If you know me, you know my parenting style. I am quite frank. I’m not interested in hiding things from my son, Silas, who is full of questions — and who, let’s face it, is probably getting a far more impressionistic view of the world from his peers at Palo Alto Montessori. When it comes to the challenges of growing up in today’s world, I want him to feel comfortable coming to me with all the hard questions.
And that’s why I was so relieved he came to me after that play date at Clover Newton’s house. I remember how troubled he looked as he deflected my questions about how the day went. But then:
“Mom… What’s a… supermushroom?”
I tried to stay calm.
“What makes you ask that, Triscuit?
“Clover’s mom puts it in her Golden Latte every morning,” he said. “I was wondering what it was.”
I put down the dishes, turned around, and looked him straight in the eye.
“Tell me, Bop-It, and be honest. What else does Leslie — Mrs. Newton — drink?”
My son stared at his shoes.
“Is Mrs. Newton dusting?”
“Well, maybe. Yes,” he admitted. “I think so.”
Parents: Don’t panic if this happens to you. Remember, your children already feel overwhelmed now that alternative medicine has been introduced to their peer group. They’re getting a lot of messages — but if you’re lucky, they’ll turn to you for accurate information. It’s up to you to explain to them that minimalist packaging does not a miracle cure make. Here’s how.
Let your child lead.
Make it clear to them that you’re there to answer questions, free of judgment. Here’s a great example from my own life:
“I am here to answer questions, free of judgment. If you can tell me the name of the Dust that Leslie was using, I can answer all your questions about it.”
“I—I think it was Power Dust.”
“Really? Not Sex Dust? Not Beauty Dust? Did you see any of the labels? How big was the jar? Did it come from a flight, or did she just spend hundreds of dollars on a Goop-hawked coffee substitute and nothing else?”
“I don’t know…”
“THINK, Butternut Squash, think!”
2. Ask if their friends are dusting.
Think you know your kids’ friends? Ha! Ha! That’s me laughing in your face. Your kids’ friends are probably making a fortune out there as unauthorized Amazon sellers. Ever notice how the kingpins on prestige TV dramas are always the most polite? So it is with peddlers of powder-based supplements. To get the truth out of your tot before it’s too late, approach them gently, like so:
“Now, Chia Seed, I promise you won’t be in trouble, but I need to know. Are any of your friends #gettingdusted?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“What about their parents?”
“Just Mrs. Newton.”
“Really? Not Tricia? Maxxie? Freya? Archipelago?”
“Mrs. Gafferty might have brothed once?”
“Well, there are considerable benefits to the thyroid. Just remember to call poison control if she cooks the marrow past its smoke point.”
3. Make sure that if they dust, they do it right.
Dusting is complicated. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Make sure they know the basics. Case in point:
“You don’t even need to drink the Sex Dust. The smell of cacao alone is a powerful aphrodisiac.”
“Just call me if your friends — or Leslie — ever dust again. All right, Carob Chip? I want to be there to supervise and make sure you guys are safe.”
“You don’t have to worry. We’re not allowed in Mrs. Newton’s pantry anyway.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. That’s where she keeps her weed.”
There you have it: a simple 3-point plan for talking to your kids about the temptations of the modern world. Easy, right? Well, namaste. No need to thank me. Your positive vibes, which I can already feel restoring the balance of energy in this sphere, are thanks enough.
But before you go and load up the Prius to take your kids to goat yoga, I want you to do one thing for yourself. Just one. Whether it’s a reiki session or a steaming hot 8 ball that will knock your shit off, remember to indulge a little bit today. You’ve earned it.