine first? I have yet to meet a single person who actually tried MJ *first* before any other drugs. I, myself, tried caffeine and alcohol first. I never tried tobacco because of my aunt's warnings, but almost everyone I know who tried MJ had smoked cigarettes first. They were legal and it introduced them to the smoking method of administering drugs.

So how can MJ be called a gateway drug when others have been used first and quite possibly led to the MJ use in the first place? Well...

When cannabis was first criminalised in the US, Harry Anslinger (the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who pretty much single-handedly ensured the prohibition of cannabis) denied vehemently that "marihuana" was a gateway drug. A couple of decades later and he claimed that it was One theory is that it is only a gateway drug because it is illegal and therefore introduces the user to a black-market drug seller. That would explain why it wasn't considered a gateway drug when it was legal, but was after it was made illegal. I don't see how it could be something inherent in the drug that predisposes people to trying other drugs or the connection would have been made regardless of legal status.

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#141 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 08:37 PM
 
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Ad for the comment "what are you going to do when your 13 year old wants to explore crack?"... This just seems so far fetched to me. Some of my largest fears as a parent (especially to a sensory-seeking "balls-to-the-walls" explorer like my oldest) is that my child would become addicted to hard drugs or get involved in a "scene" that would hurt or kill. I have tried to design a family dynamic that would allow for intervention BEFORE things went so far, because we are all connected and collected and communicate openly.
I've read the thread from beginning to end, and I am really curious about this part. What kind of intervention would you design, Embers? Right here is the point before (or immediately after) things have gone too far. You have a history of addiction in your family that you've tried to explain to the boys, yet one is already smoking. It is really hard to keep a blind eye and a watchful one at the same time. What is dangerous becomes harder to see when you're already thick in the middle of it and on the slope.
I don't understand why exploring crack would be so far fetched. It's another step. Your family history says that you don't know how far this is going to go.

I definitely believe in keeping open communication and giving our kids information, but there has to be a firm, family boundary that keeps everyone safe and respected. You are not respecting your children. Not at this point. You are letting them do something illegal that if caught, will break up the family as CPS intervenes. You are letting them harm their bodies in a way where the damage may never be undone.
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#142 of 177 Old 08-25-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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I'm certainly no experts on drugs in general or MJ specifically. I can only comment on my own experiences. I don't know what, if any, other substances the other kids I knew tried first. I honestly don't remember if I had had any caffiene before trying MJ. I was very young, only 10 years old. Sodas and iced tea were not around in my house and I don't know when I first had either one. I do remember that I didn't try coffee until I was in high school. I started drinking alcohol around the same time as trying MJ and I can't say which one came first for me. I had tried cigs much younger and was what I'd consider a regular smoker by the time I was 10, buying my own when I could. When I was partying with my friends after trying MJ for the first time there was only MJ and alcohol available until I was a much older teen, as far as I was aware. I can say that the feeling that I got from MJ was much different and much more intense than the feeling I got from from nicotine or caffiene. I would not put those in the same class as MJ. Nicotine and caffiene do not affect motor skills, judgement and reasoning the way that MJ does, at least not for me. We could, if we wanted, classify everything that we ingest and inhale as a drug since the broadest definition is any substance that causes a chemical reaction in the body. Water does that.

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#143 of 177 Old 08-26-2007, 03:57 AM
 
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I'm about to get a tad long-winded and I apologize, but it is so important for parents to learn the truth about drugs as much as possible so we can accurately prepare our children for these issues.

http://www.drugwatch.org/Alcohol%20&...ay%20Drugs.htm

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Dr. John Slade reported at the 1989 National Conference on Nicotine Dependence in San Diego, California, that tobacco smoking teaches drug acquisition skills to the youth. He said, "For the most part, they're illegal for kids to buy. In addition, kids who smoke get firsthand experience in using a substance to adjust emotional states." Slade reports that tobacco use teaches drug-taking skills and that tobacco use promotes an attitude that fosters other drug taking behaviors.

Compounding the problem is the relative ease with which youth can access alcohol and tobacco. Both drugs are widely available, inexpensive and heavily marketed, making them especially attractive to youth, who are the most price-sensitive consumer age group.
Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding your post in any way:

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I'm certainly no experts on drugs in general or MJ specifically. I can only comment on my own experiences......
......I had tried cigs much younger and was what I'd consider a regular smoker by the time I was 10, buying my own when I could. When I was partying with my friends after trying MJ for the first time there was only MJ and alcohol available until I was a much older teen, as far as I was aware. I can say that the feeling that I got from MJ was much different and much more intense than the feeling I got from from nicotine or caffiene. I would not put those in the same class as MJ. Nicotine and caffiene do not affect motor skills, judgement and reasoning the way that MJ does, at least not for me. We could, if we wanted, classify everything that we ingest and inhale as a drug since the broadest definition is any substance that causes a chemical reaction in the body. Water does that.
I'm not seeing anywhere in your experiences, as you have related them here, that MJ was a gateway to using other drugs. Even folks who use legalistic terms to define "drugs" admit that tobacco is one and you tried that well before MJ. Regardless of how it made you feel, nicotine is a potent and addictive drug that alters the way your brain works.

Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine have all been illegal before in different places and times in history because of their addictive and mind-altering properties. All have been used specifically *for* their mind-altering effects. I have friends who seriously abused Mountain Dew during college so they could cram for exams and party all night between exams. I've been quite high and incoherent on caffeine before, myself... working at Starbucks and having to taste all the different types of drinks in two days will do that, I guess... I don't use caffeine often and apparently it affects me a lot when I do.

Also I'm curious (and amused and joking a bit here to hopefully lighten the mood . You seem to be saying that, by your definition, water could be the real gateway drug? Dh considers that breastmilk is much more likely to be the gateway drug by your definition And since light causes chemical reactions in our eyes then we're on drugs all the time! (that last bit was from dh as well : he's a nerd )

I couldn't find your definition anywhere though...

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?drug
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Main Entry: drug
Pronunciation: 'dr&ug
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English drogge
1 a obsolete : a substance used in dyeing or chemical operations b : a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication c according to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (1) : a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary (2) : a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease (3) : a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body (4) : a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device
2 : a commodity that is not salable or for which there is no demand -- used in the phrase drug on the market
3 : something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness
I'm not continuing this to get into an argument or to belittle anyone's experiences. I just hate to see MJ take all the blame for being a "gateway drug" when the majority of people who go on to use hard drugs (or even MJ itself!) used tobacco or alcohol first. This is important information that tends to get lost in the "OMG, MJ is a gateway drug and is illegal and horrible and evil" shpiel that gets brought into these discussions.

I have a friend who is a heroin junky *because* she was told that MJ was terrible and horrible and "just as bad as heroin" (which I'm certain none of you will tell your children 'cause that's obviously a lie). Some of her friends tried MJ and she saw that nothing terrible happened to them so she tried it too. At that point she'd been smoking cigarettes and drinking for several years (her father was an alcoholic - AND a cop...).

Nothing terrible happened to her when she tried MJ. She then assumed that since she'd been lied to about MJ then everything she was told about all the harder drugs must have been a lie as well. So she went on to try everything else too. You could say that MJ was her gateway to harder drugs since she probably would never have tried harder drugs had she not tried MJ. However, she would also have not tried the harder drugs had she tried MJ, but been told the TRUTH about MJ vs heroin/cocaine/crack/etc.

This is just one of the reasons why I think knowing the truth, as parents, is so important. My friend is partly the reason why I studied up on this so much. I don't want my children (or anyone else's either) to end up like her due to lack of knowledge... It's a terribly hard issue It's a fascinating one to study in-depth also

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#144 of 177 Old 08-26-2007, 09:31 AM
 
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This is a great thread.

Well, here's my experience on it. I came from a hardcore, Bible thumping thou shalt not family. I got heavily into mj and alcohol as a form of escape. I was also smoking a pack a day before I fell pregnant with my son at age 22. I've had addictive issues my entire life, which thankfully I'm over.

My DH came from a family that is very anti-drug, adamently so, but they do drink. DH has never touched anything illegal (I think the issue is primarily that it's "wrong" due to its legal status), and I suspect neither has his older brother. His younger brother is a bit of an experimenter, don't know exactly what he's been up to, though. He's smart enough to keep it under control.

However, a kid that I grew up with was allowed to smoke pot early on and quickly became addicted. He was a heavy tobacco smoker as well. It was to the point that he was showing up for school every day toasted.

I think that there are a lot of factors in who will and who won't become addicted, both social and biological. And I see no problems in saying, "Hey, I know that its intriguing but *we* don't do that for these reasons." You wouldn't allow him to hurt someone else, why allow the potential for life long self harm? Also, as it has been said, you are very vulnerable to getting in trouble with the authorities. If you put your foot down he may sneak around, yes. But if he gets caught, then at least then *you* won't be an accessory to it, rather just another mom whose kid is smoking pot in a parking lot. Not nearly as big of a deal as a mom who allows it. I suspect, too, that he's searching for his boundary. I think that putting the stop sign up at pot is a good place. It doesn't need to go any further than that.

I completely hear where you're coming from, its just that sometimes we have to let go of part of our ideology and just do everything possible to keep our kids safe, even if we have to channel Stalin in the process.

I'm sooo not looking forward to having this conversation with my own boy in 10 years or so... Good luck to you.
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#145 of 177 Old 08-26-2007, 09:34 AM
 
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Just wanted to add a disclaimer. I *know* that mj itself is not an addictive substance, but people can be addicted to the escape it produces. Plus there are those who can be addicted to cough drops, depending on their personalities.

I say legalize the stuff and tax the heck out of it, just keep it out of the kids' hands.
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#146 of 177 Old 08-26-2007, 01:02 PM
 
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Before I start I want to say that I am leaving for vacation for a week today so this will probably be my last post on this thread but that doesn't mean I've run off. I don't want anyone to think this is a hit and run post.

Let's see if I can hit on everything. This may be kind of jumbled and random. I do not think that MJ is evil but I also don't think it's as benign as some people seem to want to make it out to be (unless I am misinterpreting). I totally agree that alcohol, caffiene and nicotine are all drugs. I also agree that tabacco is probably a much more dangerous drug than MJ (although, again I'm not an expert on either so I don't really know how they both work in the body). Tabacco is so adulterated today. Who knows how it would be in comparison to MJ if they were both in their original, natural forms? Maybe tobacco was the gateway for me to MJ (a stronger substance?) and then on to other things? I don't really know. I can tell you that I did not consciously think, "Wow! Tobacco made me feel like this but it wasn't enough. I want to try something more intense." However, once I tried MJ I did think that and I purposefully sought out other illicit drugs.

Based on my first hand experience with caffiene, nicotine and MJ, I can say this about me. Nicotine was probably the most addictive, physically, followed by caffiene. I did not like MJ so I didn't use it much. I have no first hand knowledge of the addictive powers, physical or psychological, that MJ may have. I have known plenty of people who appeared to me to be addicted to MJ in one way or another. They couldn't do anything until they got high. However, there was a big difference in the way those drugs affected me in the moment. Nicotine did not impair my ability to operate machinery or reason. Caffiene could impair those things if I had too much. Alcohol certainly does. MJ is in the same class as alcohol for me when it comes to that. I would not be able to drive a car or think rationally after smoking MJ. That, for me, is the distinction.

I would not knowingly leave my child with a tobacco smoker for the obvious health risks to my child but not because I think they wouldn't be able to provide the basic care that my child needs. I would never knowingly leave my child with someone who was a caffiene addict, either. In that case, I would be very concerned about that person being able to provide basic care. But I'd be fine with someone who likes to have a cup of coffee or two or a caffienated soda or tea. I'd rather that person drink a cup of coffee and stay awake than fall asleep while watching my child. I hope it goes without saying that I would not leave my child with an alcholic but I don't have a problem with someone having a drink as long as they stop there. I would not leave my child with someone who smoked MJ, either, for all the reasons above plus the fact that it is illegal.

My comment about water being considered a drug was supposed to make the point that anything that we consume could be considered a drug so we need to also look at what the effects of those things are on our brains and bodies. The definition I provided of a drug is my own based on my knowledge and understanding of biology, chemistry and what a drug is. Notice that definition #3 had to make the explicit distinction that food is not a drug. If it did not, under the definition that followed it would be considered a drug. Aren't there those who say food is a drug? Also, I think water could be included in definition #4. Water is a component of many drugs.

So, then the question becomes where do we draw the line? Our society has decided to draw the line at how those things we consume effect us. Do they impair our judgement, thinking and reasoning? Do they impair our motor skills? Do they affect our normal biological functions like the ability to stay awake or sleep to the point that it can become a problem? Do they pose serious health risks, side effects?

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#147 of 177 Old 08-29-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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I would not knowingly leave my child with a tobacco smoker for the obvious health risks to my child but not because I think they wouldn't be able to provide the basic care that my child needs. I would never knowingly leave my child with someone who was a caffiene addict, either. In that case, I would be very concerned about that person being able to provide basic care. But I'd be fine with someone who likes to have a cup of coffee or two or a caffienated soda or tea. I'd rather that person drink a cup of coffee and stay awake than fall asleep while watching my child. I hope it goes without saying that I would not leave my child with an alcholic but I don't have a problem with someone having a drink as long as they stop there. I would not leave my child with someone who smoked MJ, either, for all the reasons above plus the fact that it is illegal.
would you not let any cigarette smoker care for your child? i'm not talking about someone who would smoke indoors or anywhere the child could see it, or maybe not even the whole time they were with the child, if it was just a few hours.

same for mj. if you had an otherwise reliable and loving family member who smoked only recreationally (say, 1x month) and would not be possessing or inhaling any mj during their time, would you never let them stay with your child?

re: bold - mj does for my bipolar what the caffeine does for your example person here. :
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#148 of 177 Old 08-30-2007, 02:34 AM
 
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would you not let any cigarette smoker care for your child? i'm not talking about someone who would smoke indoors or anywhere the child could see it, or maybe not even the whole time they were with the child, if it was just a few hours.

same for mj. if you had an otherwise reliable and loving family member who smoked only recreationally (say, 1x month) and would not be possessing or inhaling any mj during their time, would you never let them stay with your child?

I for one would not allow my children to be taken care of by anyone who would break the law, without a really really compelling reason. Others being harmed:Compelling Reason

Need MJ to ward off nausea during cancer treatment or help with other medical condition: Complelling Reason; (It sounds like the quoted poster might be in this category).

BUT:

Want MJ cuz you like the way it makes you feel, though no medical reason. Sorry NO DICE. If you think the law is wrong, work to change it. If the only upside to breaking it is cuz you like to get high, I don't want you taking care of my kids.
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#149 of 177 Old 08-30-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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I for one would not allow my children to be taken care of by anyone who would break the law, without a really really compelling reason. Others being harmed:Compelling Reason

Need MJ to ward off nausea during cancer treatment or help with other medical condition: Complelling Reason; (It sounds like the quoted poster might be in this category).

BUT:

Want MJ cuz you like the way it makes you feel, though no medical reason. Sorry NO DICE. If you think the law is wrong, work to change it. If the only upside to breaking it is cuz you like to get high, I don't want you taking care of my kids.
not only would they not be CARING for my children, they wouldn't be allowed AROUND them, either.

and yes, that includes family.
loriforeman is offline  
#150 of 177 Old 08-30-2007, 12:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
I for one would not allow my children to be taken care of by anyone who would break the law, without a really really compelling reason. Others being harmed:Compelling Reason
does this include anyone who ever drives 5-10 miles/hour over the posted speed limit? i'm not trying to be snarky, just trying to explore the gray areas of life.
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