Chiswick Parents Speak Out About Skunk Nightmare

Teenage son says "I'm not ashamed. I am quite well informed"

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An article in last weekend’s Guardian has put the spotlight on local families torn apart by the ‘teenage skunk epidemic’. The example they took for their ‘model’ family was one who lives ‘in a deeply middle-class suburb in comfortable west London’ otherwise known as Chiswick.

Although the parents were happy to talk to the newspaper about their experience, they chose to use aliases because of the fallout that engulfed author Julie Myerson, after she wrote a book about her son’s behaviour that culminated in him being thrown out of the family home.

The couple's 17-year-old son called Jake (like Julie Myerson's son) insisted on the use of his name. "I'm not ashamed, you know. I have looked it all up and read a lot of research and I am quite well informed," he said. "Actually, all my friends are; it's the so-called adults who have forgotten that they did a bit of this themselves when they were young – a long time ago.”

The 52-year-old mother-of-two known as ‘Susanne’ has a whole folder of clipped-out newspaper articles and internet printouts full of research and opinion on cannabis that she regularly tries to get Jake to read. "We certainly have had these discussions again and again for two years. Paradoxically, it's when he's stoned that he actually engages," she admitted.

His parents had thought it was the au pair who was smoking in the house when Jake began using cannabis at the age of 15. "We thought we were ready for a bit of pot," said ‘John’. "Our daughter came back from a party and was really ill from it when she was 15 and we teased her about it – of course, she never touched it again. I smoked at university, we all did, and always envisaged how I'd tackle it chummily with my kids, play the cool dad. God, how stupid. This stuff is not the same ballgame."

The full article can be read here.

March 20, 2009