Parenting Teenagers (12-18) Support Group

This community is focused on the joys, challenges and concerns faced by parents of teenagers (12 to 18 year olds). The major areas of child development include: physical development, perception and sensory development, communication and language development, cognitive development, emotional development and social development.

1 Online
1 Online

My son admitted his drug use

Last night I caught my fifteen year old son smoking marijuana in the garage. He acted remorseful and gave me is pipe and very small stash. After a long talk he said he would give it up completely (yeah, right). He also admitted smoking every day - in my day that would make someone a pretty chronic user (as I was decades ago). I'm trying to get some advice on how to proceed from here.
Can anyone share their experience?
Thanks
Chuck

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

hi chuck,
we are going through the same thing with my 15 yr old stepson. for the last year it has been a downward spiral for him. he smokes ciggs and pot as far as i know, nothing else. he would steal money from us to buy it. was getting high before school and completely flunked the last 2 terms.

the night before easter, him and his father had a big fight and he ran away. they found him on the bridge and he said he wanted to jump. he stayed at a hospital for 2 weeks and then had out-patient for another 2 weeks. he was doing real good for a couple of weeks but now he is starting to skip classes again, caught him smoking a few times too plus he lies like there's no tomorrow.

he sees a psychiatrist and a therapist plus he is on a mood stabilizer and an anti-depressant. of course his friends are just like him. i don't know what advice to give you except maybe try giving him some kind of reward to work towards. talk to him about why does he feel like he needs to get high. did it start off as doing something because the other kids did or maybe he feels stressed out about something. maybe a therapist could help with that.

it's a tough situation, but i think talking to him and showing him your support will help tremendously.

best of luck,
Kat

p
deleted_user
deleted_user

I don't have any GOOD advice to give, probably, but what I've done at times like this is reflect back on my own past. It gives me some faith that a little smoking is not the end of the world, and that my son can and probably will still turn out alright.
He's not smoking pot, but my son has been indulging in cigarettes here and there.
When I was in high school,I smoked, but boy did I HIDE It!
I knew it wasn't anyhthuing worth getting into trouble about because I didn't like it that much, but taht if my mom knew the reality would change from it being "just a phase" thing/something I wanted to experience privately (being a 'bad" girl) into "woops has a problem! O no!!!"

So, I say, what made you quit? Why were you doing it? What were your thoughts on it at the time? WHat are your thoughts on your own behavior now?

Me, I am glad I gave myself the freedom and independence to do something outside of my usualy self. I got explore the other side, safely, in high school....

Maybe the world has changed, but wonder how much.
So-- blah... there you go. I said it wouldn't be good advice hey!

Woops
lexisgirl
lexisgirl

I have not crossed that bridge yet but I wanted to offer my support. I think talking about it with him is the first step. Yeah he can get another pipe and another bag of drugs...but maybe he won't. I used to be a recreational smoker. It was heavily driven by my friends. Maybe help him run in a better circle? I can't help but think if he knew the negative impact of marajuana and had other things to do, he would give it up. Or at least you would find out how chronic his use is.

If he can't give it up, maybe find a support group to help him stop. Narcotics anonomous perhaps?

I applaud you for having a good conversation with him. I think that is a great sign of a strong parent.
LunaRose
LunaRose

Personally, I like woopsadaisy's advice, think about yourself when you smoked; why were you smoking and what made you quit?

Just as important, how do you feel about pot now? Do you think it's 'evil', do you think it's okay on the weekend (like having a drink), etc.?

And then use that as a jump point to talk openly and honestly with your son and find out WHY he is smoking.

My oldest daughter smoked pot in high school and at 25 now has no interest in it. It may have helped that I didn't make a big deal about it when I found out. I didn't make it a taboo, although I set some rules, NEVER before school or around family; always at home, after homework and chores were done. AND if I knew of any of her friends smoking I would give the child time to tell their parents, and then I would let their parents know.

My philosophy with all my children, if you are doing something you don't want me to find out about and/or are too embarrassed to talk to me about...then you shouldn't do it. I have told them that if they are going to make 'grown up' decisions to drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex, they better be grown up enough to admit to it and to be able to talk about it.

I have 4 kids, 25, 15, 13 and 3, conversations happen all the time about smoking, sex, drugs and drinking. We, my husband and I, take every opportunity to have open and honest discussions with them. Last year, a classmate died of an overdose during a camping trip and we talked about it and drugs. This year they had sex education classes and came home and talked about what they learned, and even researched more after we talked.

I believe the first line of defense on smoking, drinking, drugs and sex is to have well informed children and for them to be able to talk openly and honestly about what they think.
deleted_user
deleted_user

My sons going through the same thing and it all comes down to the company he keeps. If he wants to do it he will and will find a way. I've limited my sons going out filed a chins (with the court) and informed him of the dangers but ultimately it is his choice and if he chooses to do it there really is only so much you can do. I feel your pain believe me.
Dan
ChuckStraight
ChuckStraight

Thanks so much for all of your input.
While my son admitted smoking pot previously he said he was only experimenting with it. He also said he tried alcohol and cigarettes as well. His experimentation with all of that doesn't alarm me as much as actually catching him doing it and then telling me he smoked nearly every day. I was naively blindsided - stupid me.
Curiously it seemed he actually WANTED me to catch him. That particular night he was spending an unusual amount of time in the garage and when I went out to check on him the first time, he was digging around through boxes. I asked him what he was looking for but only said he was looking for "something". I thought he was having a typical teenager moment, so I let him have some space.
About 45 minutes later he came in to ask if I knew when some sandpaper was for his skateboard. The second I stepped into the garage I could smell it. I asked him if he had been smoking and he immediately went to his stash and gave it to me. I can see now he actually wanted me to know what he was doing, but I have no idea why.
My wife and I are divorced (five years) but live within walking distance of each other. We have joint custody, get along (now), and very involved in his life. My son and I have a very good relationship and have very frank discussions about sex, relationships, drugs, etc. Although I think he was digging for attention, I don't know why he felt he had maneuver me into catching him.
At this point I almost feel like I have to drug test him just to see if he's serious about giving it up. I don't want to overreact to the incident but I have to take some kind of action.
Again, thanks for all your help!
Chuck
lexisgirl
lexisgirl

I think you did the right thing Chuck. I wonder if he wanted you to catch him to give him a point of check while he tries to stop. Maybe he wants to tell his friends a big story about how you "busted him" and he had to turn it all over to you and can't do it anymore. It is tough to say. Either way, at least it is out and open to talk about.

I think drug testing is extreme but if you suspect he is still using, you could go that route. If he is, what would be your next step? Rehab? Call the cops? I would think about what you are willing to do if he doesn't stop. It sounds to me like you aren't terribly concerned about the actual smoking so much as him "wanting to get caught". Have you considered sitting down and asking him why he made it so easy to be caught? What is he looking for from you?
deleted_user
deleted_user

I am so sorry to hear you are facing these challenges. We went through the same thing with our son. We turned a blind eye to the pot because we thought it was the lesser of many evils, but we were wrong. After many battles, him running away and getting arrested, it all came down to me pressing charges and getting him the help he needed. If I would have done it sooner I might have avoided heartache, maybe. I think they have to finally see that they have to give up friends and all attachments to anything relating to their drug related behavior.
It is not an easy road and I know you have a long one ahead of you. Hang in there it will get better. Just remember you giving him to the law is better than having to plan his funeral. So many mothers and fathers have lost their child to this terrible trend.
Good luck and God Bless
deleted_user
deleted_user

Im sorry that you are dealing with a child doing drugs, Im a teenager myself and Im sorry to admit it but all kids experiment with drugs, I dont mean hard drugs but marijuana is one that most kids try, punishing and yelling doesnt really do anything, except make a child afraid to tell there parents or talk to them. You seem like a good dad, but you should understand that kids will be kids and kids will do stupid things its important to just tell them about how it can lead to awful things.
Bobby5000
Bobby5000

Good start.

The basic way teenagers fund their drug use is stealing. Assume that any accessible monies will go for pot and decide whether you want to fund that drug use. If not, you must develop a way to keep your wallet, your wife's purse, and any monies siblings have, out of access. You must also assume that any monies designated for books, clothes, school activiites, if given in the form of cash, will likewise be used for drugs.

Try to otherwise maintain a good relationship with your kids. Be loving, interested in their activities. Try to find things they like.
Encourage healthy activities.

Don't argue when a kid is high or coming off being high; it can be potentially dangerous.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I feel like I have something to add on all of these posts today, so I am sorry if you all are getting sick of hearing from me :-)
Anyway-my 15 yr old son is a recovering alcoholic, drugs addict. I guess he started using regularly around 12, but we didn't know it until he was 14. We started with family counseling, random drug testing, and an outpatient substance abuse support group for teens, but it only escalated, He got in trouble with the law for minor in possession of marijuana and underage drinking, and his counselors finally recommended him for residential treatment. He went away fro 6 weeks last January, and came home a different kid. As far as we know, he has been squeaky clean for 10 months. I am not suggesting you have to send your son away, but believe me, he is not going to quit on his own,
deleted_user
deleted_user

I know exactly how you feel. I went through the same thing with my son when he was around 14-15 he is now 18.
If I could warn another parent of anything it would be to keep your guard up. If he used everyday thenmarijuana may not be the only drug he has been using and usually they sell drugs to get the drugs.
Take what he tells you with a grain of salt. The drug user in them lies, and even steals.
Our son is (I pray) finally on the road to recovery. yesterday was 30 days clean.
We went through first finding out he smoked pot, then money was missing then he pawned everything he owned, then he wrote checks on our account to others to cash for drugs, he was arrested for selling, and later found out he used ecstasy, cocaine, heroine.
Then he was in the court system and started using the so called legal drugs from the smoke shops. Those are terrible and so addictive. The last he used was called potpourri, they call that the legal heroine.
As a parent I tried to keep him safe and out of trouble, but looking back I was just enabling him. Each time he relapsed or got caught we became tougher, until finally either you keep clean or you are gone. I will call the police and have you arrested or sent away.
I just wish I knew how to be that way sooner and maybe I could have spared him, but get the lessons we all have learned... I don't know.
I wish you and your family all the luck in the world.
God Bless
deleted_user
deleted_user

here was something else I wanted to share...... we found our son smoking marijuana, we kind of turned a blind eye thinking well if that's all he does then we sould feel lucky he's not doing other drugs instead. I mean we both smoked pot as teens.
amily history has different addictive traits, and with our son he cannot use period. He now attends daily meetings for recovery.
ChuckStraight
ChuckStraight

Thanks again for all your advice, input and ears.

It seems his drug use hasn't stopped at all and he's a chronic user. He "says" he's been smoking since he was 14 and gradually his use increased until he was smoking everyday (more than once).

His mom caught him in her back yard red handed with a small glass bong (kind of nice actually as decorative bongs go) and a small amount of weed. She called me right away and he didn't try to explain his way out of it (how could he?)
His mom and I decided to have him drug tested and take away all his skateboarding privileges until he tested clean. He was furious and both my ex and I were relieved we hit upon something he cared so much about since we've tried almost everything to punish him. Later he told me that the only reason he would quit is because he wants to skate. I guess he's like almost everybody else and you just have to hit your own rock bottom before you make a change.

First he said he didn't smoke very often, but then told his mother about his constant use. Neither one of us understood where he was getting all the cash to do it, but he said people just gave it to him. When I was a user, I had some generous friends, but I didn't smoke for free all the time.

I noticed he always seemed to have extra cash, but would occasionally still ask for allowance and money for lunch at school.
He bought new pairs of shoes (which are now trashed thanks to his skating) and I really didn't put much thought into it because of some gift cards he had. But now I'm not so sure. He's had a number of items either lost or stolen within the year; three iPods "stolen" so far (including mine that I let him use), his bike, and a old skateboard or two.

Last night he took my partner aside and told him when I would give him twenty dollars for allowance and lunch money here and there, he'd save it up and buy weed and ecstasy with it (like lindarob's son) and then sell it. They ended up talking for about an hour, but I'm not sure if my son was just trying to gain some sympathy from ANYONE. My partner was tough on him, but listened to everything he had to say.

Him mother is ready to throw him in a military school, but I told her that would just be masking a symptom instead of working on the cause. I had him in counseling some time ago to work on getting him to communicate more effectively, but I really didn't get any support from either his mom or even his physician for some reason. I'm going to get him back into therapy again with or without my ex's support (although she seems more positive about it now). His old therapist has moved to another office much further away, but I can get another one within the same group.

Sending him to a residential treatment facility seems extreme at this point, but I know if I go easy on him it might flare up into something more serious.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Chuck,

This is not an easy situation to remedy so my heart goes out to you. Without mentioning any details in order to protect the privacy of those I care about, finding the reason for your sons use would be a good place to start. From my experience, if you don't fully understand the reason he turned to marijuana helping him quit will be difficult. Using drugs is a coping mechanism more times than not. Therefore, the key is to find out what he is having difficulty coping with. Is it stress at school, dating or romantic reasons, physical pain or an emotional issue. Once you determine what he is self medicating, it will be easier to decide a course of action. Unfortunately, marijuana is quite prevalent these days and many people believe it is not a big deal. This does not help your situation. Still, there is hope! =) Especially if you have a good relationship with your son or if there is someone in his life that he feels safe confiding in. Counseling can help, youth pastors are another good option and of course prayer. Prayer can open the door to all kinds of healing if it is something you believe in. There is no solid right or wrong answer in the case of drug use. One usually has to try different techniques before finding the one that works best for the adolescent involved. Each situation and each person is unique. I hope the best for you and pray you find resolution soon. Sometimes, all they need us to do is listen without judgement. Being a teenager can be really hard in this day and age.If you would like specific contact numbers or places to go, I would be happy to supply them.
Stay Strong and Hopeful! =)