I awakened to a news report that marijuana usage is up by 80% in the United States–most of the increase is by teenage boys.
The report went on to say that parents are “looking the other way.” The young users see their forage into the experimental world as less risky than using alcohol.
With the usage of marijuana in early, formative years, there is a much higher probability of increased drug use in later years, according to the research.
Survey: U.S. sees uptick in youth pot usage (washingtontimes.com)
This is what I know from my years of working with all ages of kids.
- The younger the child that uses mind seducing drugs (including alcohol), the higher the risk for continued practice of using drugs to eliminate or get relief from the reality of feelings and actions. Here’s a story of a child who I worked with years ago: I met and worked with “L” when he was 12 years old. He had been using alcohol since he was 10. With parental knowledge. By 12, he was increasing his alcohol usage and had started to experiment with other drugs. His goal was to alleviate feelings of inadequacy in every realm of his life. It was easier to escape into the world of drugs than to learn how to cope with emotional stressers. L was an alcoholic. L was on his way to quickly go beyond the usage of pot to greater impacting drugs. L saw his world from a very different perspective than most adults would ever guess, as he seemed “cool” and “charming.”
- Almost every kid I ever worked with, who had a drug issue, had started out by sipping alcohol, with parental knowledge. As they matured into adolescents and wanted to retain their status within their peer group, they began to use easily obtained pot. By the time I saw the kid, grades, friends, motivation, emotionality, perception of reality were all severely impacted. Typically the adolescent had “given up” trying to find that within themselves that wanted to succeed in an culturally approved manner. These kids often had an increased determination to “fight” to continue to cocoon themselves away from the “real world.”
- I don’t work with adults, other than to work with parents on behalf of their children, so I don’t have stories to tell about adults who started using as children. What I do know, from my personal life, is that I’ve known adults who learned at an early age how to numb their feelings with drugs–gradually pulling themselves into a world that can not be faced in reality, but related to through a haze of drugs (remember alcohol is a part of the drug world).
- Our drug-related US culture encourages people to use both legal and illegal drugs. (A baby is born every hour in the US addicted to opiates. We are learning and practicing how to dull our pain, both physical and emotional with drugs.)
As parents, we must realize that drug usage is often not a Rite of Passage, but rather a Port of Passage. We must mentor with our own actions and use our parental loving care and authority to teach our kids how to face the emotional realities of life without the use of numbing drugs.
Be gentle with yourself and your children.