It was easy enough to sweep the whole “the mayor smokes crack” angle under the carpet when it was just Gawker and, uh, the Toronto Star who had seen the video. But it’s getting kind of tricky now, parents of Toronto, isn’t it? Now that the chief of police has confirmed that there is, indeed, a video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine and making racist and homophobic statements, and now that two major daily newspapers have also reported in detail on a night of extreme drunkenness and abuse, it’s kind of hard to keep this from the children. It was already on the Daily Show which means it’s only a matter of time before it makes the Sesame Street news. We basically have to sit down and talk to them about this or monitor their screen time. And, well, let’s face it, we don’t want to talk about anything else anyway. UPDATE: The mayor admits to smoking crack! All the more reason we need to talk to our kids.
I did what I always do when I need parenting advice: I turned to the internet. Several Google searches for “talking to your kids about the mayor doing drugs,” however, didn’t yield my desired results. So I’m going to have to take the six pieces of advice listed in an article on PsychCentral titled, “How to Talk to Your Kids When You Think They’re Using Drugs,” and tweak them to fit our needs. It should work.
1. Be direct and calm.
Yes, indeed. There is no need to let your own emotions about the mayor of our city smoking crack on video in a known crack house unduly influence your children’s. They will have their own emotions. Say something like, “The police have a video of our mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack and saying mean things. Grown ups on the news and everywhere will be talking about this a lot because crack is a very bad kind of drug and mayors are supposed to be role models and leaders.”
2. Talk when your child is lucid.
So don’t try to have this talk with them after they’ve been hanging out in Rob Ford’s basement where all the “getting hammered” will supposedly be taking place from now on.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
You don’t want to tell your children how to feel. Open-ended questions will help guide them toward honesty. Ask things like, “How do you feel about the mayor of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, lying about the existence of a crack video?” Or ask, “How can I help you to process the news that we elected a raging alcoholic and fool to the mayor’s office?” (What’s that, lawyers? Oh, sorry. Make that, “alleged alcoholic,” and, “alleged fool.”)
4. Don’t punish your child.
This is important, parents. Don’t make them sit in the car with you on Sunday afternoons so you can listen to The City with Mayor Rob Ford show on Newstalk 1010.
5. Show support.
Tell them you will always love them no matter how fucked up the mayor gets on Saint Patrick’s Day or at the Taste of the Danforth. Your love is not in way, shape or form conditioned on the mayor’s sobriety. It’s important they understand this.
6. Get your child treatment.
Your children deserve a safe place they can talk about how they feel about the mayor’s problems. Perhaps a mani-pedi or a trip to the barber shop? Aw, what the hell, toys for everyone! Our mayor smokes crack!