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Talking to kids about my friend Mary J.?

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#1 Again and Again

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:23 PM


My parents never smoked a cigarette, so I'm coming from a sheltered area in this regard. My son is almost 5. He started noticing the funny smell and goofiniess probably around age 3. Somewhere between 3 and 4 he caught mommy smoking a one-ie, and asked "what are you doing" to which she replied "smoking" and I quickly brought him back to bed. In day care they teach him that smoking is very bad, so he was a bit confused. When he asked on occasion, we stressed that we don't smoke cigarettes ever, but once in a while we have a tiny bit to smoke for grownups. But not cigarettes.

More recently he's noticed us sneaking away at concerts and coming back smelling, and hes wanted to follow us to see it, which we didn't allow. We started reading this book to him http://www.justaplan...tory/index.html

Its pretty good. Starts off about the plant, and then diverts his attention to how laws work and how laws can be changed. He likes the book and asks for it a little too often for my tastes. But I read it to him when he asks.

So here's my question: How did your parents teach you about it? How do you teach your kids about it?

I want to be honest, but I don't want to frighten him or confuse him or make him sad. Also, I don't want him telling the world about it!

#2 Occifer Boland

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:38 PM

Your last sentence is the main thing to worry about.. I have been a substance abuse counselor at a school for 12 years..(ironic job for what i do on weekends and at festivals). but it's my personal experiences that help these kids... Anyway.. there is nothing wrong with being up front with your kids about it. Obviously, the younger the age, they are not going to completely grasp it. And with all the Anit-Drug stuff that is all over schools, it still may confuse him.. using that book from the link you provided is a GREAT start.. Just have to be careful that he doesn't go saying things in school about what mommy and daddy are smoking.. other parents may flip out.. or best case; other parents may come to you to ask the same questions you are asking

#3 Occifer Boland

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:45 PM

..one more thing.. for my personal experiences.. i , unfortunately, can't talk to my son much about it because my wife is anti-smoke.. For you, that's a plus that both of you part-take in the activity. My wife doesn't even want to know when i am doing it.

#4 ashleyoverdrive

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:25 PM

I want to be honest, but I don't want to frighten him or confuse him or make him sad. Also, I don't want him telling the world about it!

Like Occifer Boland said, I totally agree with this bit. I can see your dilemma about wanting to be honest but not wanting to scare him or cause any other negative emotions. I think the story book is an excellent way to go about it! It's a fantastic way to explain it to him in the simplest terms possible. How I see it, he'll grow up thinking that the presence of Miss Mary Jane in any household is the norm. As long as you let him know that it's a personal choice and not every parent does it [and to not talk about this personal choice with other people], I think you'll be okay.

My dad was pretty open with me about his adventures in high school & college as a stoner and I appreciated that honesty instead of him trying to deny it or cover it up in any way. It made it a lot easier to talk to him when I myself was in high school and coming across those same substances. Again, I feel that talking to your son about it, with the picture book or without, is an A+ move, because he'll know to come to you with any questions instead of talking to his friends or teachers who might not understand.

Long story short: Keep being open with him about it, keep him informed, love the book, and keep it up with him as he becomes older! :bigsmile:

#5 fire_rocket

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 04:08 PM

I have no advice for you as I don't know how I'm going to handle it someday. My 5 yo daughter has come downstairs before (when she was supposed to be in bed, of course) and just said that it smells like cigarettes and was gross. Eh... I'll probably wait a few years before I bring it up her.

#6 TEO



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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:02 PM

Do kids still get D.A.R.E. certificates after training in school these days?

#7 ashleyoverdrive

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:09 PM

Do kids still get D.A.R.E. certificates after training in school these days?

I did, and I got a nifty t-shirt that I proceeded to designate as my "hair dying" shirt come high school haha. DARE was good about teaching me all about drugs...and how to identify them...and where to buy them...
Ironically, the classroom that we had our DARE lessons in belonged to the teacher who smoked like a chimney.

#8 bigtoddy

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:24 PM

Can't help you with the little kids, but the teenagers I've taken a "Not now" approach. I truly believe that its not good for the developing brain and that it hurts their development socially, emotionally, and otherwise mentally. There's plenty of time to do this stuff when your brain is settled in.
I've always taught honesty is the best policy, and I practice what I preach. On top of that, my issues with distrusting authority all stem from the lies they told me about this, I don't want to be part of the problem.
They're old enough to keep their mouths shut out and about, as they have friends and acquaintances who are doing much worse and understand the dynamics of law enforcement (the are not your friends).

#9 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 12:25 AM

That is a GREAT book - good find!

Be very careful about your kid talking to others about this. I have known someone who had the Children's Aide called on them after their kid mentioned that their parents smoked. People sometimes get way too involved trying to do the "right thing" and inadvertently tear apart a functioning family for the silliest reasons.

Not sure how you can communicate that this has to be a secret, b/c secrets are so tempting to share when you are a kid - it's surely a sticky sort of situation.

Best of fortune with it all!

#10 gregoir

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:23 AM

As an educator I would suggest taking a drugs are bad stance with your kids at the age they are. They are young and while you may want them to have a certain point of view you don't want them talking about what mommy and daddy do in school. It can lead to trouble. As they grow older it would probably be a wiser time to address the topic.

#11 Eco

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:52 AM

Good topic! While I'm a closet smoker, I will come clean if confronted by my kids. It's a natural herb for adults that lets them cure ailments along with meditating to be closer to Jah/god whatever you call him. My kids have smelt it since they were born since almost all of my neighbors walk around smoking......

Along the same note, it seems like most of the neighborhood kids started at 12 years old and I really don't want kids to start at that age....but better than finding them with a bottle or a needle.

#12 Mama Kel

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:10 PM

I've addressed it as like beer or wine, it's something for adults and left it at that. I rarely smoke these days & don't think my kids have seen me. I usually wait till their asleep b/c I'm a lightweight these days & it kicks my ass! :lol: but I do smoke cigs after a few beers & they've seen that. Frank smokes cigars when having a few beers too.

Cate is getting old enough that it bothers her so I try to hide it. I really should fully quit the cigs :( But my approach to all of it is, that adults can eat, drink, smoke things that kids can't (soda also falls into this category! :lol:) . Keep it simple for a 5 year old. I grew up in a strict Irish Catholic house where explanations were not necessary for kids, things were not 'taught' or explained to me. So no reference there.

You can encourage the difference between public info & private family info. But I can tell you as an Early Childhood teacher, we know almost everything! :afro:

Good luck

#13 sarah b.

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:06 AM

What gregoir said. Kids talk about stuff, and you don't need DYFS coming after you because you wanted to be honest w/your tyke.