How To Raise Your Daughter To Be A Drug Free Designated Driver

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I would imagine that being a parent of teenagers only grows more terrifying with each passing year and season of Pretty Little Liars. The world is basically one giant electric socket for your teen to stick a fork into, and teens seem to just run around with forks in hand, ready to get shocked. That analogy sounded better in my head–maybe I stuck too many forks into too many sockets in my teen years.

I’ve seen enough Lifetime movies titled something along the lines of It Only Takes One Time: The Jaime Lipshutz Story to know that drugs are quite possibly the most exciting things on earth for your teens (outside of oral sex and sexting, duh), and they’re also the MOST DANGEROUS. Don’t think I don’t understand gateway drugs. I know about the slippery slope.

Luckily, however, I did not fall victim to the slippery slope; that gateway was firmly closed to me. In high school, I was the person you called to pick you up. Want to experiment with hallucinogenics? Call me if you’re flipping out–I’ll be sober as a judge. I wasn’t one of those straight edge kids because I had friends and was not a big dweeb, but I just didn’t get involved with any of that drug life the kids were in on. My high school drinking was pretty tame (with one notable exception involving offering blow jobs to most people in a room–they elegantly declined). It wasn’t a conscious decision, but instead the accidental result of my parents’ unorthodox approach to that whole drug thing. If you want to raise a drug free, designated driver, you can follow their four easy steps.

Step 1. Give Your Children Crippling Anxiety

As my sister deadpans, “If you want your kids to avoid drugs, give them the gift of anxiety. Then, they’ll never have fun.” It’s true. Through a mix of nature and nurture, we were bred to revile fun and instead enjoy things like hyperventilating or obsessing. Being anxious meant being too afraid to try new things, because we believed that any new activity would bring on more anxiety. This severely limited the appeal of drugs in our teen years.

Step 2. Provide Misinformation

My parents aren’t liars–I think they got swept up in a lot of the hysteria of the media coverage about drugs in the early 90s that was based primarily on fear. These rumors got twisted into our brains as facts, and drugs were ruined for us forever.

In addition to that, they were big on using anecdotes and personal experiences as fact, as well. While never explicitly saying “drugs will kill you,” my mom would pepper stories of her drug use as a freewheeling Vietnam protester with tales of abject horror. At a concert, she hallucinated an animal’s head onto her boyfriend’s shoulders, but otherwise it was “so fun! Even though I thought I was about to die and was absolutely terrified–I mean screaming and crying. Experimenting is great!”

As such, I thought the following things about drug taking, due to my parents’ passed along misconceptions and anecdotal evidence.

  • River Phoenix OD’d in his first, I mean first drug experience
  • Drugs, even ones meant to calm you down, will in fact have the opposite experience (my sister finds herself too anxious to take even a Xanax during a panic attack and paper-bags it)
  • Most recreational drugs these days are laced with arsenic, anthrax, rat poison, or whatever people are most scared of at the moment

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