There was a time when the control of my parents became too bothersome for my personal liking and I left home for just over a month. I attended school and took a part time job during that time, living with a roommate I found on Craigslist. I returned home with a brand new relationship between my parents and me. No longer was I their child, but their son who lived with them.
In addition to our ability to be independent, we can be far more conniving and manipulative than you'd like to believe. I maintain grades in 4 AP classes (3 As and 1 B+) doing less than the bare minimum. Last year I didn't do any work my second semester in one class before turning it in 2 months into the summer. I ended the class with a 93 and a 5 on my AP exam. If your child is smart, you're in deep trouble. They know what you want to hear, when and how much to lie and, most importantly, how to hide what they don't want you to know.
As for drugs, it really depends on the child. I personally have been smoking cigarettes on and off since my freshmen year. In these 4 years I've smoked a total of 4 packs, with another pack or so worth given to me from friends. I am fully aware of the risks but am able to control my intake and understand the biological effects of the smoke and how it affects ones health (The tar paralyzes the cilia in your airway, letting the carcinogenic compounds sit and be absorbed. Minute intake gives the cilia a better chance to remove the tar from your airway). Be glad that cigarettes are not very common among today's youth; the same cannot be said, however, for alcohol and marijuana. Alcohol runs rampant at parties. The best cure is to let your child experience it recklessly and realize that they don't like vomiting and being told of their stupid decisions the next morning. After that they will learn to control that habit, but are still unlikely to stop as a whole. I smoke marijuana rarely, primarily due to the cost associated with the habit. It really isn't as bad as you may believe. Just stress to them that it isn't safe to drive under the influence. Fortunately it's an easy habit to curb as a parent. Watch what happens with any money you give them. I suggest putting any allowance into a joint bank account with a debit card. This allows you to see all activity. If you notice cash withdraws between $50-60 every few weeks it's likely that they're off buying 1/8 of pot. If you don't do allowance but rather give cash occasionally when they ask for it, ask what it's for and request a receipt. Most other drugs are legitimately bad for you and require a firm hand in dealing with. If you suspect cocaine or any other hard drugs just threaten them with calling a K9 unit to check the house and their belongings.
If your child is smart and independent, acknowledge that they are an individual rather than your child. It sucks for you as a parent, but it is the only way to truly guide your child in a beneficial direction.
Asking our community of parents: Does this warning give you pause? It is scary to know what is going on out there, especially when intelligent kids like this one get so addicted that they arrogantly think they could possibly control themselves and their addiction. Please share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the comments area.
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