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#1 of 62 Old 10-29-2009, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So the other day my 1st grader came home and told me that alcohol is a drug and that he is never going to drink alcohol. Apparently, the school counselor talked to the kids about drugs at school and alcohol is one of the "bad" drugs they talked about.

Now, I don't dispute that alcohol is a drug (so is caffeine right?), but I do have a problem w/ the reality of teaching the children that alcohol is a bad drug, (so comparing it to narcotics) bc 1.) dh and I drink alcohol responsibly and I don't think that a 1st grader can understand the concept of responsible vs irresponsible consumption, and 2.) I think that when adults try to indoctrinate children w/ideas that are overstated (basically using scare tactics) we really lose credibility w/our kids. I would rather have open and honest, age appropriate discussions about drug and alcohol use and give my children the facts.

Am I just crazy or does anyone else get what I am saying? Maybe I am not thinking of it in the right way and need to be set straight. (Always possible!)

I asked ds1 more questions about what he heard and then told him that basically that when you are an adult it is okay to drink a small amount of alcohol but that drinking too much can make you sick and isn't good for your body. I also told him that it's perfectly fine if he doesn't want to drink alcohol when he grows up.

Plus, I was under the impression that these anti drug programs (such as they have been implemented since the DARE days) just don't work. Am I wrong about that?

I really wish that when I was growing up I was treated like I had half a brain and given the facts instead of all the scaremongering that went on.

Any thoughts or your experiences are appreciated. TIA!

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#2 of 62 Old 10-29-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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Kind of see where you're coming from. We've always talked with our kids very openly about "chemicals" (alcohol, tobacco, prescriptions, endorphins, "drugs," etc.). They all have different effects and dangers - some of which vary from person to person!

DS didn't hit public school until 3rd grade and this year is the first time he talked about "guidance."

They lost all credibility when they were talking about how "kids shouldn't drink wine," and he asked, "What about in church?"

"Guidance," (is this a person??? do they have a NAME, like Ms. Jones?) said, "Oh no - not in church. Churches should have grape juice."

We're Catholic.

DS is a smart kid and theologically very aware (of multiple theologies actually!). He's not going to be listening to "guidance" much in the future!

Oversimplification IS ridiculous and I'm sure it DOES make kids doubt the wisdom, knowledge and truth of what they're being told. But I think we, as parents, can counteract that effect.
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#3 of 62 Old 10-29-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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My SIL had to deal with this when her DS wrote in his journal that his parents did drugs. Why did he write this? Because he was taught that alcohol and cigarettes were drugs. She had to go have a meeting with the teacher to straighten things out, but was still a bit paranoid about it.

I think it's ridiculous to say things like that to kids who are not capable of making the distinction between types of drugs. It seems like lying to them to me.

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#4 of 62 Old 10-29-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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To me it is as bad as all the other drugs out there and that does include cigs. DD is aware of how I feel and ds will be as well when he is old enough to understand. So I wouldnt have a problem with them being taught that at school.

 
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#5 of 62 Old 10-29-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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"So are ibprofen, tylenol, and asprin sweetie, it's all in how they're used. Only adults can use alcohol safely though, and it is a very bad drug for kids. Now excuse me, mommy has to make a phone call."
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#7 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
and then told him that basically that when you are an adult it is okay to drink a small amount of alcohol but that drinking too much can make you sick and isn't good for your body. I also told him that it's perfectly fine if he doesn't want to drink alcohol when he grows up.
This is exactly what I tell the kids about soda!

I have yet to hear of an in-school anti-drug program that I did not think was hopelessly flawed. Parents carry the responsibility for education on this topic, imo.

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#8 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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This was my frustration as well, when one evening as I drank a glass of wine with my dinner, my 1st grader (with tears in his eyes, nonetheless) asked me not to drink the wine because it is bad. Shocked, we discussed many aspects of what was going on but the main point was that wine and beer in moderation are okay when you are older than 21.

This son is now 10 and we have had many conversations regarding the 'learning' of certain items at school and 'real' application.
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#9 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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"So are ibprofen, tylenol, and asprin sweetie, it's all in how they're used. Only adults can use alcohol safely though, and it is a very bad drug for kids. Now excuse me, mommy has to make a phone call."
Yep! Actually, they're teaching this same stuff right now to our kids - and I just learned that the law in most of WI allows children of basically ANY age to go into a restaurant or bar with their parents and have an alcoholic drink. Holy mixed messages! Then you have headlines about pot being legalized for medicinal purposes - but it's all EVIL!!!! I have to agree the DARE and anti-drug programs are hopelessly flawed.
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#10 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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My kids are not old enough for this (and will be homeschooling I think) but my niece did that to me.

I was having a glass of wine, she told me it was a drug and that I would die. I looked at her sideways as she had her 5th soda of the day. I told her sugar has a lot of adverse effects too and diabetes isn't a walk in the park either.

I told her that adults can choose for themselves about alcohol. While the school was making sure she knew we were all drug addicts, and I get what they are trying to do but I believe it takes older children to understand the nuances, I wonder where the nutrition education was.

I think they can briefly talk about drugs but keep the more in depth education for children who can understand the differences between Grandma smoking and being "bad" and that nicotine is addictive and shouldn't be started. Same with alcohol.

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#11 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I think that when adults try to indoctrinate children w/ideas that are overstated (basically using scare tactics) we really lose credibility w/our kids. I would rather have open and honest, age appropriate discussions about drug and alcohol use and give my children the facts.
agreed!

And just wait until he's old enough the for school sex education program.

Quote:
I really wish that when I was growing up I was treated like I had half a brain and given the facts instead of all the scaremongering that went on.
yeah, so I'm treating my kids like they have half a brain. I speak very frankly with them about drugs, alcohol, and sex. I know that they aren't going to learn this stuff from school and their peers are badly informed (between the schools and having parents who don't talk about these things honestly.) I'm their only hope!

One of the things we've talked about lately with alcohol is that if they are ever in a situation where things are getting out of control, they can always call us. Even if they've been drinking. Even if they are drinking underage. It's OK. We'll come get them. We love them.

I believe that parents (and schools) overstate the dangers of drinking to a point where kids end up in sitations where the light bulb comes and they finally realize what the fuss was all about, and they are too scared of how much trouble they will be in to just own up to it and let their parents get them back home safely.

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"So are ibprofen, tylenol, and asprin sweetie, it's all in how they're used. Only adults can use alcohol safely though, and it is a very bad drug for kids. "
pretty much, though my DH is an immigrant and grew up with whiskey being used to treat illness (rubbing a little on gums does stop teething pain better than anything else.) And 21 is a stupid drinking age. It really should be 18, but I digress.

I've decided to look on the bright side of all this -- The school brings up these topics in our home and gives me a chance to not only *once again* tell my kids what I think but also teach them to think critically about what people tell them.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys, you are all right about it being yet another teaching moment where I can share my values w/my children and teach them to think critically about what they hear.

It helps to hear how you guys have handled this situation. Thanks again!

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#13 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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To me it is as bad as all the other drugs out there and that does include cigs. DD is aware of how I feel and ds will be as well when he is old enough to understand. So I wouldnt have a problem with them being taught that at school.
I agree to a certain extent, but only because it is habit forming like other drugs are. But not all people become addicted to alcohol so there's a fine line.

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#14 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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Was he wearing a Peace Out to Drugs red ribbon this week? I just ask b/c I'm wondering if our schools have similar anti-drug programs...

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#15 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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Well, it is a drug. A delicious, delicious drug.

I think you've gotten a lot of good advice; it's an opportunity to introduce some nuanced shades of gray into what is so often presented as black-and-white.

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#16 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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FWIW, most people who try most drugs do not become addicted. I have the stats at home, but even most "hard" drugs are most often tried and then either not used again or used in moderation.

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#17 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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I remember these programs when I was in school. They always said alcohol was a drug but never had an answer for me when I asked "then why is it called drugs and alcohol?"

My father always had a beer or two when he got home from work. Always. Now he's not an alcoholic because when he's out of beer, oh well. He goes a while without it if he hasn't had time to get to the store. But when I was little, I very much remember thinking my father was an alcoholic thanks to these programs.

Even as children get older, the programs don't get any better. The propaganda doesn't get any better. Binging one time on alcohol will kill you. (Sure, it might, but most likely won't. Speeding one time might kill you, too, but it most likely won't.)

And who says the school will even teach them sex ed? My high school had a health class in the 10th grade (yeah. 10th grade. A bit late, don't you think?) that talked about the evils of drugs and how any and all drugs were evil, even alcohol. You can't drive if you've even had a sip. And sex is also bad. Condoms are only 80% effective and if you have unprotected sex, you'll get pregnant or get aids and die. All other birth controls don't work. Just don't have sex.

It's just ridiculous. All that crap and then they have soda machines and candy machines outside the cafeteria. And the snack shop inside the cafeteria with more sugary crap and cookies and slushies.

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#18 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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pretty much, though my DH is an immigrant and grew up with whiskey being used to treat illness (rubbing a little on gums does stop teething pain better than anything else.) And 21 is a stupid drinking age. It really should be 18, but I digress.
Well, the first is still an adult using the drug. Like kids can have a vitamin pill, but shouldn't dose themselves, y'know? As for the second, I daresay there'll be chances to clarify and refine family alcohol policies some time between now and age 18
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agreed!

And just wait until he's old enough the for school sex education program.

yeah, so I'm treating my kids like they have half a brain. I speak very frankly with them about drugs, alcohol, and sex. I know that they aren't going to learn this stuff from school and their peers are badly informed (between the schools and having parents who don't talk about these things honestly.) I'm their only hope!
...

I've decided to look on the bright side of all this -- The school brings up these topics in our home and gives me a chance to not only *once again* tell my kids what I think but also teach them to think critically about what people tell them.
ITA with using it as an opportunity to talk about critical judgement. I wish someone would have done that with my MIL and mother, both of whom believe SPAM and all commercials on TV.

My LO are only 2 and almost 4, but I feel very much this way. And, we have started down this path. They see DH and I drink alcohol in moderation, while explaining that like coffee and soda it is fine for adults in small amounts but not healthy for kids.

IMO a conversation about addiction in all its forms would be much more helpful. People can become addicted to almost anything and make poor life choices because of it. People can also shop, eat, drink, have sex, use drugs and smoke in moderation without becoming addicted.

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#20 of 62 Old 10-30-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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I agree- very dangerous information esp. regarding pot- teaching kids that pot is the same as other "hard drugs" is bad information. You can die the very first time you use heroin, crack, cocaine or any of he synthetic designer drugs as well as alcohol for that matter. My little sister's (17) friend tried a speedball (coke and heroin mixed) for the first time and had a reaction and died in her bed. She was home at curfrew, had some snacks with her dad, went to bed and never woke up. I am sorry but kids need to know the stakes are very very high when experimenting with non- natural and synthetic drugs and there is a big difference between drinking a wine cooler or smoking a joint and using coke.

I also believe in sharing with kids that all drugs (alcohol, pot, cigs and harder stuff) has an effect on the brain and kids whose brains are still developing should not use any of them. They can decide when they are older and brains are fully formed if they want to experiment with them after they know all the facts.
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#21 of 62 Old 10-31-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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I think that when adults try to indoctrinate children w/ideas that are overstated (basically using scare tactics) we really lose credibility w/our kids.
This is exactly why so many college and some times high school kids go way way overboard as soon as they get a chance to have alcohol.

It works so much better when adults are honest and talk about how a little alcohol can help one unwind in the evening, and occassionally it's fun to get buzzed. How alcohol effects you differently if you have eaten a lot or a little. How people gradually build up a tolerance and one shouldn't go all out the first few times drinking. How it feels right before you go from having enough to too much. Etc.

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#22 of 62 Old 10-31-2009, 01:42 AM
 
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I think one positive thing you can take away from this is that these programs, even if they don't really help the way people like them to, at least enabled you to start the dialog with your child, which will help.
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#23 of 62 Old 10-31-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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Well, sure alcohol is a drug. So is tylenol, asprin, caffeine, sugar...

With our kids we talk about the difference between responsible USE and ABUSE.

Having a glass of wine with dinner is drug use. Drinking a bottle is abuse. Taking a painkiller because a doctor prescribes it post surgery is use. Take oxycotin because it makes you feel funny is abuse.

Kids are smart enough to know the difference. I agree that the DRUGS ARE BAD kinds of messages are pointless and irresponsible on the part of adults--and hypocritical. But I do agree that it is a good thing to start the conversation.

But the conversation is going to come up, anyway. My son asked me about opium and opium dens after reading about it in a Tintin comic book at the age of 5 . So we talked about illegal drugs and harmful drugs like opium. But we also talked about how the same drug can be made into morphine, which can help people who are suffering a lot of pain--but it just depends on how it is used.

Honestly, in this day and age, I have a greater fear of a child abusing prescription drugs because you can't smells it on their breath, you don't need any paraphernalia to consume the drugs, and they're 'legal.' Alcohol seems tame compared to some of the pills kids buy and sell at schools these days.

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#24 of 62 Old 10-31-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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I have a greater fear of a child abusing prescription drugs
We've had some great conversations about prescription drug abuse grow out of watching House. The concept that legal drug use can still be drug abuse is not beyound my middle schoolers.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 62 Old 10-31-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Reading all of this with interest as a mom to a 4YO and a teacher to 14,15,16 YOs. Obviously, to me, these programs don't work. Otherwise, we wouldn't have the rampant binge drinking I hear about a lot of the kids participating in, even as young as 8th grade. (Obviously, the sex ed isn't working either, since I've had a pregnant student in my class every year since I started teaching here at this solidly middle class suburban school...)

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#26 of 62 Old 11-01-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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Haven't read the other responses, but I agree with you, op.

We went through the same thing last year with our son. I also had to explain why the drug store isn't some horrible terrible thing because it had "drug" in the name.
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#27 of 62 Old 11-01-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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I did think they were supposed to get your signed permission to "treat" your child behaviorally / psychologically. Which is what drug programs are.
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#28 of 62 Old 11-01-2009, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nope, no permission slip here, I'm not even sure what was taught, but I am going to ask.

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#29 of 62 Old 11-01-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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I did think they were supposed to get your signed permission to "treat" your child behaviorally / psychologically. Which is what drug programs are.
here they use permission slips.

However, if I had opted my 6th grader DD out of sex miseducation, she would have spent 1 hour a week in study hall with all the boys from not only her class room, but another class room as well. (They combine the classes and the boy have miseducation one day while the girls have study hall in the other classroom, and the next day the girls have miseducation while the boys have study hall in the other room).

I left it up to her, and she decided to go because there is a party for the kids who get enough *points* during the 6 week program. I figured that since in a few years I'll be trusting her to make far bigger decisions for herself, I could trust her with one.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#30 of 62 Old 11-01-2009, 07:06 PM
 
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When I was in the AF I was chosen for the random drug test and met a women who had to be there every month. Why? Because her dd told the teacher her parents "did drugs"....they were smokers of legal cigarettes.


My dh started drinking at 16...because he lived in Italy...and that is the legal age there to be served in public. He was really annoyed to come back to the states at 19 and not be able to drink.

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