How would you respond if you found out your daughter was taking party drugs?
My first thing would be to make an effort to not overreact. Then I would sit down with her and talk about the experience and her desire to take drugs.
Was it experimenting or because of peer pressure? Was it a one off or a regular thing? I would put forward all the scenarios and risks and then encourage my daughter to decide for herself.
I understand that being a teenager is a time to experiment and try new things, but the consequences also have to be taken into account. My own girls are only young at the moment but I will encourage them to ask questions and find out about drugs before (and hopefully rather than) trying for themselves.
I hope I will also teach them to look inside their hearts and question why they choose what they do. I hope they might grow up to think about how their actions impact the people around them. I hope they will know deep down there is so much more in this life for them that they won't want to risk their vibrant, precious life for 'just a bit of fun'.
That’s tough news to hear – I think I’d need a long walk and some space to think! It’s hard to see someone you love doing something so, so dangerous for a short term high. It’s hard to watch choices being made that will be regretted later.
I hope I would say something like...
“I’m your Dad, I love you, nothing can change that. So I need to know how and why you’re doing this. I can’t sit by and watch you make bad choices without raising the issue with you.
Can you stop for a moment and consider where this ends up? Can you see how you’ll look back on this in the future? Can you see the damage this does? If not, maybe we need to do some reading or talk to some people who really know what these drugs do to people.
Not everything that looks and feels great at the beginning ends up that way, I just hope you can believe me when I say that. I’m not going to try to control you, since you’re close to being an adult, but while you’re living in my house we do need to come to an agreement about some boundaries. So let’s talk it through, and we promise we’ll do all we can to help you move past this.”
I have lived a life without using or experimenting with any illegal or party drugs, so I don't have personal experience of the destructive force drugs can have. However, a lot of the guys I went to school with used all sorts of drugs and some of them were heavy users. I know that within this group are people who have struggled to get or to hold a job, people who have never realised their life dreams, people with medical problems, people who have died or committed suicide. So I do know the impact drugs can have on someone’s life and the lives of their family and friends – it is devastating!
I can't force anybody to do anything but I would strongly urge you to take a close look at the risks involved. It's an interesting observation that all my mates at school, without exception, when we would talk about it on Mondays (after they had partied all weekend), would say, "I wish I had the strength to do what you do and not even start or try these drugs."
No mate ever told me I had made a mistake with my choice. I also have some friends who are police and the stories they have told me about the devastation and destructive power of drugs – including party drugs, are incredibly sad. I have never regretted my decision and when we had these Monday conversations peer pressure on me was really non existent. I have only heard of regret and disappointment from those I have known who have gone down this path, PLEASE don't follow them – it is NOT worth it.