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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Child Rearing Tips from the Pros

I am sitting here wearing a D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off Drugs t-shirt. I don’t know what D.A.R.E. stands for and I don’t really know what it means to dare to keep kids off drugs. I found the shirt at a thrift store. What have you done lately to keep kids off dope? You probably don’t even care if kids are on drugs or not, do you? At least I am wearing a second-hand t-shirt that purports to keep kids off dope. I feel pretty good about my new stance on this issue. When it comes to kids and drugs we need to be “pro-active” and if that means paying $1 for a used t-shirt then let’s just do it, people.

If I know one thing about kids it’s that if you dare them to do something they will probably do it. If you double-dare a kid to stay off drugs you may as well light up his joint for him yourself. No self-respecting kid can pass up a double-dare, so don’t even try that one. I may not be Dr. Phil, I may not be a bald, sanctimonious blow hard, I may not be an ultra-pretentious know-nothing…OK, I guess everyone now knows how I feel about “Doctor” Phil. Let’s just say that I know kids. With kids you have to use something called “reverse psychology.” Let me explain this complex theory for those of you who don’t have my vast experience in the field of psychology. I did get a B+ in freshman Psychology 101, after all.

If you want a kid to do something, you have to encourage him to do the exact opposite. If you want your kids to stay off drugs, encourage them to smoke your dope. Just in case this tactic back-fires, make sure you don’t leave your good weed lying around. If reverse psychology doesn’t work on your kids, then congratulations: You have raised intelligent children. Instead of reverse psychology you can try to threaten them with physical violence, which usually doesn’t work on kids with an IQ over their K grade. It’s worth a try and you don’t even need to get off the couch to do it. Staying on the couch is one of the most important rules of parenting.

The final, most drastic tactic in trying to bend kids to your will is to threaten them with military school. At first don’t even mention this to them directly. A more effective technique is to leave a few brochures from various military academies lying around the house. If your kids are particularly maladjusted, military school will seem like a cool idea to them. If this is the case, I suggest that you start locking your bedroom door at night.

The D.A.R.E. program came after my school days. About all that I know about it is that it was a program to keep kids off drugs. I would imagine that it was about as effective as the Rock the Vote program that was supposed to encourage young people to exercise their right to vote and lead to the reelection of George W. Bush. It’s hard to imagine a comparable failure in youth drug abuse.

There is an ad from a group called Partnership for a Drug-Free America that asks you to tell your kids the “truth’ about marijuana. The ad infers that pot is the source of all evil in teenagers from pregnancy to severe acne. If I had kids, and if I had to tell them the truth about marijuana, I don’t know what I would tell them. Would I tell them that I smoked less dope than anyone on my dorm floor yet most of the stoners went on to become doctors and lawyers? Would I tell them that I don’t know a single person who has been arrested for driving under the influence of pot, yet many people I know have been arrested for driving drunk? Most people who are too stoned to drive will sit in the parking lot and entertain themselves with the windshield wipers. Either that or they will waste so much time trying to tune in a radio station that they’ll forget why they are driving anywhere in the first place.

Speaking of the military, that organization is about the most virulently anti-drug environment you are likely to find in this country, yet they heavily promote the use of alcohol and cigarettes. The irony of that position is lost on few servicemen and women. With every pitcher of beer you buy at a service club you are made to feel that you are doing your part in the war on drugs. I remember reporting for a urinalysis after a heavy night of drinking when I was stationed in Greece. My blood alcohol was about 93% Metaxa, a Greek brandy. Thank God I didn’t have any drugs in my system. I got a congratulatory pat on the back for passing the urinalysis. I went to the other side of the infirmary for some Percocets for my hang-over. There is a lot to be said for working in a drug-free environment.

How about if we start an organization called Partnership for a Hypocrisy-Free America? I guess that is just too fucking obvious. We can start by telling kids that more people die from Coors Light than from Marijuana. We can run an ad showing a frying pan. “This is your brain.” Then we dump a few pounds of raw sewage into the red-hot pan. “This is your brain on five Long Island ice teas.” Any questions?

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