Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Father and son stuff - cool or uncool?

Having not been around my son for most of the past 5 years, I’ve missed out on most of his ‘coming of age’ events. You know, important things like when he first got pissed. I don’t know when that happened. Probably several years before the time when he and his friends redecorated the kitchen, sitting room and front lawn with pools of their vomit. I may not have been there but I heard all the gory details. Has he lost his virginity? I’ve no idea. But he’s the sort of kid who’d let his parents know. Perhaps not actually volunteer the information but he’d readily discuss it if asked. I do, however, know his tastes in music (evolving) and clothes (unchanged) of the past few years.

So, two years ago, being told that he’d been called a ‘wigger’ by a group of Bishops boys when seen at Cavendish Mall with the friends he usually hangs out with didn’t surprise me at all. Style is symbolic of identity. That’s not an absolute truism but, as generalisations go, it’s a good one. Rap and hip-hop are often associated with drug culture. Nowadays, they’re also associated with misogyny and homophobia, things I know he’s not guilty of. Recently, his tastes have veered towards dance music. To some, ecstasy may be a bit passé but, not so many years ago, it was synonymous with dance music. So, do his music tastes say anything about his attitude towards drugs? It’s so easy to generalise and get things horribly wrong.
Read more..

Read part 2 here.


Blogger Amy said...

When I was about 16 years old my father introduced me to lsd. He had been a semi-regular user for most of his life and he recognised my curiosity and so decided to take the bull by the horns. I LOVED it which I think wasn't quite the reaction he was hoping for.

Many years later and I was a confirmed raver (back in South Africa's dance mania) and he (my dad) approached me saying that he and his girlfriend wanted to try ecstacy. I found it weird but arranged it for them anyway.

I don't think I ever wondered about whether it was cool or not (although my friends certainly thought that it was). The most important thing was that I always had a safe haven to go to if things got too hectic. There were occasions when I overdid it and so sought refuge at his place.

Now I'm a responsible (somewhat boring) mum and the RO and I have discussed how we would approach this same issue with our boys. I think that we will try to provide the same kind of safe haven but I don't think I'd ever be ok with partaking with them.

I guess that whatever you decide you are always going to be the capable and responsible one should something go wrong. Maybe you can join in the fun but only get a little stoned (he doesn't need to know that) so he doesn't feel that you're judging him but you're also capable of taking care of him.

Just a thought :-)

b.t.w IF he decides to try the shrooms in Amsterdam, tell him to be honest with the seller about his innocence, they will ensure that he buys something that is within his 'experience'. Shrooms are one type of hallucinigenic that he doesn't want to be a BIG man about. Mail me if you want further info :-)


10:44 am  
Blogger DougZAR said...

Hmm, you'd probably have a couple of drinks in the pub with your son, wouldn't you? So why not light up a joint, kick back and relax and talk about whatever comes up. Which, from my ex-roker recollection, will a bunch of meaningless but hilarious rubbish.

I say go for it.

12:41 pm  
Blogger jenni said...

A father and son make the best of friends, and you are indeed a caring father.Since u have not seen your son for five long years, it is obvious that u r worried about his friend circle. But he needs to make friends to know more about the world.Cheers!

1:29 pm  
Blogger Jack said...

I agree, sharing a joint doesn't seem much different to me than going down the pub together. Also if he's interested he's going to do it anyway, so why not with you and get a little sensible drugs education from you while he's at it?

1:32 pm  
Blogger Terri said...

I don't know if I'd be ok with sharing a joint with my kids but then I've only smoked a couple of times and I never really took to it.
You do, however, now have me worrying if doing Salsa classes with my stepdaughter is cool or uncool.
Thanks, dude.

1:55 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Amy: What an interesting background you have! It’s interesting to see that you think you’d never feel comfortable partaking with your boys after having been so comfortable with drugs around your dad.

I know all about how ‘shrooms are not something to be trifled with but I may yet take you up on your offer of advice about them.

DougZAR: My thought patterns followed yours exactly as regards comparing smoking with him with having a drink with him.

jenni: I’ve seen him several times during the past five years but only for very short periods and with big gaps in between. Actually, his circle of friends aren’t a problem at all. Some of them fall into the ‘loser’ category but they’re not bad kids at all. I suspect, however, that he’s on the point of outgrowing them.

Jack: Sensible drug education from me? That’s a laugh! :-)

Kidding aside, you’re right, of course. It’s far better having a parent who knows about drugs and their attraction than one who simply views them as an evil to be avoided at all costs.

Terri: There’s nothing at all uncool about Salsa classes with you stepdaughter. They can’t be compared with hanging around a loud club where everyone is getting pissed and, often, looking to get laid.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Ariel said...

When my stepbrother turned up with a spliff the size of a Colgate toothpaste box (into which it was actually concealed) at a party she was throwing, my stepmum very calmly opened the box, lit the spliff and took a good lungful. That sure broke the ice.

10:20 pm  
Blogger Esther said...

I think it's cool to have a parent that at least acknowledges there is such a thing as some good green stuff. Nothing wrong with smoking one together. I do find it weird that some parents send their kids to get it at the local petrol station. Then again, I also have issues with parents that expect their kids to bring them a beer.

Interestingly enough (to me at least) marijuana does not cause lung diseases

12:05 am  
Blogger CTG said...

Hey Nomad. New blog address for Homme Du Cap

8:50 am  
Blogger Gordon said...

"It’s far better having a parent who knows about drugs and their attraction" and if that is the case then surely NOT encouraging casual drug use is better?

Hash, shrooms.. then what? Or are you confident that he won't progress to other drugs? I hope so.

3:11 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Ariel: I take it he was unaware of her interest in spliff until that moment?

Esther: Parents have a duty to educate their kids about the things that they will be faced with. They also have a duty to teach their kids how to think for themselves and not to blindly believe what is presented to them by their environment and by society. Parents who know what they are talking about and have a realistic idea of the world that their kids live in, probably do a better job at it. Well, that’s what I’d like to think.

Some things have to be spoken against (nicotine, heroin, unprotected sex, etc) but there is a place for preaching moderation instead of condemnation when it comes to things that have bad side-effects (alcohol, weed) if not kept under control.

But whatever the approach you take to educating your kids, it has to be done with understanding, honesty and respect and without hypocrisy.

CTG: Thanks, will update my links.

Gordon: You seem to imply a belief in the concept of ‘gateway substances/drugs’. I’ve not followed the arguments for and against the concept for a while now but, at one stage, the argument against seemed to be winning.

While avoiding recreational drugs altogether has to be better than casual (definitions of ‘casual’ will differ widely, of course) drug use, I see little harm in casual drug use. As long as it remains casual, of course. In this case, knowing that my son is already a casual taker, my encouraging him not to smoke weed at all will fall on deaf ears. It would also by hypocritical.

The approach I take is to talk about the hazards of over-use and the potential dangers that arise from unknown drugs or taking drugs in an unknown environment/context. The fact that he takes after his mother in that he’s a confirmed hypochondriac means that I believe that anything that has the potential of causing lasting health damage will be treated with great respect or rejected altogether.

4:30 pm  
Blogger Ariel said...

Yes, he was. Or rather, she had no interest but thought that for the sake of a better relationship with her son she'd give it a shot. And then she actually enjoyed it, much to the amazement of my somewhat conservative dad!

1:43 am  
Blogger angel said...

seriously deep dude...
i'm seriously hoping that some "father and son" things can be done by me instead, heh heh... but there are a lot of things i haven't actually thought about. this is one of them. damien tried grass once (he told me about it) and i'm hoping he can share everything... well, almost everything... with me. even when he's a grown up.
i've never been a roker apart from some experimenting- maybe if i was, i'd smoke with damien (if it were legal) but i try my best to stick to the rules as much as possible, boring things like sticking to age restrictions and stuff ya know?
and i have been clubbing with my folks- it was a jol and a half!

going to read part two now...

1:39 pm  
Blogger Nomes said...

I'm not sure my parents need to see me on a cleaning binge, or completely incapable of stringing a sentence together (both dope), or putting chilli powder on my tongue and following it with a smint (acid), or starry eyed and hyped up (E, mdma, c).

However, what I can tell you is that my Dad told me, when I was 15, that I was going to come into contact with drugs. That he knew how they worked, and that would I please make sure someone I trusted stayed 'straight' in the room with me. And if I was feeling as though I couldn't cope without something - just pick up the phone and let him know.

That discussion has led to me having a far more responsible attitude (imho) to drugs than many of my friends.

If I had a child, I think I'd pass on the same advice (if it seemed appropriate considering the child's personality) and would probably pass a joint around, but nothing harder than that.

Nothing worse than seeing yo mamma shoot up - I imagine.

10:17 am  
Anonymous joel block said...

This is a father-son excerpt from the most powerful book ever published on the subject, The Wrong Schwartz. ( I’ve read the book several times—and, full disclosure, I wrote it! Joel D. Block.

Check this out…

When I failed to score the highest on a school-wide test, my father ripped into me for so long that I nearly passed out on my feet. Then he turned and extended a strap toward me.

"What’s that for," I asked with terror.

"Beat me," he demanded.


"Beat me for having raised a loser! You want to turn out like the Wrong Schwartz boy? Is that what you want to become? Is that what you want to make of me!"

The Wrong Schwartz boy, as he was called, was the shining example of underachievement used by my father and fathers like him. It was shame enough if a child, especially male, was born dull. Shameful, but it couldn't be helped. Those in my community might shake their heads about boys who simply didn't have it. They might throw up their hands, but tragedies happen, and they would eventually understand.

To be capable and not hard working, that was another thing altogether. The family of such an offspring might as well have moved to a leper colony.

Harold Schwartz, older than I, in his twenties, was the firstborn of brilliant twin boys. Unlike his super-achieving brother, a Harvard law professor, he committed the unpardonable sin of having brains and not using them. He buckled under the weight of expectation and spent most of his energy making sure he would not be first in anything again. He disappointed every expectation his parents had for him. He was finally cast out of the family when he managed to get a full scholarship despite himself, then lost it due to academic failure, and appeared happy, a successful failure.

My father thrust the strap into my hand and my body shook with a palsy of fright. He made me beat him. It would have taken a lot more courage, much more than I could muster to refuse him. The question of how free of him I might dare to be was not open for consideration. I closed my eyes and pulled back my trembling arm striking him repeatedly.

"Harder," he demanded. "Harder!"

"Noooooo!" In shame and rage I felt the scalding cry come from my throat. He would not release me. The pain of beating my father was so severe that it made me moan. A river of tears fell from my eyes and down my cheeks until he granted me permission to stop. Afterwards the tears continued to flow so heavily that I saw nothing around me for several moments.

Then I felt intense shame. Shame for failing to be the best, shame for failing my father, shame for crying. My father never cried, I wasn't supposed to cry either. Crying was weak, and I felt shame for showing weakness.

8:46 pm  
Blogger seartho said...

Advance Happy father's day to all Dads in the world! I'm soon to be one of you guys I am so excited.

Kind Regards,
oral chelation

8:25 am  

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