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jca's avatar

Is it hypocritical when parents who have done illegal drugs in their lives (I'd bet half the population has tried something illegal) tell their kids "Don't do drugs?"?

Asked by jca (36043points) October 11th, 2010

Tonight I went to visit some good friends of mine who have a teenage son. They recently found out the son has been smoking weed. The neighbors (kid’s friend) found out their son had been, and so my friends drug-tested their son and he was positive for marijuana. They took his car away for a month and are now not too happy over his choice of friends and his drug use (he admitted to smoking it for the past 3 years).

However, my friends and probably most of my friends have all, at the very least, tried marijuana and many have been heavy pot smokers, in addition to some of us having done cocaine, etc. in the past.

Of course, my friends want what’s best for their son, and they are afraid that he will go down the wrong path in life. So, is it hypocritical for parents to tell their kids “don’t do drugs” when they have done so themselves?

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23 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think there is a difference between telling our kids not to do them after the parents have done them in the past and no longer do it compared to parents that are actively still doing it. We all learn from our pasts (whether it was past mistakes or just past experiences) and we pass that knowledge to our children.

muppetish's avatar

If they do not currently smoke marijuana, they are not being hypocritical. We are not wholly our past selves. One of the beauties in life is that we possess the ability to grow and change.

chyna's avatar

They don’t want their kids to make the same mistakes, or worse, than they did. I don’t see it as hypocritical.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t have children. I assume that this can be a very tough issue for parents. I just don’t think that it is at all hypocritical for parents to act in accordance with the knowledge, experience and judgement they have now. Parents shouldn’t be accused of hypocrisy because they don’t raise their 16 year old children with their inner 16 year old.

Berserker's avatar

No, especially if they have the experience to confirm what can be bad about it.

ChaosCross's avatar

Only if they are still doing it.

Otherwise it is called parenting.

iamthemob's avatar

Not at all. But I think it’s important to make sure that they also understand that they won’t lose your love for making a mistake, and that you as a parent will support them and they should call if they need help.

Essentially: “I don’t want you doing drugs. They’re dangerous for your health, and it could ruin your future if you’re caught. But if you do, I want you to let me know if you get into trouble, and I will help you. Doing drugs is a stupid decision, but it doesn’t make you stupid or wrong for doing it.”

jerv's avatar

About as hypocritical as a one-handed carpenter telling younger carpenters to be careful around saws.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it is hypocritical. I think that parents who have done drugs should own up and explain to their kids why they did what they did and why they stopped doing what they were doing. If they do that, it’s not hypocritical. It shows how parents learned from experiences.

I wonder how many parents do that? If you pretend you never did it, you are a hypocrite. If you tell them to stop without telling them why you stopped, you’re a hypocrite.

My kids know their parents did various things. They’ve asked us why and we’ve told them what happened to the best of our ability. And who knows what they understood. I have been consistent in expressing my view that I don’t think the drugs should be illegal. I think that the same rules that apply to alcohol should apply to other drugs. After all, alcohol does far more damage. I think the law is hypocritical.

I feel that drugs, if done with proper preparation and respect for the effects, can be ok. My kids think I’m crazy. They are way more anti-drug than I am. I’m not sure how happy I am about that.

Maybe I wasn’t much of a hardass. The only drug I did was marijuana, and shrooms a couple of times, maybe three. I try to explain to my kids why I did it and what it felt like, and why I stopped. I don’t know what will happen as they grow up into the teen years, and experienced the peer pressure that happens when everyone goes to a party and some people are doing something or another. I don’t mind if they try it, but I hope they’ll keep me informed about it if they do. I just want them to be safe.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There is a saying: Two wrongs don’t make a right. If it is illegal, I can understand why parents would want to discipline their child. And in a way, it would make more of an impact coming from a parent who has experienced it then from one who hasn’t. See @jerv ‘s response.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No. Parents with experience who no longer smoke can relay whatever stories they have of how the drugs affected them, their friends, their families, relationships, etc. Parents who are still doing drugs take the big gamble their kids will do more than experiment.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

No. But I think it is hypocritical to tell your children that you were always this wise and perfect, and didn’t screw up when you were younger.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s delusional to say ‘don’t do drugs’ to your teens and expect that to be the end of your work, so to speak. Speaking about your own experiences, providing reasonable expectations would be necessary as well, in my opinion. We all go through phases where drugs might be a part of our lives but there are reasons why some of those drugs are no longer a part of our lives and it’s important to explain those journeys to your kids and to speak of extremes where their behavior may lead. Watching Intervention right now is kind of helpful (too bad my toddlers are asleep).

Cruiser's avatar

No…. if anything they are telling you something they wished their parents said to them.

john65pennington's avatar

My wife and i have never used illegal drugs of any kind. i understand your question and see the answer from two different perspectives: 1. the old adage, “don’t do as i do, do as i say do” and 2. parents made mistakes that they do not want to pass onto their children.

Our children have never been smokers of cigarettes. wife and i smoke. for years, when our kids were younger, we preached to them the hazards of smoking cigarettes. we were setting a bad example, but we are adults and our hope was that our children would never lite a ciagarette. today, both our children are smoke-free. as teenagers smoking, we were never made aware of the harm that tobacco can cause a human body. after the public was educated on second-hand smoke, we never smoked inside our home.

Point here is that yes, some parents may have smoked pot and other illegal drugs. i see your point of: “you did it, then so can i”. parents are not perfect. along in their lives, they make mistakes, just like everyone else. sometimes, “what’s good for the goat is not good for the gander”.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, I say it is kind of a de facto hypocrisy but it can be mitigated if they own up to the fact that their own drug use was wrong and they were stupid to get involved and are not duggires now then it can pass. They can use it as their life experience. They should because of that offer the guy a chance to attone and get the car and other goodies back sooner.

Trillian's avatar

Hypocrisy has nothing to do with it, as the child answers to the parents, they do not answer to him. We’re here to talk about you, little mister. As long as they are legally held responsible for what he does, then I guess they have something to say about it.
But since it has been brought up, one would hope that the parents drug days are long over and they can use it to illustrate points. The fact is, this kid has a stake in this and stands to lose much with a drug bust on his record.

zen_'s avatar

Nah. A parent has responsibilities concerning the well being and safety of the kids.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Coloma's avatar

Not at all.

Experience is a teacher.

Did I want my teenage daughter to drop acid and shoot the rapids in a canoe at midnight like I did?

Not on your life. lol

I am very pleased that my daughter at almost 23 is not a huge partier and, infact…she once said to me when I was cautioning her about something in her teens…..” mom, YOU were waaay wilder than I am!” Hahaha

Oooh…mama’s projections fully revealed! lol

lonelydragon's avatar

Of course, the parent is an authority figure, and the child should answer to them. But just because they are authorities, that doesn’t mean they are perfect, and if they hide the truth of their past, then that is hypocritical. They should take advantage of a teachable moment and explain why they believe that drug use is dangerous, based on their own experiences.

NaturallyMe's avatar

No. It’s never hypocritical to try to prevent your children from making mistakes that you’ve made.

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