If you have a child entering or in middle school or in high school this is a conversation you need to be having. Right along with drugs, alcohol, and any other number of dangerous things the choking game is killing kids. More and more every day.
The appeal of a “natural high” the ones that don’t require money or shady deals in back alleys is sometimes more appealing to suburban kids. Particularly ones from Christian families who are afraid of the impact on their family if they engaged in illegal activities. I say that last piece anecdotally after hearing of three local kids either killed or caught who come from well-to-do, Christian suburban families. One, who sadly died, was actually home schooled.
A lot of us have this tendency to say, “not my kid,” when it comes to illegal drug use, alcohol intoxication, shop-lifting or whatever the bad-behavior du jour is. That tendency is wrong. As parents it is our responsibility not just to protect our children from things that will hurt them, but educate them as well. And “because I said so,” does not count as education. Why don’t people have these open lines of communication? Any number of reasons. Denial, the “not my kid” attitude that accompanies a parent who falsely believes that their parenting alone has instilled good values or “the fear of God” in their kid that allows them to deny themselves the belief that their child could ever succumb to any worldly pleasure. Fear, the “I’m not comfortable talking about this with my kid” attitude that leaves kids confused and risks them trusting same age peers more than their parents. Those are probably the two most common. No parent should believe they are so good at raising their children that said children will never stray from the chosen path. Our children are still in possession of free will and can choose to use it when a parent least expects it. And the only thing I have to say for fear is we need to get over it. A lot of parts of parenting are uncomfortable. This is part of the deal. We don’t get to pick and choose a lot of things. And my fear of communicating openly is trumped by fear of putting my child in a casket before I leave this earthly life for something that was entirely preventable.
We cannot claim to live in a vacuum. We can’t say, “well I homeschool, I’m exempt.” Or, “I send my kids to Catholic school, this is a public school problem.” This is an every family, every child issue. Of course it’s up to each set of parents or parent to decide when it is an appropriate conversation, but deciding it’s entirely inappropriate is not a responsible approach. If you listen to that report, the pain in the mother of the dead twelve-year-old’s voice is palpable. She had no idea. She never imagined anything so horrible would happen to anyone she knew much less to her own child. She is now committed to helping prevent it happening to another child. Another family. Please take time to read and listen to the report. Please consider how you will have the conversation with your children. Please don’t be the family that says, “not my kid,” until it is too late.