Do as I say, not as I do: How much do you tell your kids?

17th June 2017 5:00 AM
A generic image of a man pictured lighting a cigarette in Canberra, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The Australian Labor Party has outlined a plan to increase the tobacco excise by 12.5 per cent a year, each year, from September 1, 2017 until September 1, 2020, whereby consumers would see a packet of 25 cigarettes cost more than $40 by 2020. (AAP Image/Sam Mooy) NO ARCHIVING What if being honest with your children stuffs up their life? SAM MOOY

HOW honest should we be with our children?

I'm a long way from having heart-to-hearts with my almost two-year-old, but the time will come.

The past is a minefield of personal decisions made in haste and driven by hormones, boredom and a need to push boundaries.

I'm a dad in my 30s. I'm very different from the younger me, the proto-Owen who sampled illegal drugs, drove dangerously and drank until the vomiting became too much.

That Owen did idiotic things and somehow survived with his brain and, more importantly, his life.

 

Staffan Andersson

 

I know those dingbat decisions were part of my growing up, they helped forge me into the man my now-wife ultimately fell in love with.

Out of that stupidity grew the man who is now a caring and doting father.

 

Nah, none of that stuff ever happened when I was a teenager.

So in 2031, when my daughter turns 16, what do I tell her when she asks me if I've ever done drugs?

Do I tell her that I smoked a bit of pot with friends but stopped mostly because I felt like a loser when I coughed up my guts?

Maybe I'll leave out the parts of my drunken nights where I danced and laughed and sang all night with friends at dingy nightclubs. I'll just focus on the hangovers.

She probably doesn't need to know that every grown-up she meets was probably out of their minds on ecstasy in the early 2000s.

I want to be an honest dad, so I'll tell her the truth.

I'll tell her that drugs will rot her brain, that too much booze will leave her humiliated and that driving dangerously is the quickest way to end up in a morgue.

She'll hear all that from me and it will be the truth.

It just won't be how I remember it.

What will you tell them?

 

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