DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old son, "Adam," has known he was adopted since he was old enough to understand. Adam's birth parents both were addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. In fact, Adam tested positive for cocaine at birth.
Should I tell him that he is at risk for addiction because of his biological heritage? I want him to be aware, yet I don't want to bad-mouth his birth parents or in any way lead him to think that this is his destiny. I know he associates with kids who may be involved in these things. -- CONCERNED MOM IN ATLANTA
DEAR CONCERNED MOM: Frankly, you should have had this conversation with Adam by the time he was 9. He must definitely be given this information. To remain silent would be like failing to warn a child with balance problems not to walk a tightrope.
It would not be "bad-mouthing" to explain to Adam that because his adoption records show his parents were both addicts, it's extremely important that he avoid addictive substances because he could become addicted more easily than the average person. Explain that while it isn't a guarantee that he'll become hooked, the tendency is there. Forewarned is forearmed.