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Drug Addicts Make Good Parents?

I'm part of an online parting group and at times there can be some very interesting discussions going on. The one I viewed today certainly was, someone posted asking if people who abuse illegal drugs can make good parents.

I thought for sure that everyone would say no, of course not. However many people argued yes they can. Someone claimed that she personally knew of parents who would take drugs but they were still amazing parents.

I guess it depends of what kind of drugs you are taking and how often you are taking them. Personally I would say that anyone taking illegal drugs, unless its for genuine medical reasons is an unfit parent. What do you think?

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tomorrow3 wrote on July 19, 2015, 4:31 PM

Absolutely, I agree with you. Any parents taking drugs cannot guide their children well. The end result would be the child also gets addicted to drug. Parents are the real role models for children.

MegL wrote on July 19, 2015, 6:36 PM

i WOULD SAY THAT PEOPLE TAKING ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE ACTING THE SAME AS PEOPLE taking alcohol. You should not do it when you are in charge of children. Getting high on drugs or getting high on alcohol, it's illegal and puts your child at risk. You cannot drive a car safely with drugs or alcohol in your system and you cannot keep your children safe if you are on these either.

inertia4 wrote on July 20, 2015, 8:25 AM

A true drug addict cannot be a good parent. Their main concern is getting the money to buy their drugs. Their fix becomes their main focus. So therefore they cannot be good parents.

wolfgirl569 wrote on July 20, 2015, 11:20 AM

Someone addicted is not going to be a good parent as the drug is always going to come first. But someone who uses on a night out occasionally can still be a good parent, but that is not under the definition of an addict

Ruby3881 wrote on July 21, 2015, 4:57 PM

There are a lot of people who, despite the genetic factors, have managed not to become alcoholic even though they were raised by an alcoholic parent. There are plenty of people who were battered by a parent, who have gone on to be wonderful parents who never raise a hand to their children. Why assume that if a parent uses an illicit drug, his children will become addicted?

I say that as with anything, if a parent can model responsible use of a substance - the same way we can with caffeine, alcohol or even sweets - the child is likely to avoid abusing or becoming addicted to that substance. If the parent uses an illegal substance responsibly, he may be breaking the law, but he is actually modelling restraint and respect for a substance that can be used medicinally or recreationally.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 21, 2015, 5:11 PM

I'd say you are on the right track with this answer, Meg. Certainly a parent shouldn't be getting altered enough that his functioning is impaired during the times when he would have to drive, care for an infant, cook meals for a child, etc. And of course, there is a concern about what the child sees and what messages are sent about drug use and acceptable behaviour.

But simply using an illicit drug (or drinking a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, for that matter) does not imply that a parent's ability to function is completely impaired. No, Mother probably shouldn't be smoking a joint and then getting behind the wheel of a car. Then again, if it's safe for Mother to drink one glass of wine with dinner and drive to pick up her kids after an evening at the movies, perhaps Mother is still safe to drive after smoking a little pot. And she's certainly not too altered to be able to comfort a child who wakes up from a nightmare, or to change a wet diaper in the middle of the night.

My point here is that we can't assume that just the act of taking any illicit drug in any amount is going to render the average adult useless. Any more than drinking one beer or one energy drink is going to turn that person into a drooling idiot or have him bouncing off the walls.

In my book, the harm reduction model should be adopted everywhere. Forget about what anyone thinks is right or wrong, moral or immoral. Look at the results of a behaviour and the reasons behind the behaviour. Try to reduce harm by giving people more choices, by accepting a broader range of activities as normal, and by educating people about real risks rather than relying on propaganda and fear of getting in trouble.

If a person is truly dysfunctional, she needs help. We should skip over being judgemental, and get her the help she needs.

If a person is capable of parenting safely and effectively despite whatever substances she uses, we should simply make her aware that we have resources she can use if there's ever a need, and stay the hell out of her business.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 21, 2015, 5:30 PM

I agree with what you say about true addiction - and that applies to anything from drugs to bingo to Facebook. Anyone who has such an all-encompassing addiction that their main focus is getting the next fix, cannot parent.

But there are plenty of people who use illicit drugs - or even abuse legal drugs - and who are not anywhere near this point. We should be judging by the competence of the parent and the degree or extent of the impairment, not on what crutch a person uses and which specific bad habits he's picked up....

Ruby3881 wrote on July 21, 2015, 5:40 PM

Daily substance use does qualify as addiction though, at least if you listen to the folks at AA. And yet there are plenty of parents who daily coffee by the pot, chain-smoke cigarettes, or even drink several glasses of wine after the kids are in bed. We don't question their ability to parent.

Similarly, a parent could use cannabis daily once the kids are in bed - technically making him an addict - and yet b no less capable or competent than the person who enjoys coffee or wine. We make a lot of assumptions about drug use, and even addiction, that are based in outdated stereotypes and fear. They don't paint an accurate picture of what's really going on behind closed doors in North America.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 21, 2015, 5:41 PM

As you can probably tell, I have a lot to say on this topic! I wrote my own (rather lengthy) post and tagged you emoticon :smile:

MegL wrote on July 21, 2015, 6:22 PM

I used to take the occasional drink. But when I became a parent, I realised that children can get sick very quickly and that I might need to drive them to hospital. I would never drink and drive, so yI gave up drink. I am happy to live and let live and if people want to have a drink or anything else, that's their business, not mine as long as it isn't harming anyone else. The question asked was about "abuse of illegal drugs" . I suppose it depends on the definition of "abuse". To me, that meant "getting wasted". If the term just meant "using or consuming in moderation", then I have no right to judge them. But I do not like to see children in the charge of someone incapable through drink or drugs. It's illegal here.

wolfgirl569 wrote on July 21, 2015, 11:11 PM

My definition of an addict is not the same as theirs. To me it is when getting the drug is a have to thing. Like getting food and water to survive. Most smokers and coffee drinkers are not going to go break in a home to steal to get cash to buy another pack or cup. I had a cousin addicted to drugs. She would have her kids with her in the car while she broke in somewhere to look for pain pills and easy to pawn stuff.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 22, 2015, 10:39 PM

Yup, it's tough to respond to a question of this type. Clearly you and I agree about when the drug (ab)use is getting in the way of parenting, even though we'd probably define addiction quite differently.

I think that underlines the importance of looking only at the way someone parents if it's necessary to judge their fitness at all. Any other criteria we'd select would be inaccurate at best, and likely result in the unfair condemnation of good parents at worst.