Friday, January 21, 2011

D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off Drugs

Did any of you go through the D.A.R.E. program when you were in school? I did. I don’t remember much, but the basic idea still sticks with me. Well, my daughter is going through the program at her school right now. And it’s making me nuts.

You’d think that I would be happy and excited that she’s learning about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. And I am. Really. I don’t want her to get into trouble when she gets older. (Although, it didn’t stop me when I was in high school.) But she’s turning into the “drinking police” here at home. I can’t pick up a single drink without her giving me the third degree. Well, really no one can without some sort of remark.

The first time was minor. It was when we were having our Christmas with my husband’s side of the family. My sister-in-law’s husband was telling me a story about when him and his brother went out for supper and they each wanted to order a beer but they couldn’t because the restaurant had let their liquor license lapse or were behind on their bills from that vendor (or something along those lines. I forget the whole story.) But my daughter was sitting across the table from me and was listening to the story too. Her eyes were kind of wide and she whispered to me, “Why does Uncle _____ drink beer?” I made a shushing motion and when he left the table, I quickly explained that it’s okay for adults to have a beer or two when they want to relax. I thought that had settled it.

Nope. Christmas Eve my husband and I always invite our parents over for supper and the traditional Christmas Eve activities. As I’m finishing the supper preparations, I open a bottle of wine for my mom, mother-in-law, and myself. My daughter, naturally, sees what I am doing and tells us we shouldn’t be drinking. I say to my mom that she’s in D.A.R.E. and sort of taking what she’s learned to the extreme. So good ol’ Grandma tells her that it’s okay for adults to have a drink on special occasions. Poor kid. She’s probably so confused by now because between wanting to relax and special occasions, that’s covers pretty much every night of the week! But, she listens to Grandma better than me so again, I thought that would be the last of it.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve. I poured myself a glass of champagne about 11:00 to start getting ready for midnight. We don’t really celebrate New Year’s in any extravagant fashion; it’s always just been watching TV the whole night and then seeing the ball drop at midnight. (But it’s an excuse for me to break out the champagne!) This year we watched MMA fights that had been held in Japan. Not very celebratory. It was really bizarre and I didn’t enjoy it. I’d rather watch plain old UFC, thank you very much. Apparently, my husband isn’t quite so discriminating in his fight choices.

Oh, right. Drinking. Daughter. D.A.R.E. Anyway, I poured myself a glass of champagne and sat down to enjoy it. Champagne, especially this particular champagne, is my favorite. About 11:45 or so, I got up to refill my glass. My daughter was also up getting a sip of her ginger ale. (Special occasion, you know.) As I’m pouring, she’s watching me and informs me that I’m drinking too much. I look up, surprised, because I have been known to drink too much (that’s usually with my sister), but this was not one of those times. I replied that this was only my second glass. Then she asked how long ago my first one was. I told her and she nodded saying, “Well, that’s okay I guess. But you should only have one an hour because your liver can’t process it any faster than that.”

I stood there shocked. This is my ten year old daughter right? She didn’t suddenly get back from medical school, did she? Unable to think up any sort of response that wouldn’t make me a really terrible influence, I simply said, “Okay. I’ll remember that.” But, man oh man, how long this is going to last? Am I going to have to explain myself every time I have something with alcohol in it? And are the other kids in her school taking it so seriously, or am I the only lucky parent?


  1. Oh goodness, I understand completely. My oldest daughter is only 7, and here, DARE is a 5th grade rite of passage, but the school's do red ribbon week every year (drug/alcohol say no awareness week). My husband is the type to have a beer at home after work several times a week and one day my daughter was like "you need to quit drinking. beer is a DRUG. And it's NOT ok."
    Oh lord. how to can the schools find a better balance?

  2. I'm so glad there's someone who can relate! And I agree with you completely. Schools do need to find a better balance. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll be back!


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