Wanna Bet?

Which of the following responses seems more likely?

1) "OK, mom. I'll turn off 'Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, Blood, Blood, Blood, Kill, Kill, Kill.' Gosh, have I been playing for 20 minutes already? I want to practice my bassoon then I want to get ahead on my school work for next week. I think my teacher may be going on to Chapter 10 and I don't want to be unprepared for her lecture on the Spanish Inquisition. You know how I like to read the chapter a couple times before we start to learn about it in class. Thanks for the gentle reminded. Love you. I'll make dinner later so you can get some much deserved rest."

2) "What do you mean I have to turn off 'Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, Blood, Blood, Blood, Kill, Kill, Kill' and finish my homework? I have not been playing for nine consecutive hours! Nine hours? Are you kidding? I totally took a break to look at some Internet pornography and smoke some pot. You don't think those activities take time and attention, you stupid wretch? Nine hours? What is wrong with you? If you won't let me play 'Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, Blood, Blood, Blood, Kill, Kill, Kill' I'll drink poison. It's all your fault anyway; I hate you."

How about these two?

1) "No, thank you, one beer is plenty. I want to get down to the homeless shelter to get in some more volunteer hours before meeting with my study group and besides I'm underage."

2) "One more beer won't kill me. I drank 13 beers last Saturday before crashing my car into a tree and ending up in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning and a police record."

Think these examples are polemics? Think this is the "Law of the Excluded Middle" and that there aren't kids at these extremes? Think I don't see examples of both kids in my office every week?

Where does Kayla get the idea that she can skip school and meet friends at her parents' home during the day to drink beer and smoke pot? Is Kayla like Athena, born out of the brain of Zeus? Did she get this idea ab ovo?

Or is it more likely that there was a precedent, that somewhere along the line a little problem grew slowly and steadily into a bigger one? How many snowflakes does it take to cause an avalanche? Most IV drug abusers started their illegal drug use with marijuana but the majority of marijuana smokers never go on to IV drugs. Both statements are true. How are you going to invest your limited influence with your children when they're still old enough to listen?

Here is some simple, straight forward, directed advice regarding marijuana and beer for your kids: Zero Tolerance. No drugs or alcohol before age 25.

Sure lots of kids smoke pot and grow up to be successful doctors, lawyers, butchers, bakers and candle stick makers. But is that the smart way to bet?

Think of talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol as a negotiation. Start with zero. Zero is a good number. "We have a zero tolerance policy in our home regarding drugs and alcohol. Any questions?"

"But all the other kids are drinking."

"Yes, I've heard that and I believe that's true." You may wish to pause here for dramatic effect. "But in our family that's not how we do things."

I'd be interested in your input. If you were able to bring up children to be drug and alcohol free, tell us what you did that you think effected that result.

As always, I'll look forward to your responses.

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