In the Whitney Houston Aftermath, Finding a Teachable Moment to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs

My nine-year-old son is pretty up on current events. It is a combination of several factors:

-He hears his father and I talking.

-He talks with his friends at school.

-He hears teachers talking.

-They discuss things as a class.

However, I was not prepared to have the following conversation with him this past Friday after picking him up from school.

“Hey Mom?”


“What’s a drug overdose?”

“WHAT?? Where did you hear that term?”

“Some of the kids at school were talking about Whitney Houston. They kept saying drugs and drug overdose. That she took a lot of drugs. What is a drug overdose?”

“Well…[and I stumbled a little here] a drug overdose is when you take too many drugs or too much of one drug and you can die from that.”

“My friends said Whitney Houston had cocaine and lots of other drugs. What is cocaine? Why would she take all those drugs?”

I was at the OMG-where-the-heck-did-a-nine-year-old-get-this stage at this point. I wasn’t ready for this talk but here it was.

“Cocaine is something that is illegal and it is something that people sniff. It makes them feel a little crazy.”

“Yuck! Why would they put something in their nose? Where do you even get cocaine?”

I had to take a moment to collect myself. This was a heavy-duty conversation and I didn’t want to let this teachable moment get by. I wanted to answer every question that he had until he had every answer he needed even if I meant that I was uncomfortable. He came to me because this matter and this was my chance to steer him in the direction that we (my husband and I) wanted him to go.

So I gave it my best shot.

“Sometimes people turn to things like drugs because they are unhappy with their lives or something is wrong and they don’t know how to handle it or they don’t understand the dangers of what they are doing. People get drugs from many places. Sometimes their doctor gives them a prescription and they might take more than they are supposed to take. Other times they may get them from a friend or someone else they know. No matter where they get them, you know that drugs are not good for you, right? They can kill you and in fact, a lot of people die every year from drugs.”

He was silent for a few minutes. Then he said that words that any parent would love to hear, “Mom? I am never going to do drugs. I do not want to die.”

“That is great, buddy. I am proud of you” I told him. Then I asked what other questions he had about drugs. I let him ask me everything he wanted to and while I still don’t think he grasps everything that happened to Whitney Houston, I do think that he benefited from our conversation. I know I did.

I learned that this is not such a hard topic to discuss. I learned that we need to discuss it more often. I need to talk to my daughters as well. I need to let them ask questions and when I answer, I need to make sure they understand my answers.

This was definitely a teachable moment. For both of us.



Read more from Stacie on her blog: The Divine Miss Mommy.

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Photo Source: Microsoft Stock Images

Article Posted 4 years Ago
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