Why I Won't Freak Out If My Kids Smoke Pot

Kids need to grow up and experiment, with or without their parents permission.

Teenager experimenting and dad being okay with it pixelshot, oleksandranaumenko, kate_sept2004 | Canva

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

There are so many things I dream about when it comes to my three kids. They're so young at 6, 4 and 1.

And not a moment goes by when it doesn't hit me that they're each just starting down the long path of their lifetimes. I dream stuff up for them, little imagination sequences I hope the coming years might deliver.


Everybody wants the best for their kids, and I'm no different. I picture each of them wandering the streets of London, Rome, and even Pyongyang.

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I envision all of them having their chance at falling in love in the long, spring shadows of the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building.

In a flash of real hope, I think about them calling me and their mom, as we sit there drinking our cheap wine on some summer evening back porch further up the road.

"Mom, Dad. Guess what? I'm in Mongolia," they'll say. "It's so insanely cool. I'm staying! I got a job in a coffee shop!"


I have no idea what I'm supposed to want for my kids. I want happiness and health, I know that much. I'd gouge out my kidneys and my eyeballs and my heart, too, if I knew there was a swap I could make with the Devil that would guarantee these kids of mine could have those things for the rest of their lives.

But there isn't any sweet deal like that to be had. Life will bring on what it brings on and the pain and blues of breathing oxygen in a land called Earth will ultimately find them somehow. That's that's just the way things go.

There are so many things you can get caught up in believing when you're a mom or dad.

If you drink the modern Kool-Aid, you can easily come away thinking that if you don't feed your kids the right foods or send them to the perfect schools or make them so extracurricular that they grow softballs and lacrosse sticks where their butt and legs are supposed to be, you're failing your children. I don't really buy into all that stuff.


There are many ways to succeed as a parent and I tend to think most of them are way more personal and individual than the ground rules and barometers set up by the warped American Dream tailpipe we're all sucking on.

Take weed for example.

I know, I know, no one wants their kids to experiment with anything. Not alcohol. Not intimacy. And for sure, we never want to find out they're dallying in anything as horrific as smoking some marijuana. That's a stepping stone to worse things, right? And we can all remember the kids in high school who smoked pot under the bleachers at the homecoming game.

Where are they now? Okay, yeah, they're mostly running their own companies/art professors/English Lit grad students/filmmakers/NASCAR drivers/astronauts/Boy Scouts of America executives/food truck gurus/or pro baseball players. But I digress.


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We've been sold a very heavy plastic jug of snake oil when it comes to what's really bad for our kids.

We've been brainwashed and psychologically reprogrammed to believe that almost anything that doesn't drop right off of a collectible Leave It To Beaver script is still something we ought to consider bad for our kids.

But I'm calling that out.

Confession time: I smoked pot as a kid. And I won't freak out if my kids smoke pot.

A lot of it. By the time I was in the 11th grade, I had taken every shred of possibility that I would ever be President of the United States and more or less smoked it up in a dream-smashing burst of political suicide.


I smoked in the woods and in the mall parking lot, just me and my friends and my deer antler bowl. (God, what a great pipe that was). So there's that. I'll never be president. And I guess if someone wanted to scrape the backside of my bones with some high-tech 30-year drug scraper thing, they could probably make sure that I won't ever be a state trooper or a fighter jet pilot, either.

Whatever. Who cares?

I am 43 years old and have seen some things, let me tell you. I went through my stoner phase in high school and then community college, but I got bored with it all on my own. No one had to bring the hammer down on my 'drug use'. I moved on naturally, organically, if you wanna use electric words that make people shiver with copycat excitement. But funny enough, my mom (who was a fantastic mom, I might add, bless her beautiful heart) had no idea I was a stoner. 

There were signs, of course.


I had really long hair down to my butt and porkchop sideburns. I was a sensitive, thoughtful, funny, voracious teenage reader who loved to play the guitar and eat Twinkies dunked in pudding cups, but that wasn't enough for many girls to dig me. They wanted dudes with nice cars.

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I drove me and my long-haired friends around in a battleship called the USS Impala. They wanted guys with muscles and Ocean Pacific clothes. I was a meatball in a Jane's Addiction concert shirt.

But still. I was awesome.

I was an awesome kid. I was close to my mom and my brother (it was just the three of us, my dad having split when I was 9). I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes. I was a good student, better than a lot of jocks and nerds, and I never ever got in trouble in my entire 12 years of schooling.


No principal's offices or suspensions or getting yelled at for messing around in class. I was respectful and attentive and I turned in my Algebra homework on time, even though it sometimes had song lyrics scribbled on the back. (Songs, I might add, that I went on to record and perform with my brother all over the world after we formed a band and had a long career as musicians for almost two decades.)

Smoking weed doesn't scare me. I've done it. I know what it does and I know where it can lead you, both good and bad.

And I know that it isn't even half as bad as a case of Bud cans and a bottle of Jack Daniels in a car loaded with gallivanting teens on a Friday night in Anytown, America.

If my kids try smoking weed when they're in high school, it won't freak me out. I will have already talked to them a lot about this strange world and all the vipers and poisons that are floating around out there. I might not be happy if I find out they're experimenting with pot but that's just because I'm old now and old dads are never all that happy about too much.


But I'll be cool. Because I know. I know how bad stuff has gotten in this world. I know how scary it is to be young these days, even if there's no way I can ever really know. I know who I was as a kid and who I became as a man. I know the possibilities of a very, very cool life because I'm living one right now.

Imagine that. The stoner turned out alright.

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Serge Bielanko is a writer and musician who has been published on Babble, Huffington Post, Mom.me, Yahoo, and more.