Social Question

gailcalled's avatar

For those of you with ten-year old children, is it common for them to drink, smoke or have parents who have been to jail?

Asked by gailcalled (54575points) July 17th, 2012

The earlier question struck me as so bizarre that I wonder whether it is I who is out of touch with the grade-school zeitgeist these days?

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16 Answers

mambo's avatar

I don’t have a child, but I have a sibling that age.

It is quite common for a 10 year old to have a parent who has either been to jail, or is currently in jail. However, early smoking isn’t entirely impossible. A few months ago, I caught my sister trying to smoke one of my cigarettes and proceeded to find out that the 12 year old she was hanging out with was a smoker. A lot of children that age are influenced by older children, which is my sister’s problem. As for drinking, I haven’t seen anyone that age trying to do so.

I would say it all depends on the situation. Where the child lives and who he or she is hanging out with is definitely a factor.

jca's avatar

Where I live, I would say the majority of people have never been in jail (I don’t want to say “all” because there’s always an exception).

I think 10 year olds have probably never drank and I would hope they’ve never smoked either. There may be a kid who sneaks a sip at a parents’ party, who knows. Is the kid going to admit it? Probably not.

Fly's avatar

I’m obviously not a parent, but it wasn’t that long ago that I was a ten-year-old myself, and I can definitely say that smoking and drinking regularly at this age is really not that common. Some kids might try it, but almost none actually do so regularly. And at this age, you can usually tell which kids are the ones who do have such habits, as they are fairly transparent; they act out, don’t do well in school, etc. It’s not like with high school kids who might initially seem perfectly nice and well-behaved, but might also drink and do drugs.

As fair as parents being in jail is concerned, I’m not sure that I can provide a statistic on this nor am I sure how this is even necessarily a reflection on the child, but I would venture to say that most kids’ parents have not been to jail. I certainly don’t know why a parent would want to ask a child such an invasive question, as in @Aster’s thread.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No kids myself, but when I was growing up drinking and smoking at 10 was unusual, but not unheard of. We started partying when we were 13 or 14. And I knew kids whose parents had been in jail. I was an honor student too, just didn’t get a lot of supervision and I took every advantage of it. The stuff is available if your kids want it.

ucme's avatar

Sounds like a particularly harrowing chapter in Lord of the Flies.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t doubt that many kids have tried a whiff or two of a cigarette (or just re-lighting a discarded butt, as I did at around that age), or have also tried the dregs of a parent’s leftover drink (which I also did at that age). But I simply can’t imagine that there are many “regular” smokers and drinkers at that age in the USA.

Had anyone asked me at that age “Do you smoke?” I would have answered in all innocence and honesty “No” even though “I tried it once from some of Mom’s discarded butts, but I couldn’t get them lit” might have been a more precise response.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think that sort of thing is uncommon. I’m sure there are kids that age who may have tried/been pressured into drinking or smoking, but it seems unlikely that there are many 10 year olds running around with cigarettes and beer. And I’m assuming most 10 year olds wouldn’t know if their parents had been to jail.

Kardamom's avatar

One of my close friends has custody of her 3 grandchildren, one of whom is aged 10. In their neighborhood, at the elementary school, she said that it’s quite common for the kids to have at least one parent who is currently, or has in the past, been in jail. My friend’s daughter is currently in prison, for the third time. The girl’s father has been jailed multiple times. Each of the 3 grandchildren has a different father, and each of them have been in jail. My friend’s daughter (who I cannot stand) has pretty much hooked up with, or dated, if you want to put it more politely, ONLY men that have been to jail.

This particular neighborhood is a seedy area right in the middle of a pleasant suburb. It’s like a ghetto suburb. So it’s shocking to me, but completely normal for them.

As far as I know, the 10 year old doesn’t smoke or drink yet, nor does her 13 year old sister. Their older brother, who is just 18 apparently started smoking pot when he was around 13 or 14. No one (except me) thought it was a big deal.

When I was 10, back in the early 70’s it would have been un-thinkable to hear of someone that age drinking with other kids, although most parents let their kids drink a very tiny bit of wine on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but it never would have happened outside of the home.

When I turned 11, this new girl came to our school. She and I hit it of and became best friends. She was a latch-key kid, and the first time I went to her house, she pulled out a cigarette and started smoking and asked me if I wanted one. I was horrified. She quit, shortly afterwards, because no one else in our class smoked, except for one awful boy, the bully of the school.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think the majority of parents have been to gaol, at least where I live! I am sure if their parents are smokers, their 10 year old children might have experimented. If their parents don’t smoke – this is probably less likely but I wouldn’t discount the idea. No evidence to support my thoughts though.

augustlan's avatar

Not common, no. Not unheard of, but not common.

My mother gave me my first experience with pot when I was 8, though. She thought it was funny. WTF. I didn’t smoke it again until my teens, and not for very long even then.

Aster's avatar

I’d say it is uncommon for parents, generally, to have been in jail. Common would mean at least 50% have been incarcerated, right? But , then, you have to consider the city. I would guess that a larger percentage of parents in , say, Detroit, Michigan have been in jail then parents in Naples, Florida.
This can be googled if there are doubts to my claims.

gailcalled's avatar

Did you verify your claim before presenting it? It’s the author’s responsibility to present reliable material rather than the job of the reader.

If 125% of the parents at any school that one of my kid attended, I would consider that a shockingly high number.

jca's avatar

@gailcalled: 125%? Yes, so shockingly high it’s unattainable.

gailcalled's avatar

@jca: Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. You are supposed to read these reposes at such a blinding rate of speed that your eye does the editing.

Edit; 25%

Aster's avatar

@gailcalled ” It’s the author’s responsibility to present reliable material rather than the job of the reader.” No, it isn’t . Not when she says, “I would guess…..”
It was a guess; nothing more .
Again, I would guess that more Detroit , Michigan parents have been in jail than parents in Naples, Florida. Have you been to both cities? I have.

flo's avatar

I saw that question as well. I can’t say I know any 10 year old who has (EDITED:smoked, but I know a parent who has been in jail for very minor thing for a day and who smoked.)

Re. the drinking problem, some places there is not a day that goes on when people on the media don’t make it sound like it is a necessity, saying things “relax with a scotch on my hand” .. “to take the edge off” to describe the end of their day. They make it sound like people can’t have fun be fun, relax, have no hang ups etc. without drinking. A show supposedly about cooking ends up being about wine.

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