Caught between a cigarillo and a hard place

We knew the day would come .... just not so soon. Worse even than the 'where do babies come from?' question, we found ourselves on the thorny end of a devil's fork. The subject was drugs.

My eight year old aka Sausage came home last week. She was holding a short straw and sucking through it. She started telling me about how they'd learnt about drugs at school. I looked at the straw and wondered if they'd been teaching them how bad people snort cocaine. But no, the difficulty of sucking through the straw indicated how it would feel if your lungs were 'all stuck together with tar from cigarettes and the little balloony things inside of them didn't work anymore.' All well and good until Sausage said, "But why does daddy smoke cigars?" Scrambling for an answer I came up with, "Well, he doesn't inhale." But that sounded a little too fudgy, a little too Bill Clintonesque for comfort. Later my husband was grilled on the cigar issue, of why he smoked them. He came up with the politically neutral answer, "I have no good answer to that." Kudos to him.

Luckily I no longer smoke cigarettes or heads would have rolled. All I got was "Why do you drink caffeine? That's a drug." To which I replied, "Well, it's a pretty harmless one."

At the moment my older daughter Scarlett, aged 11 is like, "Why would anyone take drugs?" Well good, let's hope her attitude stays that way.

But the truth is I am not really addicted to any drugs apart from maybe coffee. I used to smoke but could take it or leave it. But an addiction can be many things. An addiction is quite simply a coping mechanism that if it starts to affect your life badly means you are in trouble.

So although obviously I want the kids to avoid illegal drugs there is also a case for stating that any behaviour taken to excess is in effect an addiction.

When I was younger love was the drug. But as I got older I was probably more addicted to junk food than love - food gives an immediate gratification while looking for love in the wrong places is very emotionally draining whatever Bryan Ferry says!

So have your kids started learning about drugs at school yet and have you had to answer any awkward questions?


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