Other children using drugs and what to do about it

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Other children using drugs and what to do about it

I think we’re really confused as parents how to balance this thing about keeping an open relationship an open dialogue with your child and doing what we think is right. So if our kid comes home from a party and tell us everyone was getting high or if they tell us one of their friends was getting high, what do we do with that? On one hand, you know, we think of course we want to call the other parent because we worry. The other hand, we feel you know, if I sort of betray this trust my child is going to stop talking to me. They’re not going to want to tell me next time. There’s two factors that I think that are the most important factors here is that we are telling our children bigger things and everything that we do. So if we hear that a child is in anyway doing something that is going to put them at risk; it’s not about telling them or not telling. It’s about health and safety. And so I think what we need to do is to tell our child, I’m really glad you told me that. That makes me really worried about your friend. I’ve got to call their mom or dad. I’m going to ask them not to say that I called but they need to know. Because how would you feel not telling them and something bad happened? I mean this is dangerous. A kid is out a party and they see their friend throwing up in the bathroom because they’re drunk. They had so much to drink, you know, they’ve been shooting, having shots of tequila, drinking beer or whatever that kid could end up in the emergency room easily. So if I know that, how am I going to feel if that happens the next weekend? Still we have to tell our kids that this is about health and what we’re doing also is we’re telling them that this is about health. That taking drugs or not isn’t cool and it’s not about; so we’re communicating two things. And the other piece of it is that we have to think about how you would feel if one of your friends’ moms or dads knew that your child was using and was doing things, whatever it was that was dangerous and didn’t tell us? I mean, of course, we would want to know and so there’s this thing about you know this balance and we do have to try to keep communication open. But when we’re weighing things, we also to realize that the most important thing, the most important job is to keep our kids safe. So even if our child gets really, really pissed off at us and says and has a tantrum about it ultimately we’re communicating something that’s more important and ultimately there has to be respected because we are , our values are important to them and we’re telling them about doing the right thing even if it’s hard.

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David Sheff


David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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