In current world news, on today’s newest episode of “I’m seriously not qualified for this job!”, I’ve been tasked with talking to a teenage girl about how underage drinking and smoking are very serious and should not be taken lightly. Great, just great. Not qualified, under qualified, whatever you want to say. This was not included in the parenthood guide! Well, maybe it was, but the kind doctors and nurses simply forgot to give me mine when they gave me all the other paperwork to complete post-birth. I was robbed!
I’m not cut out for the enormous responsibility of these oh-so-important life talks. I genuinely don’t know what to say. But then I think back to working with children from unimaginable hardship. In a leadership position, I climbed my way up; somehow I did it then. Younger, more confident perhaps? Now I just sit here cringing, thinking WHY ME?! Again, I’m not qualified. No joke, Kel. My mother told us the story of her father finding out she smoked. She said her father made her smoke an entire cigar (his poison of choice) as punishment/lesson learning/complete craziness if you ask me. She said it was awful. Plot twist: it didn’t make her quit smoking though. She just learned she didn’t like the taste of cigars. Seriously not helpful, Mom. I can, with complete honesty, say I have never smoked anything. Not once. The smell of cigarettes gives me the feeling of all the oxygen being pulled from my lungs. Can’t make this up. I literally feel like I can’t breathe. And I can smell cigarette smoke from other cars if sitting in traffic. Weird, I know. Smoking may be the grossest habit anyone can have. But it is a habit and I know too many who have struggled to quit because it’s truly an addiction. As for drinking? Let’s just say – when I think back to what I used to do, I’m lucky to be alive; we’ll leave it at that.
The advice given to me was to talk about the safety aspects: cancer, juvenile record, even death. Sounds harmless, no pun intended. I feel like if I cap it off with a sentence sounding like ‘I was once your age and I did the same things, blah blah blah’ then it’s a well rounded conversation. Yet somehow this feels like a giant cop out – back to the unqualified statement. On the subject again of my misplaced parenthood book, it probably states do not include stories of your own teenage misadventures. But I imagine it doesn’t give you other available options either. Those of you in possession of this elusive book, feel free to chime in, please.
There’s no winning here, is there? I suppose we just do what’s best in the moment, hope it turns out alright, and pray our children don’t end up in a mess only a miracle can fix. But there is a little voice inside me screaming ‘I’ll be damned if my child behaves this way!!’. She probably will. Face it now, Kel. My time is coming.
I ask you –
Did you get a book?! If you did, can I borrow it?
Any weird adverse reactions to another’s addictive habits?
Tell me what I should say! P.S. this isn’t my child I’m talking to. She’s 4. Let’s not rush things.