Marijuana and children
March 3, 2006 10:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm an unrepentant pothead, as are my friends and family. We've been at it for decades; generations, even... it's not changing anytime soon. This is not going over well with my children who are: nine, eleven and thirteen.

At the risk of protesting too much, I want to make clear that we are all solidly middle class, not prone to arrest and pretty decent folks. We just smoke pot and have, until now, treated it like alcohol. I would no more do bong hits while watching "That's So Raven" than I would do shots of Jack at breakfast. Then again, I don't freak out if they spot a bowl on the counter or catch a waft of smoke blowing in from the deck on a warm evening.

I've gone with the, "Yeah, we use marijuana. Think of it like the wine in the fridge... talk to me when you can can brush your teeth without being reminded and get accepted to a good school." Double standard? You bet. They're kids and I do all sorts of stuff they aren't allowed to.

Unfortunately this seems to have been the wrong approach. After years of DARE, public service announcements and overzealous teachers, my youngest two have decided we are all drug addicts. They seem unable or unwilling to make the distinction between smoking a joint and selling your body for a rock in that van down by the river. It feels like a lie to suddenly announce my reformation and newfound belief that weed is the root all evil, but I'm sick and tired of being nagged. My kids are good Unitarians and, for the most part, incredibly tolerant (they are biracial and have two mothers, we're a little unconventional in several ways) about everything except weed. I need a way to back away from my former (and, admittedly, over-vocal) marijuana advocacy without looking like a total jerk -- it would be nice if I could continue to smoke but that isn't a requirement.

[Note to admins: I know this is borderline illegal, but in this context I hope it is acceptable. I understand if you feel otherwise.]
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (90 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What's making your kids uncomfortable is the sense that you--their father, who's supposed to be right and take care of them--is doing something they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as dangerous, bad, and against the law. They are "unable to make the distinction" between pot and hard drugs because they are young kids, not rational adults, and can't yet sort out the conflicting messages they're getting. They may be able to in a few years, but for now, what's the point in putting them in this position? Just put the pot away for a few years until they get older. You don't really need to talk about it.
posted by footnote at 10:27 PM on March 3, 2006

I remember once when I was a kid watching my Dad smoke a cigar out on the porch... and being so scared that he was going to die of cancer. The thought of something bad happening to my dad terrified me. In their minds, your drug use increases the chance that something bad could happen to you that would change their lives in a negative way (marijuana might not give you cancer, but what if you got caught? what if one of their friends told their parents? what if you went to jail and they never saw you again?) Could you give it up to make your children feel more safe, even if you know that it doesn't pose a danger?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:27 PM on March 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Um, talk to them, work out some boundaries?
posted by dhartung at 10:27 PM on March 3, 2006

Double standard? You bet. They're kids and I do all sorts of stuff they aren't allowed to.

Do you explain to them why this is? Or do you just say "I'm a grownup so I can do what I want, but you're not, so you do what I say"?
posted by middleclasstool at 10:30 PM on March 3, 2006

Don't lie about it, but stop making them deal with it. Especially the younger two. They aren't old enough to see the differences you are laying out.

Don't let them catch a waft of smoke. Don't let them see a stray bowl. Whether we like it or not, what you are doing is illegal and you are putting your kids in a tough spot and you are putting their position in your home at risk.

If you're entire family for generations have been potheads, then you might not know the tricks of hiding your habit. I learned these from living in a less tolerant house...

Don't keep a lot of paraphenalia. Sure, we all love the 7 foot bong, but it doesn't scream discretion. One pipe, one smallish bong, and papers for joints. Better yet, email me and I'll teach how to make something from a pepsi bottle (it conserves, it hides easily, and it nearly elimiates the stray smoke)
What you do keep, put it under lock and key.

Burn incense, scented candles, use spray perfume/cologne when you're done. Some friends of mine would blow their smoke into a toilet paper tube with a dryer sheet stuffed in the end.

Save it for when they're out of the house or asleep...maybe also keep it to the bathroom (where you can turn on the fan) or a place they don't frequent (like you're room)

If they ask if you've stopped,tell them something along the lines of 'this is an adult issue and I've decided it's something we're going to discuss again when you're older.' If they ask your opinion of legalization, decriminalization, casual smoking or any of the politics there of, be honest and direct as it sounds you have been so far. Be more open with your 13 year old. They will resent you if they feel you arne't be fully honest.

Good luck.
posted by nadawi at 10:37 PM on March 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I totally agree with The Pink. After years of DARE, public service announcements and overzealous teachers, I set out to convince my parents and grandparents thst smoking cigarettes was going to kill them, and it honestly scared the crap out of me.

Having said that, smoking pot is still extremely illegal, and the penalities in some states are far worse than much more dramatic crimes. That's a risk you have to balance, but the fact that your children are being asked to make the distrinction is just too much.

Also, be aware that anything that makes a teen or pre-teen seem, in any way (no matter how progressive you think they are) "different" will always be considered a bad thing in their minds.

This is coming from a girl who's father has been an unrepentant pot smoker for years. The very first time my husband met my father, we walked in on him smoking a bowl in his living room.
posted by Brittanie at 10:48 PM on March 3, 2006

Do you know precisely what your kids are uncomfortable with about your smoking? Do they just think that drugs are wrong and bad because DARE says so, or are there specific fears that you can discuss with them? Are they afraid that you'll be arrested, or that you'll overdose and die in the gutter? Is it possible that they are uncomfortable seeing their mom act stoned, but don't know how to articulate this?

You say that you're treating pot like alcohol, but some kids are uncomfortable with their parents' alcohol use, too. If the drug use freaks your kids out, I would advise you to both speak honestly with them about their fears and to lay off the weed for a little while. It's the same advice I would give if you were asking about alcohol.
posted by lemuria at 10:54 PM on March 3, 2006

After years of DARE, public service announcements and overzealous teachers, my youngest two have decided we are all drug addicts.

Dude, why not drop the "the government is a bunch of overbearing fundamentalists intent on trampling on my liberty" attitude and do some research about WHY they are saying marijuana is dangerous for your children.
posted by DirtyCreature at 10:55 PM on March 3, 2006 [1 favorite] need to quit the marijuana ASAFP. You run the risk of screwing up your kids by sending such a "mixed message." From a moral standpoint - and you can tell me to go to hell, but you did ask - what you are doing is wrong. You are teaching your children that wacking their brains out on mind-altering substances is OK. Like I said, that's the moral part, which you likely don't agree with...but there is a much larger issue here, as pointed out above: the legal aspect. You may think it's harmless fun, but in the eyes of the law, it is criminal. You do not want to get busted - in any capacity - and have to suffer through arrest, prosecution, possible jail time, court fees, penalties, legal costs, community service, probation, and anything else associated with being busted. And you REALLY don't want your kids to go through watching you go through that.

You wanna get high -- great, but at least have the maturity to wait until your kids are all 18 years old and not living under your roof.

As far as not looking like a jerk by renouncing your former habit, it's much more important that you quit and simply tell them why, than it is to worry about looking hypocritical. Just tell them (in age-appropriate terms) that you used to think it was OK, but you've begun to realize that it might get you into trouble and you love them too much to get into trouble -- something along those lines.

Good luck - and be strong.
posted by davidmsc at 11:00 PM on March 3, 2006

Yeah, I had years of DARE and public service announcements too. I just decided to not be a shiftless pothead. heh.

What may be confusing them is that they're expecting you to do what's right, and they may already be aware of the fact that marijuana is an illegal substance. Regardless of how much you love it and think it should be legalized, (if you in fact think that) the fact remains that it's still illegal.

What's more important? The pot? Or the children? At the very least, it might be a good idea to keep it away from them. Don't let them see it. In a couple of years, they might not remember a thing about it.
posted by drstein at 11:04 PM on March 3, 2006

Keep that shit on the downlow and give them a few years to realize that the authority figures at school and on TV are full of it. I once got all freaked out when I was five because my mom was drinking soda in the car; I thought it was - no joke - "drinking and driving."

Lesson: kids are stupid. They'll probably come around to the truth soon enough. But at this stage there's not much reasoning with them.

Also please ignore DirtyCreature.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:06 PM on March 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

I want to clarify that I don't think that smoking pot is wrong, or inherently a bad thing for a parent to do. I think that it's fine for parents to smoke pot, be nudists, drink alcohol, subscribe to Penthouse, etc. But if any of those things are really freaking a little kid out, I think it's considerate to hide the bong or put some pants on for a few years.
posted by lemuria at 11:15 PM on March 3, 2006

I think it's never too early for kids to know the truth about government propaganda. Why do you want the DARE, public service announcements and overzealous teachers, all acting as tools of the Man, to win the battle for your childrens' young minds?

YOU know dope is good for you, right? Teach your kids for God's sake!

I am not trying to be cheeky, I practice what I am preaching here. My seven year old has seen daddy toking up since, well since I've known him. He isn't old enough to understand everything on an adult level, but at least he understands that the police and the state aren't always right and don't always work in the best interests of normal people like me.

Sorry if this isn't a direct answer to your Q, but I feel like this view hasn't been given fair consideration here.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:23 PM on March 3, 2006 [6 favorites]

Kids learn all sorts of stuff in school that's antithetical to your beliefs. When I was a kid it was all about the glory of the white man's inevitable and blessed conquest of the new world, etc.

These days they're bound to run into the glory that is George Bush and the selfless generosity America towards those poor Iraqis. Also, those civil rights were too dangerous to have in the first place- that's why they were taken away. God knows. When I meet these young, silly, ignorant, young, naive, young elementary school teachers I am always shocked to remember the power and authority they had over me when I was little.

Now's the time to remind your kids they're at school for 1) hard sciences and basic reading skills, and 2) learning to get along with people you wouldn't normally come within a block of. All else is to be discarded or at least discussed with the parents, who will have the last word.

I am grateful to have grown up with disparate value systems in my schools and homelife. It gave me valuable tools to get along in the real world.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:24 PM on March 3, 2006 [3 favorites]

and what meatbomb said.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:25 PM on March 3, 2006

Your own values can vary as much as you choose, but whether you think what you're doing is moral or not has little to do with the fact that it is illegal. You are putting your kids in a difficult situation, and that is an inconsiderate thing to do to anybody, much less somebody who is already wrestling with developing their own ideas, personality, morals, etc.

Your kids are not parroting what they hear at the 9am assembly at school so much as they are trying to figure out how to balance what they know to be illegal in the context of society (everybody) and what they see the most important authority figure in the world doing (dad). For all you know, they could be explaining the difference in severity of freebasing vs toking up to their more sheltered schoolmates all the while.

I really don't mean to sound condescending with this, but it is the only way I know to phrase it. I think you are going about this, in regards to your family anyway, too shamelessly. You are not properly empathizing with your kids' mindset, rather, you are just pursuing your habit in the only way you know how with other people wagging their fingers at you the whole time: shamelessly. This is a fine means of dealing with others whose opinion has little to no bearing on your life, you don't need to be ashamed of your decisions that only affect you, but it is not an effective ethic for those whose lives are so much more important to you.

In summary, hide the bong, it's fucking with your kids. Other than that you're not doing anything wrong.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 11:35 PM on March 3, 2006

I remember when I was in middle school and I realized that the parents of a friend of mine were pot smokers. I hadn't smoked or given any thought to smoking dope at the time and the idea really grossed me out. As I recall, the feeling I had at the time was that they were breaking the law and the law was the law and they shouldn't be allowed to do that. Now I was a liberal, but I was also a boy scout at the time. And while I was a liberal, I still had some screwed up ideas about right and wrong, where I really didn't think it was OK for people to "get away" with something and go unpunished. I'm really not sure where this idea came from, and I don't have it now, but I remember having it then. I remembering thinking "don't do drugs" was dumb, but also thinking "drugs are dangerous and you shouldn't do them 'cause they can make you do crazy things." Most of all though, I remember thinking that drug users shouldn't be doing drugs and someone should nark on them. At this point in my life, twenty years later, I cannot believe I thought that at the time, but I guess I was a product of the DARE culture and some strange anti "getting away with it" culture too.

From what I can remember about the perspective of a child that sounds like your children, I'd suggest telling them that you're a sane man and that while you want them to do good in school, everything their teachers tell them isn't true. Everything the TV tells them isn't true, and everything their friends tell them isn't true. You're their dad and they should trust you.

"Smoking dope is like drinking. It isn't any worse, but unfortunately it is illegal even though it shouldn't be. Teachers and the parents of friends might not agree with dad's opinion, but it is the case. That's the way it is. We unfortunately live in a world that says people like your mother and I are bad people even though we are not. You've heard of Galelio right? You remember that he thought the Earth orbited around the sun, but the church and the government thought the sun orbitied around the earth. Well, Galelio and his supporters are like us. Most people didn't like him and didn't like what he said. He had to do his research in secret because it was against the law. He had to tell his kids not to tell anyone about what he was doing, because if the church found out, he would be put in jail. Now, we aren't researching the orbits of the planets or anything, but we are doing something that currently is illegal but shouldn't be and one day will not be. You need to realize that just because something is illegal doesn't make it wrong. No, you shouldn't steal and you cannot hit your sister, there are still rules you need to follow. However some of these rules really aren't justified and even if they are illegal we cannot support them. I hope you understand that just because your teacher tells you that something is wrong, or illegal, or unheathy doesn't make it so. As much as I want you to listen to your teacher, I want you to be a critical thinker in life and realize that teachers are paid by the government to teach you. They are good people and I like your teachers, but they are paid by the government and unfortunately we live in a world where the government uses the teachers to try to get kids to think in ways that parents don't think is appropriate."
posted by pwb503 at 11:37 PM on March 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

How to teach children about drugs. Previously on MeFi!

With a nice little book.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:40 PM on March 3, 2006

Sorry, the top of the thread Admin plz fix tia.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:42 PM on March 3, 2006

I came from hippy parents, who then moved into the city and had four other children, all much younger than I. Personally I have no qualms about pot, even though I don't smoke. And personally I think on par with alcohol seems about right. But, the repercussions of the illegality must be considered. My father-in-law got busted recently after smoking for 30+ years, he was charged initially with having 40 lbs which was an absurd charge. Now he has to take piss tests has had sevear property forfeiture and if my sisters had been with him that evening, instead of my mom's, it would be quite likely he would lose joint custody. All from some cop randomly passing outside the window late at night in pursuit of someone else. Pot is not evil, but the consequences legally are pretty harsh.
I would advise curtailing it as much as possible, even eliminating it either until your kids are much older or have moved out. But... I am not a parent.
posted by edgeways at 11:42 PM on March 3, 2006

(There are only moms here, no dads - right?)
posted by lemuria at 11:45 PM on March 3, 2006

Whoa, after reading all the answers to your question I became a little misguided as to what your question was. I went back and read your question. Turns out you said the exact same thing I did. Other people just seem to be using this as a platform to discuss/preach their values.

Your kids seem concerned, but underinformed. Keep them this way until they are capable of understanding for themselves what exactly they are talking about. Tell them "you don't have to worry about me smoking pot anymore," and just keep it on the DL until they are ready to approach the subject properly. I know it sucks to make your own living, have your own house, and still feel like you can't do what you want, but see my previous post as to why that is important.

This shouldn't be a big deal if you handle it like this. Likely, before you know it, you'll be posting another askme about how to get your kids to quit ripping off your stash.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 11:48 PM on March 3, 2006

I have no social or moral objections to pot smoking, and pot smokers. In fact, most I have met are nice, normal people. I don't smoke myself, never have, never will, and I do feel that drugs are often used as an escape from realities or problems that people don't want to deal with. And that's all I'll say about the subject.

However, I have a different perspective as an adult on raising children, especially because I have a parent that wasn't able to be around for some important moments in my life due to a messy divorce.

To put it simply, I'd be unwilling to voluntarily participate in any activity that was illegal and could result in my children being deprived of me for any length of time. They need you, and as an adult, you took on that responsibility of being there for them. This in particular is an easy choice.

Stop smoking pot. Smoke whatever stash you have left, or burn it. Destroy any tools you have for using it. Don't sell it, as your chances of getting caught will increase a huge amount, as will the fines and jail time. Maybe give it to a friend or something. This takes roughly zero effort on your part. Since all the pot smoking advocates say it's not addicting, I'm sure you'll have no problems with withdrawals.

Then simply don't talk about it, unless they ask. If they do, tell them you have decided not to use drugs because you don't want to hurt them or risk losing them. Lots of parents do the same with smoking and alcohol and have no embarrassment issues. Your kids will be happy, move on with your life. If they ask about the legalities, just say you don't agree, but it is indeed illegal, and you aren't going to be doing it anymore.

If you want to pick up your old habit once the kids are out of the house, great. I'm all for that. I just really don't want more screwed up kids running around the place because their parents were in jail for a large portion of their life. I see enough of that in the world already. Throw out all the talk about politics, The Man, and research studies that show what may or may not be health issues from smoking pot. Go look at the ones regarding children raised in foster homes and how they turn out, and decide based on those how you should go about this.
posted by Phynix at 12:14 AM on March 4, 2006

No pot-related family anecdote to share, but I have to nth the idea of trying to avoid sending a mixed message to your kids. In high school, one night a pack of cigarettes fell out of my pocket as I walked upstairs to my bedroom. My parents found the cigarettes and placed the pack at my place at the dinner table that night—it was there waiting for me when I came down to eat. My mother gave me my "smoking is really bad for you so don't do it" lecture while proceeding to open the pack, take out a cigarette and smoke it. She was so addicted to smoking (and still is) that she lacked the self-control to wait until the lecture was over before she lit up. I laughed. Anonymous, don't make your kids lose respect for you like that.
posted by emelenjr at 12:16 AM on March 4, 2006

DirtyCreature, two points

1)the poster's not talking about his kids smoking pot. In fact, he says that's something that only adults ought to do.

2)the cannabis-psychosis link is small. The British govt. was forced to conduct a review of their reclassification of cannabis after all these recent studies, and the British Parliament's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs issued a report in Dec '05, summarising the state of the current research (PDF).

In particular:

For individuals, the current evidence suggests, at worst, that using cannabis increases the lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by 1%. Some individuals are at higher risk than others for developing schizophrenia from the use of cannabis, but there is currently no means by which these individuals can be identified.

posted by Gyan at 12:19 AM on March 4, 2006

Not much of a risk then, huh?
posted by exlotuseater at 12:39 AM on March 4, 2006

This has turned into a bit of a mess, but 9, 11, and 13 should answer your question right there: they are still kids! Their brains are still developing and will be for some time. You can't expect them to see marijuana usage the same way you do (which is the same way many of us do as well). Think about the viewpoints you had about right and wrong (about ANYTHING, really) when you were a pre-teen....have they changed at all? I know MANY of my 13-year-old beliefs have been massively overhauled.

They seem unable or unwilling to make the distinction between smoking a joint and selling your body for a rock in that van down by the river.

They seem unable because they most likely ARE unable to make that distinction. See: Kohlberg's Moral development (often criticized, but still a good starting point).

So that means...either stop giving them the double standard until they've matured a bit, or give up the pot. Or both.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 12:55 AM on March 4, 2006

I'm kindof surprised that your kids are Unitarians. I think I might be able to get away with lighting up on the back row of my local UU church on Sunday while the choir is singing "This Little Light of Mine".
posted by Zendogg at 12:59 AM on March 4, 2006

DirtyCreature, stop. You're not answering the question. No where does the question ask for information on any possible medical or health risks from smoking marijuana. MetaTalk.
posted by loquacious at 1:03 AM on March 4, 2006

My last post. Take it to email if still interested.

DirtyCreature : Yes and they make no mention of dosage in this conclusion.

They don't need to. They aren't classifying the risk by dosage. It's a pretty simple statement. This is what it means

Among 100 people with no history of cannabis use, 1 will eventually develop schizophrenia

Among 100 people with a history, 2 will eventually develop schizophrenia

It's saying the same thing as one of the papers you linked:
[Cannabis can double the risk of schizophrenia. Increasing but still controversial knowledge of the psychological effects of the drug]

Here's a study that takes frequency into account, and arrives at the same conclusion (1.6 to 1.8 times higher).
posted by Gyan at 1:09 AM on March 4, 2006

Another slight problem with liberal parents: The more illegal things you do, the harder your kids will have to try to rebel against what you've taught them when they're of the age when they will, like it or not. If you're liberal enough, they'll rebel against you by becoming neo-cons. Yech!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:21 AM on March 4, 2006

To answer your actual question, why not just gradually cut back?
If you regularly smoke once a night, go to once or twice a week, then to only on Saturday, then to not at all.

You don't need to explain to your kids _why_ you stopped, just the fact that you did will probably be enough for them.

If they do press you for a reason, just tell them you've thought about what they said, and are doing it for them.
That's bound to make them feel good and important because they "saved Mom".

Then, after they've hit adulthood, you can go back to your regular habits and everyone is happy.

A caution, though, if you do "stop for the children". You need to stop. Not "cut back", not "only a little when the kids are out", just stop. Kids are real good at sensing when their parents are being less than honest, especially during the teenage years yours are entering.
posted by madajb at 2:51 AM on March 4, 2006

Had the same situation when my youngest was a pre-teen. All adult use of illegal drugs stopped, and the household became, at least on the surface, clean as a whistle. Didn't prevent my son from smoking pot himself later. It did give the adults some room to act like adults and not hypocrites. The teen years are difficult enough without building in reasons for dissent.

I read the comments. There is a brief mention of the other potentially nasty side effects of your children's disapproval... if they get too chatty about it with school authorities, and someone turns you in, it can wreck your life, remove them from your care, and you could lose your home. Not to mention jail.

Stop smoking, at least at home and around them. Sit them down once, and explain that you've given this a lot of thought, and have decided that as long as it is illegal, you won't do it. But, you think it should be legal, and will work to change the law. You accomplish a bunch of good things with this approach: you take away the risk that you could get in trouble if your kids rat you out, you show them that you're concerned about obeying the law, and you also give them a constructive way to achieve social change.
posted by Corky at 2:55 AM on March 4, 2006

This whole experience could be extremely powerful and positive for your children if you did two things:

A) If you quit getting high, and explained to them that you've quit not because it's wrong -- because you believe it's not wrong-- but because you have weighed the risk of getting caught, and the likely consequences for your family, against the pleasures of the weed, and the family came out on top.

The message you're sending now is that you've done this calculus and the family lost. Not good.

B) If you got heavily involved in lobbying your government to change the laws you disagree with. Teach your kids that government is not some unseen force like gravity that we have to passively accede to, but in fact that WE are the government, and can play an important role.

Right now the lesson they're learning is that if something is wrong, you should do it anyway, just sneak around and try not to get caught. They're just a few years from the age when their internalizing this attitude is going to cause you a world of trouble.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:43 AM on March 4, 2006 [3 favorites]

For individuals, the current evidence suggests, at worst, that using cannabis increases the lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by 1%.

It's a pretty simple statement. This is what it means[:] Among 100 people with no history of cannabis use, 1 will eventually develop schizophrenia. Among 100 people with a history, 2 will eventually develop schizophrenia

I don't have anything to offer the conversation, but I can't let this go...

Your second sentence is wrong - if the rate is 1%, then among 100 people with a history, 1.1 will eventually develop schizophrenia. Not 2 - that's 100%.
posted by unixrat at 5:37 AM on March 4, 2006

My father smoked a lot of weed my whole childhood. When I was a pre-teen, I was scared. I thought he was going to be arrested or I would be taken away or something horrible would happen.

Plus, I was embarrassed. It's true, even the most liberal kids are sometimes frustrated with things that make their family different.

Also, I sort of respected him less for it. You know how you secretly lose respect for your parents when they're overweight and eat bad things? Or when they cuss? Or say borderline racist things that were, I guess, acceptable in their generation? I have a lot of respect for my father, but there is a tinge of "stupid pothead" in there somewhere. There were a few occasions where I can remember my dad being stoned and I didn't like it. It was just... pathetic. You're right, it is like alcohol. It's fun to be drunk and see your friends drunk, but if you've ever seen a drunk parent, it is embarrassing.

When I was in college, it cool to tell my friends what hippies my parents were. They were all jealous. I used it as a way to stack up the cool points. I've tried it, thought the whole thing wasn't for me, and moved on to other drugs that would make my parents cringe.

I've grown up and stopped doing those, too. I am still extremely liberal, am all for pot legalization, especially for medical purposes, but I think weed is stupid.

Your kids may end up like me... Couldn't be that bad!
posted by lalalana at 5:39 AM on March 4, 2006

What CrayDrygu said. Jail time and loss of custody aren't abstractions to your kids. They have read/watched horror stories in their health classes and might even have been quizzed on how many years you can get for possession with intent to sell.

I'd also think it's instinctively good to presume that everything which the government makes illegal is inherently bad. the past five years notwithstanding. They will learn exceptions to this basic rule as they get older, but for now it's probably freaking them out that daddy's an unrepentant criminal.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:43 AM on March 4, 2006

I want to also add that in my mind, the words "pothead" and "alcoholic" are on the same level. There is nothing wrong with parents drinking alcohol in front their kids-- maybe a glass of wine at dinner or a couple of drinks at party. As long as their kids don't see it, there is nothing wrong with them safely getting drunk now and then. There is something wrong with parents being alcoholics.

I'm not sure what "pothead" means to you, but if you really are an "unrepentent pothead," it may be worth it to just reflect a little bit on the extent of your usage.
posted by lalalana at 5:51 AM on March 4, 2006

I couldn't agree more with stupidsexyFlanders if I tried. Also, you're putting a pretty big burden on the shoulders of your children. How can they possibly have friends over, for example, if they can't trust you to not whip out the goods at any given moment? They know what you're doing is illegal - it should not be their job to protect you - it is YOUR job to protect them. That's just one of the things you signed up for when you decided to bring them into this world.
posted by jvilter at 6:03 AM on March 4, 2006

Mod note: a hunk of comments removed, keep it on topic or take it to the metatalk thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:14 AM on March 4, 2006

Your youngest is at the age my kids were at when I decided to take a break from getting high on a regular basis. Especially in their presence. I cut down on the drinking, too.
It just seemed the right thing to do as a parent.
Most certainly there is the legal aspect to consider. Not so much in that we must teach our kids that all laws are just and fair. Fuck that. Even they know better than that. Rather, it was the potential of my children watching their father being dragged-off in cuffs if some Neighborhood Watch zealot happened to catch a whiff and calls in the local law. No matter how well you balance your lessons to the kids about personal liberties and the law, being carted-off to jail will be the one lasting impression they carry of you. And it will taint their impression of you for a long long time. And, trust me, if that day ever does come, you will look like a refugee from Cops.
Of course, given your description of your kid's indoctrination (DARE, etc) it just might one of them who turns you in. It does happen.
Just lighten up on the smoke. You'll be making a much more valuable lesson about the value of moderation and self-control than the lesson you are sending now.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:19 AM on March 4, 2006

Dude, you're just running up against one of the basic differences between adults and kids. Fairness is much more important in their world than it is in yours. Not justice, not integrity — those are for grown-ups and teenagers to worry about — but straight-up fairness.

If an adult hates a rule, when he sees someone breaking it, he thinks Right on! Damn the man! But no matter how a kid feels about a rule, when he sees someone else breaking it, he still thinks No fair!

You have more than one kid, so I'm sure you've already seen this in action. If one breaks a rule and gets away with it, the other two probably get upset. Even if they think it's a totally stupid rule, they still get upset, right? And if you gave one of them special permission to break a rule all the time, the other two would get really upset. Well, that's what's going on here. As far as they can tell, you've got special permission to break the no-pot-smoking rule, and it's not fair.

Give 'em a few years. When they're teenagers, they'll be more interested in justice and all that, and the idea of an unjust rule that should be broken will make perfect sense to them.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:53 AM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Tell them they are right and that you are quitting smoking pot. Now just be very discrete and make a marijuana elixir (check out erowid .org for instructions) and have a cup of "tea" when you feel the need to indulge.
posted by TorontoSandy at 7:07 AM on March 4, 2006

Give it up while they're in the house. Otherwise you lose any leverage in any discussion in their upcoming teen years about how you want them to obey any law.

And those arguments are going to be tough enough as it is.

"I don't want you driving 55 in a 30 with your friends hanging out the window. It's dangerous. You could lose your license."

"Oh, yeah? Let's talk about marijuana, Dad."
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:07 AM on March 4, 2006

Your second sentence is wrong - if the rate is 1%, then among 100 people with a history, 1.1 will eventually develop schizophrenia. Not 2 - that's 100%.

Good God, I got my own sanctimonious math wrong.

The correct rate (at 1%) would be 1.01 people in the smoking population, not 1.1 (10%), and certainly not 2. (100%)
posted by unixrat at 7:14 AM on March 4, 2006

Just another vote to drop the pot to avoid any chance of running afoul with the law. Seriously, depending on the circumstances, the judge, etc, you could really put your kids through a nightmare experience. All it'd take would be for them to have friends over who notice "something," then go home and tell their parents, who call the police. There's even the worse scenario, your kids tell someone, the DARE Cop, the teacher, etc, about it themselves.
posted by Atreides at 7:20 AM on March 4, 2006

If you don't stop, you will have to be able to explain to your kids why it is OK for you to get stoned but wrong for them - and unlike with alcohol, you won't have the law to blame. Remember how legalistic and reductive children's sense of justice is! If you can't come up with a sensible reason that smoking pot is completely harmless for adults, who drive cars, hold jobs, and handle household emergencies, but terribly destructive for children - and I can't think of one - you will lose a signifigant part of your parental authority.
posted by nicwolff at 7:31 AM on March 4, 2006

"I don't want you driving 55 in a 30 with your friends hanging out the window. It's dangerous. You could lose your license."

"Oh, yeah? Let's talk about marijuana, Dad."

I suppose he could always point out that whether or not he smokes marijuana - driving 55 in a 30 with your friends hanging out the window is dangerous and you could lose your license.
posted by ed\26h at 7:48 AM on March 4, 2006

davidmsc writes "the legal aspect. You may think it's harmless fun, but in the eyes of the law, it is criminal. You do not want to get busted - in any capacity - and have to suffer through arrest, prosecution, possible jail time, court fees, penalties, legal costs, community service, probation, and anything else associated with being busted. And you REALLY don't want your kids to go through watching you go through that. "

My parents were alcoholics. Their drinking didn't really bother me (though it was often embarrassing and I always went to my friend's places they never came to my house) but it freaked the hell out of me when they would drive while impaired. I wasn't afraid for my own health (that whole childish invulnerability thing I guess) but I was scared they'd get busted and I'd end up living on the street. Pretty heavy thoughts for an eight year old. In your case your kids may be dealing with that fear everyday. Where I was only afraid when they were driving your kids may be afraid all the time because they know you could be busted for the evidence all around them.

You can't expect a nine year old to be able see the nuances of the differences between what should be a minor infraction at most and say grand theft auto. Under the law the penalties are the same and therefor your kids have been taught that these two crimes are equally bad (penalties match the crime). Your eight year old may be seeing a stolen car every time you leave a bowl on the coffee table. If you want to teach them about the fallibility of government use something that isn't wildly publicized as leading to years of jail time. Something that has less philosophical arguments for decriminalization than drugs. Privacy of one's person is a hard concept, many fully formed adults don't get it. Talk about copyright infringement and the damage the extensions of copyright have had on the public domain instead.

On a different note pot (just like booze) makes you stupid, when you're baked you have poor decision making skills. As the adult you should be thinking about what's going to happen if you've just smoked a bowl and your kid needs to be taken to the hospital. Even though IMO pot isn't any worse than alcohol, you rarely see people smoke in their own homes just for the act of inhaling burning plant matter. It's been my observation that unlike alcohol where there are many adults who will nurse a single beer or whiskey all night or over dinner because they either enjoy the taste or are being social; pot smokers are usually in it for the buzz. The ends rather than the means as it were.

Personally I don't think you have to make any kind of announcement, just stop indulging. Your older kids may ask you about it in which case you can talk the merits of criminalization, legalization, personal responsibility, and responsibility for offspring. Otherwise it'll just be like when you stopped bowling or playing football in the rec league.
posted by Mitheral at 7:53 AM on March 4, 2006

When I was a kid, my parents had this discussion with me: "There are good laws and there are bad laws. Good laws protect people. Breaking a bad law can be OK. Breaking a good law can't be." That, combined with a statement about how adults could assess risk in a way that kids couldn't, and that when I was an adult I could make my own decision, pretty much ended the issue, though my parents did give up smoking for quite some time (and when they resumed, they were very discreet, to the point where I didn't realize for years what was going on).
posted by klangklangston at 7:58 AM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

My advice - ignore all the self-righteous cluck-clucking of some of the people in this thread. Smoking pot is not wrong, and will not make you schizophrenic. Hell, if you lived in a different part of the country, it probably wouldn't even be an issue, as your kids' friends' parents would probably be potheads as well.

However, the pot is obviously causing trouble in your family life, and ultimately, your family should be more important. I would say cut back on the reefer until your kids are old enough to understand. You don't have to quit or anything, just become an occasional pothead instead of an everyday pothead. You have friends who smoke weed, right? Why not smoke pot at their house instead of at home?

If you must, you can keep a small stash at home along with a few choice pieces of paraphanalia, but be sure to lock it up in a lockbox and only smoke when you're sure that your kids won't catch you.

I would watch out for the legal ramifications, though. In some places, pot is considered by the police and others to be "lowest possible priority," while I believe there are still some jackass places that will try to put you in jail and fuck with your family life if you get caught.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:04 AM on March 4, 2006

I'm 21, and I smoke weed pretty regularly. This is an interesting situation. I've had experience smoking with much older acquaintances who had kids, and I can also see myself ending up in a similar scenario down the line.

I don't think you have to give it up entirely, but hide it from your kids. As other people have pointed out, they just aren't prepared to understand the types of distinctions you're making. I know I wasn't at their age.

Here's what I recommend, and what my smoking-parent friends did.

Don't let them see or smell you smoking. Don't let them know you have weed in the house. The best way to do that is to use a vaporizer. It doesn't look like any kind of paraphernalia, it doesn't produce any kind of lingering odor, and it's less damaging to your airway. I've used one plenty of times in a house with other non-smokers and it doesn't bother them at all. Plus it can make a tiny bit of weed last a really long time. An all-around excellent device.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:06 AM on March 4, 2006

You know, I wonder what this discussion would be like if this were Prohibition and we were talking about bathtub gin.

Look, you don't have to destroy your paraphernalia and never touch weed until the last kid leaves home. Just keep it out of sight. Don't smoke while they're home and awake. Treat it like you would having sex.

Looking back on my childhood, I never saw a pot pipe or anything like that around my parents, their friends, or my friends' parents, but I've since learned that a few (and I suspect a lot more) smoked pot occasionally.
posted by mkultra at 8:24 AM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

mkultra writes "I wonder what this discussion would be like if this were Prohibition and we were talking about bathtub gin."

My comments would be exactly the same. The poster is engaging in a recreational illegal activity and the illegality of it both frightening his children and putting them at risk of being without one or both parents for an extended period. It'd be different if he was stealing to put food on the table or smuggling refuggees across the boarder or something but he is exposing his children to this risk in order to have a good time.
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 AM on March 4, 2006

Definately what meatbomb said.

Maybe it's about time you taught your children to think for themselves instead of constantly deferring to "authority" figures. Of course, that works both ways (substitute the man/government's position that "pot is bad" with you, the parent's position that "pot is fine.")
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:47 AM on March 4, 2006

I remember my DARE education (15 year ago) in elementary school. I was pissed when I looked back on it when I was about 18 or 19, I'm still pissed about it today that my school and government would lie to me like that. They intentionally blur consequences of drug use my by lumping marijuana together with crack and heroine in the curriculum. You're never told that marijuana has never killed anyone and that it is really mild compared to other drugs.

You have to stop smoking around your children though. You're putting your kids in an awful position of having to lie for you. Lie? Yes, lie. You don't think they're never asked if they know anyone who does drugs in school? I know I was, and I was in the position of having to lie because I thought I had to protect my family members who did smoke pot.

Secondly, openly discuss what they know about marijuana. Ask them what they think it does and what the health risks are. You'll probably be blown away by how much disinformation they have been given. Give them accurate independent information about marijuana. Let them know that it is legal to use in some countries and how you feel about it.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 9:04 AM on March 4, 2006

Wow I sympathize. You need to pick the right balance here. I think this is where you go wrong:

I need a way to back away from my former (and, admittedly, over-vocal) marijuana advocacy

No, you don't need to go so far as "advocacy" with your kids. You probably should just be more discreet. Don't leave a bowl sitting on the counter. Close the door to the deck if you're going to smoke out there. And just generally keep it out of their notice. I think that's good form no matter what.

Your kids are not pot smokers. And with non-pot smokers, a little polite discretion is a fine thing.

They are children and not able to make nuanced moral judgments. You need to allow them to be anti-drug. That's a great way to be for kids age 9-13 (and could be MUCH worse). If you have a lifestyle element that clashes with this, you don't need to forsake it, but you might consider taking caution in exposing them to it when there's no good reason. What? You don't have a better place to keep your kit than out on the kitchen counter? Come on. That's dumb.

As they get older they will learn to make more nuanced judgments about this stuff, and you might have a chance with them eventually. It's unfortunate that the strictures of your puritannical society have invaded your home, but right now those kids are just trying to learn how to live out in that society. They're just not ready for the kind of critical thinking you're asking from them.
posted by scarabic at 9:08 AM on March 4, 2006

I think we've reached (passed actually) the point in the thread where the owner/asker has to participate by giving some direction & guidance as to which answers he likes, otherwise it's gonna keep on meandering off in many directions. Anonymous?
posted by scalefree at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2006

The poster is engaging in a recreational illegal activity and the illegality of it both frightening his children and putting them at risk of being without one or both parents for an extended period.

You're not the first person to say something like this, but I really have to wonder what it is you're basing this risk assessment on. Smoking weed by yourself or with a couple of other people in your own home seems like it presents a negligible risk of trouble with the law.

If you grow or sell, smoke in public, possess huge quantities of weed, or carry significant amounts around with you, it's a different story, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2006

I don't have time to read this whole thread to see if anyone has pointed this out, so I want to point out that your kids could easily freak out, talk to a teacher in school, and get you busted. I would tell them that they were right, that you're gonna stop smoking, then only smoke when they are not around. In a few years it won't be a big deal and they'll smoke with you. Right now, you are taking a huge risk.

Good luck.
posted by tcobretti at 9:12 AM on March 4, 2006

I had a parent that smoked pot and one who didn't. We lived in a rural area so I didn't think about the legality thing too much, but every once in a while they'd have a party and two things would happen

1. the non-smoking parent would get all huffy about that fact that people were smoking pot and the fact that it was a bone of contention between my parents made things suck. I found it hard to get good information about pot because one parent was like "oh it's no big deal" and one was like "well I haven't tried it but I don't like that your other parent does it" If you've tried to check a library for sound information on drugs you'll know it's pretty tough to find a way to get an opinion that doesn't sound like it's pressing hard to convince you of one side or the other. The illegal nature of pot makes it hard for kids to talk to other kids about it, which makes it worse.

2. People would go squirrel away places to get high so I'd do something normal like go into the basement and there would be people toking up who would all of the sudden get very very weird acting. I didn't know this was because of the situation, but it was scary to me and I didn't know if I could ask my parents about it. As I got older I figured it out (and I don't smoke much myself, though I have on occasion) but that whole cliquey nature of pot smokers can be odd to a kid who thinks of the family as his or her clique.

I'm not sure if my parent still smokes. Once I got old enough to be experimenting myself, I found that I could pretty easily take pot from my parent's stash without suffering any repercussions and after that, my parent either stopped smoking or hid the stash better. My friends thought it was cool that I had a parent who smoked, but I didn't think it was particularly cool, it just made me more of a freak which wasn't really something I wanted to be in high school. I did get the "just because I do it doesn't mean you should do it" lecture which I always thought was total bullshit. I think a better approach would be some sort of acknowledgement that as your kids age and the family gets older together, some ways of bhaving and acting become less acceptable [to you, to the school, to your kids, to whomever] and you can taper off, save it for special occasions and have honest discussions with your kids when it does come up.
posted by jessamyn at 9:14 AM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Your kids will probably grow out of it, but right now they are too young to understand your point of view. Tell them you understand what they are saying, and hide it from them so they can't continue to bring it up.
posted by Packy_1962 at 9:34 AM on March 4, 2006

Alcohol is not like pot. I mean, effects wise -- yes very much so and pot is several times less toxic. But see, society approves of drinking, it's several factors more prevelant and accepted than smoking pot.

My point is that there are subtle social distinctions that kids can't make. It's obviously causing undue worry, and you have the very real problem of one of your kids bragging in the lunchroom and someone school marm overhears that you have the chronic and are *gasp* smoking it. They simply lack the experience and higher cognitive functions to ration out that our government and society makes some silly, arbitrary moral distinctions. If marijuana were free, legal and accepted this would be no problem whatsover. It's not and you kind of have to deal with it, play the game.
posted by geoff. at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2006

I had two kids, and they knew I smoked, although there were aware there were medical issues involved. I did not smoke in front of them. (That was a simpler, gentler era.)

Now one of the children smokes occasionally, and the other never, but she's anti-smoking of any kind.

The anti-smoking one required chemo, and I asked if she could get gr*ss. She reminded me she lived in Seattle. (Point taken.) I asked if she could actually stand to smoke it in a pinch, and she tells me that she smoked it once, with a worldly-wise air. I was pretty impressed, and asked who fed her the stuff. There was a long silence, and she said I had. Apparently, I had given her and her girlfriend access to it when she was in her late teens. (Oops.) That said, I gave her and her friend access to "wine coolers" when they were in their middle teens. I also allowed them access to R rated porn once in a while. The theory I was operating under was, I didn't want drinking to be a big thing when they got that old and I didn't want them to end up fumbling around under sexual circumstances out of curiosity. I have to assume the theory for why I gave her gr*ss was that she'd recognize it if it happened later. (Sorry, I do not remember this incident.)

All of this wasn't a big deal to the kids and the theory I was using worked out well. That was a different era. I have to say a couple of things here. One is that when you go trying out child-rearing theories on your own kids, you need to be aware that this an experiment you will not learn the results of for 20 years. If you are not willing to accept that risk, you should probably go with main-stream theories. Two, if you are wrong, you won't find out for 20 years, and by then, it'll be too late to fix it.

This was a different era, different times, and kids are trained from pre-school on now that the right thing is to rat out anybody who uses drugs, including parents. I'd have to think differently if I were raising them now.
posted by deep_cover at 11:19 AM on March 4, 2006

It seems selfish to me to continue smoking pot recreationally knowing that your kids are concerned. One of my parents is a pothead, and it seems that most of the adults in my family are also potheads, but they also have the discretion to hide it (somewhat) from the younger kids. I remember when I was 13, one of my parents' friends got busted for growing- lost custody of his kids, his house, and almost his business. He wasn't even growing for selling, he just liked to have a huge stash.

Anyhow... when I found out my parent smoked, I lost a lot of respect. It's hard to see an authority figure doing things you perceive as wrong. I lost even more respect when they got angry at me for admitting to having tried pot when I was 16. My non-smoking parent called the other a hypocrite, and well... it's just added to a really odd family dynamic. I know my brother smokes, and it's fine because he's an adult. I don't mind my parent smoking now either, but it really bugged me when I figured it out when I was a kid.

Kids need some structure to learn from, and it's the job for the parent to guide them responsably.
posted by kendrak at 11:37 AM on March 4, 2006

I wonder if some of the kids, especially the older ones, might have heard horror stories of families being busted up due to parents going to jail on drug charges. And I wonder whether their nagging might be in some part due to anxiety about that, and feelings of being unloved that you'd sooner risk that possibility than go without marijuana.

Our society is collectively insane when it comes to marijuana. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn't change the legal risks.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:41 AM on March 4, 2006

But see, society approves of drinking, it's several factors more prevelant and accepted than smoking pot.

This does not an argument make, as it again defers to authority (the authority of numbers). Yes, society approves of alcohol and tsk-tsk's pot, but this has less to do with the nature of the beasts in question, and more to do with society's dim view on breaking the codes it agrees upon.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking does not allow one to make a good judgement, any more than it would determine the length of the Chinese emperor's nose.

Groupthinking your life like this leads to all sorts of bad decisions. Such as legalizing a dangerous poison like alcohol while maintaining pot's illegality...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:42 AM on March 4, 2006

I haven't read the whole thread, but:

I'm 25, and was homeschooled by potsmoking hippy parents on a goat farm. Growing up, I'd go with my dad to his friend's house where the friend had a whole room full of special tomatoes under halogen lights. It wasn't until I was about 12 that I realized those plants I'd seen (& saw around the farm on occasion) looked suspiciously like marajuana. It was really hard for me to deal with because it conflicted with all my previous indoctrination (through girlscouts, etc) about the terribleness of drugs, and sometimes I'd see a police officer and be terrified that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from telling him my dad was breaking the law. (I never did.)

I was pretty conflicted about it for maybe a year, but since my dad kept doing the same things I'd always seen him doing (toking around me, but also behaving just like he always had: a good dad), eventually it receeded into the background & I didn't really think much of it. Now the different smells of pot smoke evoke poignant memories of different times in childhood. It's very charming.

And, for what it's worth, I get high a few times a year--certainly less than ten--and have never had any drug/alcohol problems. Otherwise I turned out to be a pretty decent person with a good education, good job, & hippy politics. I'm not schitzophrenic yet, either.
posted by soviet sleepover at 11:52 AM on March 4, 2006

I want to point out that your kids could easily freak out, talk to a teacher in school, and get you busted. I would tell them that they were right, that you're gonna stop smoking, then only smoke when they are not around.

This was my first thought when you posted this. When I found out my dad smoked pot immediately my mom told me that if I needed to talk about it, to talk to her instead of any authority figures. It helped because I never saw my mom get high (though she did), so I figured I had an impartial parent.
posted by soviet sleepover at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2006

I think this is a difficult thing, because well-intentioned and ill-intentioned public messages about drugs in general and pot in particular are very confusing, and then your kids are expected to somehow integrate these messages with your private family life.

I don't know what you should do. I am pretty sure, however, that you need to look at your kids' nagging as an expression of deep and true love for you. Kids can be very black-and-white, because they don't understand everything; and they can decide in their minds what's best for you, based on their childish view of the world; but giving enough of a crap to try to convince you to agree with them? That's evidence that they love you and want you to be healthy and happy and morally good (from their perspective).

So, whatever you do, go gently. I am in favor of carefully worded, loving discussions and explanations, but I don't know your kids.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:49 PM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I think the least mentioned issue here is possibly the most important. And that is the issue of respect.

If your kids are unhappy with you smoking pot, then you really should stop. By dismissing your kids' opinions you're showing that you don't respect them. And in turn they'll begin to disrespect you.

Also, I think kids should be given more credit. Kids don't need scientific evidence to see that something that their parents are doing is doing them no good. I know when I was a kid I didn't take anything I learnt at face value.

Frankly, neither you or the government or informed enough about drugs to make a real decision as to whether it's healthy/unhealthy or should be legal/illegal.

But if I had kids, I know that I'd love them enough to give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by iamcrispy at 1:01 PM on March 4, 2006

As a grade schooler, I bought into all the propaganda and became concerned because my parents had a glass of wine or two with dinner. I thought that it might make them alcoholics. It made me quite scared that these people, who had absolute authority in my life, might not be trustworthy.

But after seeing other adults drinking a glass or two of wine,I realized it wasn't a big deal. If I'd wanted to, I could have talked to adults I trusted, and they could tell me that my parents were completely normal. Your kids, though, probably aren't going to see people outside the family smoking pot, and they can't talk to anyone else about it.
posted by transona5 at 2:24 PM on March 4, 2006

If your kids are unhappy with you smoking pot, then you really should stop. By dismissing your kids' opinions you're showing that you don't respect them.

Boy, is that a dumb response. So transona5's parents should have stopped drinking wine because transona5 was unhappy with it? My father should have stopped working for the government because I was unhappy with it? You have to do every damn thing your kids want because otherwise "you're showing that you don't respect them"? Right.

It seems to me ikkyu2 gave (as usual) just the right response.
posted by languagehat at 3:48 PM on March 4, 2006 [2 favorites]

In case you are still following this thread, here is a very simple answer.

Respect your children's space. Period. They don't want to see you naked, or smoking pot, or anyother "digusting" crap. Would you leave a dildo laying around? Probably not.

I get the DARE crap from my kids too, because I occasionally smoke and drink wine. It sucks. I own this damn house and I'll do what I want, BUT I respect their space, I don't smoke in the house or around them.

That's all, but also, you must love your kids or you wouldn't be asking, so good for you and your family! Good luck.

This is a great question too BTW.
posted by snsranch at 4:24 PM on March 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Just to echo: The worst case scenario is you're deemed "unfit parents," and you lose your kids. Terribly tramatic experience for all, chances are on top of losing your kids, you'd lose your hobby, for various reasons. Stop or be discrete; If your kids care enough to broach the subject, surely they'll notice that you aren't doing it. When they ask, explain how important they are, and that they come first. That said:

The apple hardly falls far from the tree. Realistically, you can resume these activities once the oldest child is capable of understanding adult situations. The eldest is typically looked up to by siblings, if you've got their support, your younger children will follow.
posted by AllesKlar at 5:32 PM on March 4, 2006

Boy, is that a dumb response. So transona5's parents should have stopped drinking wine because transona5 was unhappy with it? My father should have stopped working for the government because I was unhappy with it?

Boy, is that a dumb response.

Anonymous' kids have reason to not want their parents to smoke dope, because it's what's called "illegal". Just having some whoop de doo problem with your dad working for the government is hardly grounds for him to quit his source of income is it?

Wine is a different matter, but put simply if they were actually alcoholics, then yes, they should have made the effort to stop. Otherwise alcohol in moderation is hardly as destructive or illegal is it?
posted by iamcrispy at 5:54 PM on March 4, 2006

iamcrispy, you're either taking the piss or you're the Jack Abramof of kid lobbyists. Give kids the "credit" and "respect" to dictate what their parents can drink or smoke. That'd be like letting the Attorney General decide when it's okay to tap phone wires. Parenthood will host a bevy of learning experiences for you, sir.
posted by squirrel at 9:07 PM on March 4, 2006

Otherwise alcohol in moderation is hardly as destructive or illegal is it?

Hell yeah! You tell 'em, son.

Just last week, I heard about this guy guy who smoked a blunt, headed on home and beat up his wife. Smacked a few kids around too.

Oh, wait. It wasn't weed? He had a few beers. No problem... at least ain't against the law.
posted by cedar at 10:10 PM on March 4, 2006

Your kids think you’re drug addicts because, based on your description here (one that includes friends and family), you are.

Children have a right to a smoke-free environment, among other things.
posted by joeclark at 7:05 AM on March 5, 2006

Nothing the poster said indicates, or even suggests, that he or she is addicted to drugs, joeclark. Take your soap box down to Mission and 16th.

As many here have pointed out, the poster's behavior is no more personally harmful or dangerous than having a few beers in the evening. As I see it, the only problem that the kids have is living in the context of misinformed antidrug hysteria, such as yours.

I think that most of the people posting things here in support of "listening to the children" are selectively arguing this position because it supports their own bias. If I posted a worry that my kids didn't want me to, for example, go to church or to vote Republican, these same advocates would have a different position on listening to children.
posted by squirrel at 9:15 AM on March 5, 2006

I don't have kids (thank the FSM), but I was raised by some extremely tolerant parents (who did not smoke pot). And I've had close relationships with folks whose parents definitely smoked pot.

Here's my advice: say something along the lines of "you don't have to worry about me smoking grass anymore" and then keep it totally hidden from them. Perhaps you should only smoke at friends' houses? Sneak around like a sixteen year old (talk to some friends with less tolerant parents to figure out the tricks, or there's some good stuff upthread). How did you hide it in college? If you're good at maintaining, perhaps you could just go out for a walk and have a smoke.

Definitely keep in mind that your smoking puts you at risk for being busted. This could have disasterous effects on your children if you get carted off to jail, even without mixing in the fact that you're gay. But, if you live someplace fairly tolerant (San Francisco, NYC, Seattle, etc.), this may not be an issue.

Then you need to explain to your children that sometimes the government is not looking out for your best interests. Explain that research can be skewed. Give them the tools to think critically about society and authority. These are mental skills they absolutely must have.

Then, once they've matured a bit (say, all teenagers at least), return to smoke as you did before.
posted by Netzapper at 9:52 AM on March 5, 2006

I am pro-choice on drug use so long as my choice is respected to the utmost. However, our anonymous friend wrote “I’m an unrepentant pothead, as are my friends and family. We’ve been at it for decades – generations, even – [and] it’s not changing anytime soon.” I don’t see any functional distinction between that state and drug addiction.

Marijuana smoke is harmful enough that it causes second-hand intoxication and can show up in a tox screen. Just ask Ross Rebagliati.
posted by joeclark at 10:33 AM on March 5, 2006

Cedar, Thanks for taking my post out of context there. I've never heard of someone drinking in moderation, and then beating up their wife because of it. In the case of anonymous, if they were infact arrested, that would be destructive, no?

I can't believe how defensive most people are about this subject. Really, I couldn't care less if anyone smokes pot socially, or on their own, the vast majority of my friends do. People can do what they want, but I would never, ever subject children to drugs/drug use of any kind. It's something that young children shouldn't have to deal with. Once they get a bit older it's not so much of an issue.

The least anonymous should do hide the drug use away from the children. But stopping all together is simply the better idea.
posted by iamcrispy at 11:19 AM on March 5, 2006

Weird as a kid I always thought of DARE as free advertising for drug dealers...
posted by matimer at 11:21 AM on March 5, 2006

Civil_Disobedient, you missed my entire point and went off on some tangent about groupthink and the Chinese. Society disproves of marijuana use and makes it seem heathen. As I stated, I personally do not agree with this view, but that does not change anything. My point was that as adults we are able to make such distinctions and it's not such a big deal to sort the differing messages and discover issues are not black and white. Like others stated above, they had similar experiences (I used to think that my mom's drinking and driving with coffee was bad, as did I think that relatives smoking would fall flat dead from a horrible death any minute).

It's horrible that the current thinking is to scare kid's to death, because some substance is bad that having them fear it irrationally is better than the alternative. I remember catching some friend's parents smoking marijuana when I was young, they simply stated it was tobacco and I was none the wiser. It wasn't until more than a decade later I realized that the smell of marijuana was the exact same thing. If I had known back then I would have probably freaked out and told everyone, I mean an 8 year old who's lead to believe that people who do drugs are the pedophiles in overcoats that hang around parks. Surely anonymous' kids are brought up with the same thinking (I even had liberal parents who definitely did not fill my mind with scare stories). At my age, if my parents smoked I'd be completely supportive and know how to deal with it. At 8 I would have been incredibly confused. In a perfect world children can parse such differences but that is not the case.

I don't think it's too much to ask for anonymous to be discrete about such matters until his children are adults. Why create unnecessary resentment and angst?
posted by geoff. at 2:22 PM on March 5, 2006

However, our anonymous friend wrote “I’m an unrepentant pothead, as are my friends and family. We’ve been at it for decades – generations, even – [and] it’s not changing anytime soon.” I don’t see any functional distinction between that state and drug addiction.

That's ridiculous. Nothing that anonymous said indicated much one way or the other about addiction.

I'm really surprised that no one else had anything to say about vaporizers. I want to point out again that if your chosen solution is to try and be more discreet, I don't think there's any better way to do it.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:43 AM on March 6, 2006

Maybe your kid will bring it to show and tell and you'll get busted. Is it worth it? Secondly, do you want your kids to grow up to be "unrepentant potheads"?
posted by cass at 1:06 PM on March 7, 2006

(Also, I hope you are not getting stoned and then driving.)
posted by cass at 1:11 PM on March 7, 2006

Secondly, do you want your kids to grow up to be "unrepentant potheads"?

If he's a successful, happy, unrepentant pothead, he probably doesn't give a shit. Good answer, though; maybe we could start yet another MeTa thread.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:19 PM on March 7, 2006

(Also, I hope you are not getting stoned and then driving.)

File that under D, for "Duh".
Hardly the point of his question, church lady.
posted by squirrel at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2006

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