Stories about: talking to teens about drinking and drugs

Lead by example or lie? How to talk to your kids about past drug use

Worried that 'do as I say, not as I did,' is hypocritical parenting? Some experts would disagree.

Imagine you just caught your 16 year-old smoking pot. The yelling and grounding threats have quieted, but the tension in the room remains heavy.

“You just don’t understand how it is,” she mumbles without making eye contact.

“Yes I do… and that’s the problem,” you respond, almost immediately regretting it.

“Why, did you smoke pot when you were my age,” your daughter asks, looking directly at you for the first time in over an hour.

Your heart skips a beat. Suddenly the conversation has taken a whole new direction. Since she was old enough to understand the concept, you’ve strived for total honesty from your child. In return, you’ve tried to be as frank and open with her as you could. Now you’re presented with a moral dilemma you weren’t prepared for: do you lie about having smoked pot as a teenager so as to not justify her behavior, or admit to it and risk looking like a hypocrite?

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