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need advice, just discovered my teen is smoking pot
May 2, 2000
12:03 pm
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Hope
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HI there everyone
I need some help on this issue.
I have a sixteen year old, who used to be a star athlete and got b averages.
In the past six months he has been hanging out with unsavory teens. I am really upset about this and wont allow them to visit our home. I can tell they are pot smokers and drop outs.
I want so much more for my son. He is bright, articulate, intelligent, compassionate and could seriously be a stand up comedien. I am not just biased. He has talent!
I am married to a man who is not his real father.
He sees his real father twice a year for a couple of weeks.
My husband is furious, we found two roach ends in his room this morning and he wants to kick him out.
I have already taken away all of his priviledges, money, sleepovers, tv, stereo etc because he has really become disrespectful, selfish, angry and his grades are failing.
I now think this may be a result of the pot.
He did have some anger problems in the past years due to the fact that my ex partner was abusive to him. I left this asshole, but he stalked us for years and I think the scars remain for my son, I have almost healed mine.
I really want to deal with this in a tough b=ut loviing manner. I am pissed at my partner who just wants to "kick him out" this is a immature and irresponsible way of dealing with a serious issue. He obviously doesnt love my child although he has been his step father for almost a decade.
What do i do?
This is so upsetting to me. I love my teenager, he is a beautiful boy, he means so much to me and to his girlfriend, who is an a student, wins numerous talent shows and is studying to be a lawyer.
He treats her like his precious princess.
I know she doesnt know of his dropping grades and pot smoking.
She wouldnt accept it she told me. I was talking to her once,, I felt that I should talk to her mom about her relationship with my son. Quite frankly, I dont think they should be having sex, as they are, nor do I feel that my son is a good influence on her right now as long as he hangs with these people.
I want to do this tonight, but is this controlling and messing in his social life where i shouldnt be?
I know this would devastate him, it might push him further into drug use and apathy.
Or it could snap him out of it, if he sees what he could lose.
I have never experienced this before, In no way will I tolerate any pot or pot use in my house!
I am at a loss on this one.

May 2, 2000
12:40 pm
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Cici
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Hope,

I have been where your son is. Let me give you the young person's perspective.

As a teenager, I was a straight-A student in a highly competitive college-prep program in a high school that was recently ranked third in the nation as one of the best schools in the country. My mother, like you, was very supportive of my achievements and had high expectations. I can tell that you really care about your son.

Once in college, I was a pre-med student with a 3.5 GPA in the honors program. Then, I snapped. The stress, the high expectations, the burn-out, all got to me. I started drinking, then doing harder drugs, then smoking pot. I'll be frank and say that my mother handled the situation poorly. She reacted very strongly, worried that I would get into legal trouble and screw up my college career.

She first confronted me, angry. We argued, she told me that under her roof I would obey her rules. I moved out and didn't speak to her for about a year. Our relationship even now, after overcoming my drug problems, is shakey. Now, I'm on track for a degree in counceling psych and I hope to help other substance abusers.

So. What to do, right? The thing we have to realize is that drug using is not the problem. People use drugs to mask deeper problems. Behavior problems, failing grades aren't caused by drugs. They are caused by deeper issues. My issue was being raped at a summer camp when I was 12. I never told my parents. Children lead lives separate from that which you see at home. Around their friends, they can be completely different people.

I know, this is long, but this is a delicate issue, you know? My fiance is also a recovering addict. He started in high school. His parents still don't know. He was a great student, active in track, basketball and wrestling. They never knew about his drug use because he kept it secret. They also never knew about his problems with depression stemming from a negative experience as a child that he still won't discuss. So you see, sometimes there are emotional problems that your children never reveal to you. It is embarrassing, they don't want to burden you, for whatever reason.

The best thing you can do is try to talk to your son in as non-confrontational a way as you can. Because to be aggressive, use statements like "you did this" or "you're doing that", is to incite hostility and therefore make him less open to your opinions.

It took a long time before I could stop. My parents sent me to rehab, but I used more than ever after my 3 month stint with a private psychiatrist. In the end, it has to be a personal choice to stop using any drug, be it nicotine or THC or Cocaine or even caffeine!

I laughed at my mom when she told me drugs were bad. She's never used, how would she know?

I'm still a mess of problems. But drug use is NOT the problem. It is a symptom of a problem. And THAT is the problem that needs to be gently teased out and dealt with. After that, the drug use will stop on its own.

Good luck. Please keep us posted to let us know how things are going!

May 2, 2000
12:53 pm
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hazza
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Hey there hope,
Okay this is a tough one, but you really do have a lot of the answers there yourself.
Firstly, you have a boundary. NO smoking pot in your house. You are right and should be firm about this.

Also you have an idea of where all this is coming from. This will help.

Sixteen is a funny age. I was that age when i first started smoking pot and i continued for far too many years.
I too am intelligent, the crowd I hung around with were actually decent people, they never put pressure on anyone, nearly all of them held down a job, but they did smoke dope and some of them occasionally did use other drugs. But to others, may be they seemed a bad influence.

This is the problem you have. You are right, this could be the start of your son going of the rails BUT it may not be. The key for you is not to panic yet.

You need to talk to him about the pot, and the more open you can be about this, the more he will be honest with you. If he thinks you are going to go mad about it, he will clam up, blame others or whatever he needs to do to protect his mum from pain and himself from repremand.

If you approach him calmly and make sure that you don't over react, you will have a much better chance or keep communication open at this important time.

For example, it is no good you telling him how he will ruin eveything, die, end up using other drugs if he continues. He will know that this is not true. Those things might happen yes, but it is just as true to say that people can smoke a bit of pot in their teenage years and still go on to be productive in their adult years.

So you need to be informed. And so does he. He must understand the implications of smoking pot.
He must realise that this can bring him into the world of stronger drugs which are far more likely to mess him up than pot. He must be aware of WHY he is smoking it, is he trying to impress these friends? He needs to realise that long term and heavy use of this drug can cause psychological problems, it will impare his abilities if he drives a car. He needs to know the legal implications.Most of all he needs to understand what it does to his health.

In other words, you cannot choose what he does, but the best you can do is make sure if this is his choice, he knows the realities.

He is at the age of rebellion. Finding his own way, and If i remember rightly, when i was in this stage i really wouldn't have listened to anyone over the age of 25 anyway.
This is just the way it is for teenagers, they think they are ten foot tall and bullet proof.

When i look back at myself at that age, i wish that i had not smoked so much pot, but i don't regret it all. That is the big trouble with it, it is fun and when you are a teenager, fun is your ambition.

As they say, you can't put an old head on young shoulders.

You cannot stop this young man having sex, doing drugs or anything else. That is the most painful of truths i know, but true it is.

The best you can do is try to keep communication open. And be firm about your boundaries. Tell him that you strongly disapprove of his choice and that you will not tolerate it in your house.
But if you puch him away, and meddle behind his back, and ban his friends from the house. He is more likely to go behind your back.

You need to talk to him about what he wants from life. WHy does he think his grades are falling? ask him. Does he see himself smoking it in ten yrs time?

there are many different kinds of people who smoke.
some do it forever, and they do lose all ambition. Others like myself see it as a tempory thing. Even as a teenager, i would look at people who would hang with us in their 30's and think " my god, i hope i am not still hanging with teenagers and smoking dope when i am that age, i hope to be doing something better by then."

Try at least, however hard it is to communicate with him.
You know and i know, that people who smoke too much end up doing nothing much else, but i don't know how you can get him to understand that. It is something we learn for ourselves.

Better still, send him to this site to talk to me, i will do my best to get him to go and live his life instead of seeing it disapper in an ash tray like mine did!

There could be so many reason why he is smoking, try to understand then and you will find a way forward.
Peace
Hazza

May 2, 2000
7:22 pm
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Hope
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What wonderfully helpful replies!
ok, I will talk to him gently about this issue and see if we can become closer.
Its a shame to see him smoking, it really is a harmful drug, it causes depression, violence and withdrawal.
He has so much going for him, personality, model looks, kindness...
I guess I shouldnt mess with his social life by calling his girlfriends mom...
I'll just talk to him tonite and let you guys know how it went, thanks so much for taking the time to offer such personal insight.

May 3, 2000
11:17 am
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Hope
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I dont know, I feel I need to come down firm on him.
He didnt even come home last night, stayed at a friends against my orders...on a school night.
I really have lost all control.
Hes almost seventeen, but hes still a child.
What to do.

May 3, 2000
11:58 am
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Cici
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This is a delicate situation. On the one hand, you have the impulse to be firm and authoritarian in an attempt to control yor son's impulses. On the other, being too firm will have a reactionary effect: he'll get angry and do the exact oppostie of what you wish. It's a very careful balancing act.

Another thing you have to remember is that his age is a very difficult age to be. His hormonal levels are fluctuating, which can cause mood swings. He is trying to assert his independence. He is experimenting with new things and experiencing a world that is far larger than the protective cocoon he grew up in.

I remember when I argued with my mom over drugs. In retrospect, she had a lot of very valid points. But I never heard them. Once she made the step to try to repress my impulse to be independent, I reacted by hurting her with the most painful wound I think a mother can receive: I cut her out of my life. I know you don't want to do that. I started coming home at 7, 8, 11AM after being out all night. She was horrified and hurt that I was doing the exact oppostie of what she had always taught me.

Try looking up on the web some info on how to talk to your teen about pot. A lot of developmental psychologists have work hard to construct intervention methods that are easier for a teen to digest.

May 3, 2000
8:29 pm
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janes
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Stay ftrong. stay "mom". He's still your son. But set your boundaries. Setting a limit does not mean you stop loving him. I still love my tattooed, ex substance abuser, drunk driving, stripper of a 20 year old daughter.

They are still our kids but htey have to live their lives and make their own mistakes. You can tell hem about the consequences..but he has to serve themwhen the time comes. And the consequences will come. Love him, pary for him and see if he'll do counseling with you. If not..you go to counseling. It will help you get throught trhese rebeillious teenage years.

P.S. I still have three teens at home.

Keep telling him your views. calmy and rationally. I always told my kids they would never grow up and say.."I wish you wouldn've told me"..cuz I already have..

May 4, 2000
10:02 am
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Cici
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I agree with Janes completely, being that I am the "tatooed, ex substance abuser 20 yr old daughter" in my family.

After about a year of pain on my parents part, they told me they were going to stop intervening in my life and let me sink or swim on my own. Mainly this was because they were hurting from me rejecting them so strongy. After that, our relationship improved and I started making my own decisions wisely, as they wanted me to. I went back to college, support myself and have stopped using.

So, when the parent is able to show their child that they are confident in how they raised the child enough to let him or her make their own deicisions, the child who came from the supportive, moral background will eventually make the right decisions.

May 4, 2000
9:07 pm
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TRosciano
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Ok by him smoking pot he is trying to escape reality. The reason anyone does drugs is to escape reality at first because they can't handle what is going on. He has got other issues going on. You can tell him don't do this and don't do that but you cannot be with him every second of the day. If he doesn't do it at your house then maybe after school or somewhere else he will do it.
He has got to know that you do love him and you will not kick him to the curb for saying what he feels. How does he feel about his stepdad? If I had a stepdad yelling to kick me out I wouldn't come home either. Set up a day that you and your son can be together ALONE! Talk with him about your concerns calmly and let him know that he CAN tell you anything and there will not be repercussions to follow. If someone is scared that you will take away something else or ground him then he will not tell you anything. Ask him what can you do for him to make him happier? Make him feel like he has a say so also in the way the house works. Ask him how can you be a better mother(I'm not saying you aren't good) it's just a way of him opening up to you and feeling somewhat in control for probably once in his life. Maybe he is just overwhealmed by past abuse issues or maybe he just doesn't want to play sports and be the jock anymore. Let him know that you will love him no matter what he does or does not do. Just plan a day and let him no ahead of time and tell him this is going to be just a mother son day for us to have fun and talk. He will open up if he feels comfortable. You know what your son is capable of and he is still young just give him some sense of pride. Don't tell him all the negative things he is doing but let him know the POSITIVE role he plays in your life and his. Let him know he has the world in front of him. I wish you all the luck in the world.

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