The Age of Psychedelic Parenting

Joseph Dana
9 min readJul 7, 2022
God the Father with Four Angels. Jacopo Zanguidi, 1569. The Met Collection

When we talk and think about psychedelic parenting, we are really speaking about the parent’s personal growth. There is no special trick here. It’s tough and slow work. We see ourselves and our internal psychologies through our children and our parenting. Whether we choose to do anything with that insight is a matter of personal choice. But the material is there, and psychedelics have the power to help us dive deeper or decline further depending on how you approach it.

I had my first psychedelic experience a couple of months after my 40th birthday. Growing up I was always afraid of psychedelics even though they were prevalent and popular at my East Coast private school. My ego, that wily animal, established itself early in my life as a coping mechanism to deal with the gravity of my parents’ divorce, the departure of my father, and my mother’s lifelong depression. The sensitive, curious, and empathic feelings that typify a child’s existence were suppressed as my ego took center stage. Nothing much changed as I grew older and so the prospect of experimentation with psychedelic drugs didn’t sit well with me (or my ego).

Like anything in life, psychedelics require reverence and a great deal of preparation. Without clear and noble intentions, the psychonaut can easily lose out on the deep and powerful lessons these substances offer. The stakes are even higher for parents, given how our childhood directly affects our child-rearing — whether we acknowledge it or not.

Becoming your best self (and parent)

Carl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychologist popular in some corners of the psychedelic community, believed that we each had the ability to become the best possible version of ourselves. This lifelong exercise, which he called the individuation process, required deep and uncomfortable introspection into all parts of the psyche and unconscious. Most of us fall short because we are unwilling to engage with that murkiness and unresolved material.

Around mid-life, the darker aspects of our personalities that we keep from our daily personas, which Jung called our shadow, bubble to the surface. Along with suppressed emotional trauma from childhood, these aspects of our personalities give us a test. Confront the material as part of the individuation process of…

Joseph Dana