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Hit like a mack truck...

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I have two children: one is 15 (male) and the other 19 (female.) We have a very close, supportive (or so I thought) family and have always been there for our kids. Our daughter has always been a very verbal, self motivated achiever while our son is quieter and more shy. He has always been involved in sports but is not as academically inclined. We recently saw a change in our son who began spending time with a new group of kids who we did not know. They are not in the same circle of sports, etc. our son had been in. And now we've found out (through one of the parents who shared this in a non-chalant way with me) that the kids (including our son) have been experimenting with pot. This has been a great shock to our family, since we've always trusted and supported our son and are there for him in every way. My struggle at the moment is knowing how to proceed...I know that a very heavy handed approach can backfire yet I also realize that we have to establish some boundaries or things will just continue to deteriorate. Any helpful comments about how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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My younger brother began experimenting with pot at about the same age as your son. In my brother's case, my parents were also worried about using a heavy-handed approach with him. He got a lecture, and that was it. He's still smoking it today unfortunately. (He's 18 now). He's doing absolutely nothing with his life. He stayed back his senior year of high school and got kicked off the baseball team for pot.


As soon as your son realizes that he can "get away with" doing that- he'll dismiss you as parents and play you for stupid.


He needs to know that you're not stupid- and that you're keen to what he's been up to. He should not be allowed to hang around with those kids anymore, especially since their parents seem to be so nonchalant about their own kids doing drugs.


I'm not a parent myself yet, but I'm pretty sure that if a child of mine ever did that- I'd come down hard on him/her, at least intitially- to show that illegal drugs and frying their brain will not be tolerated- at least not while living in my home and receiving my financial support. After discovering such information about my child doing drugs, and laying down the law- I would purchase a home drug testing kit and test monthly- just to be sure that my rules were taken seriously. My trust would need to be earned slowly after something like that. That's what happens to criminals who get caught taking or selling drugs- they have to be tested and babysat afterwards. Whereas they could have just done the right thing and not have to lose their freedom or be monitored. I think it would be useful for a teen using drugs to get a taste of that.


Maybe I'm too strict and I'm better off just having a cat like I currently do. Hopefully some parents of teens will chime in to help you out.



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I appreciate your views. We are not just ignoring this, I assure you. Our son has been grounded for the week, until we figure out our next step. His privileges have been taken away slowly (computer, cell phone) and we are doing this gradually, since we realize that too much force sometimes has tragic results. (There have been several suicides locally...kids in our son's school, in fact. I know that's a radical outcome but since this happened in our house, anything seems a possibility at the moment.)

Trust me...our son does not think we are stupid. If anything, he realizes that we are majorly on the ball. We grew up in the 70's...need I say more? We made stupid mistakes of our own and are fortunate to have lived to tell the tale. It is for this reason that we are aware of the slope one can start sliding on when one tries this sort of thing. Yes it is discovery, but the dangers today are far worse than what we dealt with then.

I think our son is in the midst of experiencing some very strong peer pressure from a group of kids who are not fortunate enough to have diligent parents for one reason or another. This is part of our frustration...he has a good family who loves, trusted(past tense for the time being) and respects him and it kind of feels like betrayal to me. This being said, I realize that he sees us as the 'old people who are out of touch'. We want to show him we care about him but we have to find the fine line of not alienating him further and pushing him to get deeper into this phase.

Thanks so much for your articulate response. I can tell you are mature and deep thinking. I feel for your brother. So much potential gone to waste. This is what we want to avoid. And I pray that we take the right steps to put our son back on a good course and open the lines of communication.

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We want to show him we care about him but we have to find the fine line of not alienating him further and pushing him to get deeper into this phase.


That makes sense.


When I said that if let off easily, he could potentially play you for "stupid"

'old people who are out of touch'


that is precisely what I meant- though you stated it better than I did.


Did you find out precisely when he was smoking pot with these kids? In my brother's case- a tell-tale sign was when he wanted to spend the night at a friends house.... it meant he wanted to be out of sight to get in trouble.


Back then I told my parents that a surprise visit or 2 to his friend's house would not hurt in situations like that- but they never followed up and I think that is why he's a pothead now. No boundaries/consequences.




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One of the problems is that he 'does not talk' as my daughter puts it. She is the polar opposite of this. I think we will be able to slowly ge to the bottom of this but at the moment all we know that he did it, thanks to that crazy mother who blurted it out to me.

Yes...there were a lot of requests for sleep overs. You are so on the button! As I said, I trusted him. He will have to work to regain my trust, that is for certain. I want him to know that to get respect and be treated like an adult, you have to give respect and act like one. I just don't want to push him away completely...running away or at worst, suicide would present tragic results which would most certainly be devastating.

I need to go now but will check later for your responses...please know how much I appreciate your thoughtful viewpoints.

Bye for now.

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The sleepovers are a major part of the problem. When kids are young sleepovers can be fun, etc. But in my opinion, unless there is a long day trip or something that would prevent someone from getting a ride home- sleepovers can be the major equation for trouble if the kids are now teenagers and that are staying at a home with little or no supervision.


From personal experience, I can tell you that I was living with my parents while attending college, and I only slept out so that I would not have any kind of curfew. There's usually a motive for wanting to sleep out when you're older and it's not to watch Disney movies anymore like it used to be....


I think in your son's case- sleepovers need to be off limits- unless his friends are staying at your house, where you know there is adequate supervision. That doesn't eliminate sleepovers completely, but puts reasonable boundaries on them that are fair to expect after what he's done. It's for his own good.



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Belladonna...another quite wonderful, if wise piece of advice. I made a mistake by thinking sleeping over was innocent. After all, my daughter did it at different stages and nothing bad ever happened. Of course, it was with people we knew supervised their kids. I made a major error...I tried to be trusting and not judge the adults in these circumstances, though my gut said that they were not on top of things. At that point, I left it up to my son in whom I had ultimate trust. I made such a great error in expecting more of him than those adults! I am glad I am learning from this...as you probably know, women's instincts are such a gift and we should always intently listen to our gut!!


Incidentally, it was at one of the 'surprise visits' you alluded to that we found all this out. (Which was another instinct...my husband thought I was crazy! ) To make a long story short, he did not answer his phone and when we went to the house where he was supposed to be, the whole ugly affair unfolded. Retelling it now just makes a bad scene worse in my mind.


I am so wounded because a trust and respect has been breached and in an unwarranted way. My son has choices of great friends who are not considered 'geeks' but who have good families and are grounded. Somehow, he chose these few kids, who seem to need all the support, love, respect and acceptance we have always given him and who have few if any resources available in terms of parenting, etc. In short, a weak home life. My struggle is to figure out why and to do something about it. I am trying to tell him now that I am a person, too and that when you destroy the trust a person puts in you, there is a road to be taken to gain it back. He needs to know that we are not just 'tools'...we are his parents and his welfare is the most important thing to us at the end of the day.


One off topic question...how does one send a private message here? I am new to this... Thanks in advance.

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Here's a link to info about using Private Messages (PM).


continuing[/i] to do it, as in the case of my brother.


Now that he's tried it, and you are aware of it. I'm sure you will handle it well. I agree that it's important to communicate with him more- and ask why he wanted to try it. But he also needs to know there's a zero tolerance policy. Now that he violated your trust, he is going to have a tighter hold on his independence for a while and more boundaries- and have to be checked-up on. That comes with the territory and is a consequence of his bad judgement. It may seem unfair to him now- but he'll thank you for it later.



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When my mom found out that my sister was smoking cigarettes, she took away every privilege with the rationale that my mom's money would not go to my sister's habit. My sister quit pretty quickly, but it took a while for her to earn back that trust. If he wants to smoke weed, let him know that he'll be paying for it himself, and you won't be helping him at all. Take away all his privileges (including going out with his friends) and let him know it's going to take a while to earn these things back.


I'm a big fan of the tough love.


Smoking weed IS serious, and should be handled seriously. My half-sister started smoking and her mom didn't do anything about it, and she's 19, a highschool dropout, pregnant, on welfare, and refuses to hold down a job. Her mom never created boundaries with her. So I thank you from a like-minded parent's standpoint for wanting to create this boundary with him. Good for you!

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Hi express, I have been where you are now. what I can tell you -prepare to have a long and difficult road ahead of you (unless you are one of the lucky one's). While you can set boundaries and punishments/consequences all you want, they may not work and if they do it may take some time and patients! They find ways around this. This is such a difficult thing, they can and will run away, sneak out windows and rebel in many ways. Some people say, 'just lay down the law'! 'Use tough love'! It's not that easy and until you have one of your most cherished get into this, it's hard to say what you would do.


Are you willing to take it to whatever lengths you may need too? If you install a 'zero tolerance policy' make sure you are up for the challenge as you will most probably be tested to your limits with it. Once you start this, you can't back out or they will see right through you.


What are your limits? If he doesn't stop what are you prepared to do about it? If he doesn't want counseling what is your next step? I guess what I'm trying to say is, are you willing to get law enforcement involved if it comes to the point that you have no control over whether he stops or not??


All too often kids won't stop w/o these drastic measures and then you are faced with what others call' the dead beat parents' because you are faced with a decision of either calling the law on your own child or turning face and hope that he will stop on his own!


Remember, the only person on this earth that we have total control over is ourselves. While we can and do have some over our children (teen years)they can and do show us very quickly just how much we don't.


I wish you all the best and if you want,pm me and I will get into a little more detail.

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Thank you all for your kind responses and words of advice and counsel. I know we are in for a very tough fight. I could handle an accident or some other calamity but this certainly did shock and turn me upside down. The feeling of being betrayed by someone you love cuts very deep but I realize that my son is a work in progress and I need to continue to fight for him.


We spent a few days with my family out of town this past week and I saw a marked improvement in his demeanor. He had been so withdrawn and more quiet than ever, due to what I feared but did not want to believe. I am glad in many ways I found out now, while perhaps we still have time and energy and a chance to help him. That being said, I feel weak when I think about what may lie ahead.


He has not yet fully shown the amount of remorse I expect, though we have been slowly taking away each of his privileges and from time to time, though we have only been home one day, he says he can and wants to leave (he is grounded.) Today I called a drug counseling hotline and found out that there are definite routes that can be taken to insure that if he does run, he will have to face the consequences. And I told him about it in no uncertain terms. As the counselor said, 'this is real life' and he needs to know I mean business. I used to be afraid of the embarrassment that getting law inforcement involved. Now I realize that that would be a small price to pay. I am convinced that only a heavy handed approach will help us conquer this and I am prepared to go forward. I would rather see him committed than watch him slip away into oblivion. It may sound extreme, but it could easily happen. The counselor also said that WE have all the rights, as parents, and he has none. The rights he had he has lost as a result of bad choices. At this point, he doesn't even have the right to privacy, from what he said. And if I feel I cannot control him, I can simply call 911 and the authorities will get involved.


Thank you, again so much for giving me this sounding board.

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It's not your fault that he tried pot. There are many things that can lead a teen to try it:




*peer pressure


*drugs are glamorized in most popular music


I would say that bad parenting is not what leads to kids TRYING pot. Bad parenting can lead to kids continuing to do it.


Very cool perspective.


I was having this conversation with my boyfriend this morning on drugs and how to get kids to avoid them AFTER experimentation (knowing that experimentation may be impossible to prevent). We might have early discussions with children on this topic, not that it will help, but it will stand to reason that the issue is important to us both. My boyfriend compares drugs to elephant dung and these are his words:


The similarity to drugs is thus: elephant dung may be interesting in shape or other characteristic. Perhaps it even smells a bit like the grassy savannas from a certain distance. (Faraway meditative states may be inspired by it?) It's probably best avoided or kept on shelf. If you overdo your interction with it you risk smelling, looking dumb, catching disease, maybe even death. BUT, you will not be able to blame the elephant dung if you wind up worse off from your interaction with it. It would only be your own imprudence and otherwise unwise behavior.

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