Psychedelic drugs are undergoing a popular renaissance, showing beneficial results in treating various physical and mental health conditions. Psychedelic retreats, clinics, and microdosing courses are popping up all over the world. Hallucinogenic drugs show promise in helping people concentrate, create, and reduce pain. Things have changed.
Or have they?
When googling drugs and parenting, the results are one-sided, revealing a double-standard. They include ‘Stoned parenting’, ‘can a pothead be a good parent’ and ‘what happens if a toddler gets high.’ While some parents post wine clock memes on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there is no backlash. Why do other parents still face stigma for talking about their psychedelic use?
How Psychedelics Shape Parenting
Psychedelic culture has long been stereotyped. Parents who microdose psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, ayahuasca, and LSD, don’t share their experience that often. The trend of microdosing is not new, and is still on the rise in places like Silicon Valley. Practitioners in the tech world and beyond claim that taking small doses, usually 10 to 20 micrograms of psychedelics, every few days can help with creativity and focus.
Parents choose psychedelic drugs for various reasons. Parenting is sometimes tedious and always difficult. Due to an abundance of fun, bright, and mostly unrealistic photos of happy families all over the internet, some parents feel pressure to be the perfect parent to their child. A survey conducted by mental healthcare specialists at Priory Group found that up to 40 percent of parents felt anxious due to idealized family photos on Instagram and Facebook. Among 1,002 parents surveyed, more than a third accused baby bloggers of contributing to depression by making others feel inadequate. Beyond that, day-to-day decisions, lack of sleep, constant fear, and unsolicited pieces of advice from other people can add to an already constant and increasing level of stress.
According to a 2019 report from The Guardian, those surveyed feel microdosing helps them become better parents. Parents who use psychedelic drugs report feeling more present and having a better ability to understand their priorities, especially when it comes to the relationships between a parent and a child.
This report from The Business Insider describes the story of a 31-year-old woman identified as Nina, who started microdosing psychedelic mushrooms and LSD, to feel peace and forget traumatic memories of her past. According to Nina, microdosing helped her relieve the pain and focus on her child.
Some anecdotal reports on Reddit suggest that parents who microdose feel increased empathy, and can begin seeing the world through their childrens’ eyes, coupled with an added boost to their energy.
“I have been experimenting the past few months with microdosing psilocybin and the difference has been amazing. Just like you describe. I’m the mum I always thought I’d be naturally. The one they deserve. It’s like I’m seeing the world through their eyes. I want to join in their games. I’m calmer and they are responding to me in so much more of a loving way like they trust me more. Yesterday we had a tea party for my son with a few family members and instead of being stressed up to the eyeballs and concerned with meeting the needs / wants of all the adults, I genuinely enjoyed the experience and shared in my son’s joy,” says a Reddit user of two children, six- and three-year-old.
Another user wrote, “Yesterday I had a really bad day. I intended on doing some useful things in the house but couldn’t. That started to eat me up and started a negative spiral. that of course makes me negative-not fun-grumpy dad. And guess what, kids don’t become better behaved when you’re angry… So, by the end of the day, I was just empty, empty and tired from being stuck in a negative thought loop all day. So, I decided to take a microdose of LSD the next morning. What a difference. Instead of fretting and getting stuck in negative thoughts, I just got in the moment, and that positive feeling is reinforced in the kid’s behaviour, making them easier to handle. I also become playful, entering their play, which at their age is of course awesome. Spontaneity also surges, especially at the playground where I enjoy conversation with other parents and even enjoying the moment instead of seeing it as another thing to check off the list of activities for the day. The extra energy-boost is also a big help given that they are awake at 6:00 am with too much energy.”
Resources for Parents who Microdose
While microdosing shows potential and can benefit parents, due to the illegal status of psychedelic drugs, some parents experience guilt. Some Reddit users stated that they feel “some guilt about needing to use drugs to manage my family life” and question “why they need drugs to enjoy children.”
Plant Parenthood is an online and in-person community of parents who use psychedelic and other medicine. Founded by Rebecca Kronman, the main goal of this space is to connect parents who feel guilty, fear judgement, and express psychological distress after a psychedelic experience.
This podcast was created in 2013 by Jonathan Thomson with a mission of open dialogue and family healing. Psychedelic Parenting Podcast is a resource for parents who use psychedelics and want to be open with their children about their use of hallucinogenic substances for mental and physical purposes.