How One Direction helped me with drugs
Boy band’s latest scandal provides an unusual opportunity to parent.
For the past couple of years my tween daughter has been totally nuts over the boy band One Direction. She and her classmates will sit giggling over them, and this is all fairly typical behaviour. The guys in the band had seemed to be relatively normal and untouched by the seedier side of the music industry until recently, compelling me to have a chat with my kids about drugs.

Drugs and Rock 'n Roll

After a video was leaked of two of the band members allegedly smoking a joint, I realised that the news would be shared around the playground. I didn’t want to burst Hannah’s bubble about her favourite band, but also realised that we needed to chat about the video.

The conversation turned out to be incredibly enlightening.

Kicking it off with “So what do you like most about One Direction?”, I broke the news to my kids about the video.

Hannah was incredibly disappointed, and said so. “Why do people even take drugs?” she asked.

That was the springboard for a rich, deep discussion about drugs, addiction, fame and self-control. We chatted about Bieber and Miley as well as Michael Jackson, Elvis, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. We spoke about how many of these had it in common that their fame and careers had started when they were just kids, and how they’d been encouraged by their friends to party all the time. That they didn’t have the same responsibilities that regular people have, and that they were surrounded by people who adore them.

I spoke about the pills some of them took to have the energy for their gruelling shows and touring schedules, and how these pills can become addictive.

We chatted about the artists and how their performances on stage or screen and their comments in interviews did not necessarily reflect their private lives. This fed into the discussion about what we admire in musicians and the relevance of image in the lives of famous people.

We even spoke about how dreadful it is for famous people when they have cameras in their faces at every turn, people clamouring for quotes and autographs or photos of the stars falling over or pulling funny faces.

My kids aren’t too naïve- we had the drugs discussion before after Michael Jackson died- but this incident was much more immediate for them.

Some young fans have been selling (or even burning) their One Direction concert tickets, but my daughter’s reaction was simply disappointment that the guys were so foolish and lame. She was also relieved that her favourite 1Der wasn’t in the now-infamous dope video. Phew.

As the parent of a Directioner, I know Harry is the cute one. Duh!

Do your kids ever try to copy their heroes?

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