The other day I was listening to parents of non-teenagers discuss the idea of routine drug testing their kids regardless of suspicion. The argument was that by starting this routine at an early age (say, eighth grade), the belief that drugs are bad becomes ingrained.
brainwashing present participle of brain wash
Verb: Make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.
My husband thinks this is brilliant. It’s never too early to get our five, two and one year old on the right track.
I, on the other hand, am not so convinced. Here’s what comes to mind:
- If we drug test our children without cause, is this a violation of privacy?
- What message are we sending about trust and communication?
- Are we really teaching our children how to make smart choices if we essentially make the choices for them?
- What about personal responsibility and the opportunity to live with the choices we make and learn from our mistakes?
- Would we rather know our kids via threat or via trust? Or does it even matter so long as they are safe, healthy and alive?
As parents, we fear for our children and our natural instinct is to keep them safe. But at the same time, we are not our children. They are separate from us. Yes, we are here to protect them, guide them, educate them, give them the tools they need to navigate the world but their life is their own and no amount of hovering will prevent them from making their own choices, suffering their mistakes and living their life.
How do you feel about routine drug testing? Do you think there is an appropriate age to start? Is this an effective method for teaching your kids to “Just Say No”? Is there a balance?