The Addict in Your Home
Recently I met with an old friend and her parents. A year or so had passed since we last saw each other. Her parents called me because their little girl had been out most of the night and appeared inebriated when she finally returned home.
That afternoon when we met she looked awful. My initial thought was “she’s on drugs.” Unfortunately my teenage friend was, and is, addicted to drugs. At that moment though all my attention shifted from the lecture I wanted to give her, to checking her state of mind. Our meeting went well in that we reconnected; it didn’t go well for her parents though. Unfortunately this is not an isolated situation. It happens very often.
When we confronted her about her drug use and when it began, she looked me, let out a deep sigh and answered, “When I was 9 or 10.” Her parents were shocked they had no idea. For a moment her mother looked like she would faint. They had no idea. How can this be?! The answers to this and many other similar situations are simple. These parents are more interested in working, than in parenting, and these are the results of such values.
Work and work ethic are good values to have, but never at the expense of our families and especially our children. We can find a new job but we can’t get a new family. Our children will always be our children. That does not change. When we put work first we state very clearly how important our children aren’t. And please spare the age old excuse “I am working for my children’s sake.” Although I realize that some people work very hard to provide for their families, many of the young people I am acquainted with have parents who are busy working for the sake of entertainment, not for a better future. They will work long hours to get a new car, rims, a wide screen TV, a game system or to party on the weekend. Do the children enjoy some of these things? Of course they do, but these things are a poor substitute for spending time with their parents in conversation or in making memories.
If these same parents were working for their families, as some have emphatically told me, then they would be saving for higher education or trade school, or saving so they can move their family to a better neighborhood, or saving so their children can be involved in extracurricular activities such as sports or music. Or they would dedicate time searching for new ways to introduce their children to new opportunities. When we are gone our children will not cherish the stuff we bought them, they will cherish the memories of time spent together.
What is to become of my young friend? The road ahead is long and difficult; however she will not be alone. I have given her my word.