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I haven't been there, but I would probably do both.  My kids know that doing drugs or even things that are legal for different ages (smoking or drinking) are not ok. So they would be in trouble with us not just a talking to. 

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Posted (edited)

I really, really think it’s going to depend on so many factors, but it has been my experience that a punitive punishment is not the answer.  But also, a “we don’t do this” talk may be pointless    

This is a young adult who is fully aware of the issues with drugs and is still possibly making not great choices.  I say give them the talk and see where you can help to remove the circumstances under which child partakes.  Can you be with them after school and on weekends for a while?  Like doing family things?

no matter what, Be 100% honest and open and encourage dialogue about  WHY the need?  How does it make them feel?  Is it anxiety relieving?  Is it because everybody is trying it?  Whatever.

Now I’m assuming I would take a much harder stance if it was like, heroin, or something.   
 

 

ETA, I have always taken the supportive standpoint with dd.  I know I can’t really change her behaviour, so we talk and I don’t judge too harshly so that she knows she can always discuss anything.   Sometimes, it gets more difficult before it gets better, but having them know you always have their back is so important.  

Edited by Ailaena
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Doing family things like biking/kayaking/etc was one of my suggestions. This past year has been so crappy as far as removing all the activites. I imagine it played a role. 

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if it is pot, and it’s illegal where you live, I’d be much more strict in my response.

id take driving privileges away, immediately. I’d do the same with alcohol. There needs to be some kind of reset with those privileges bc a line has been crossed. Kid has shown they are OK with drugs and I’d need to be sure, absolutely sure, they will never drive drunk, or high or with drugs in car.

 

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The taking away a phone thing with teens seems futile. Any kid that can procure the contraband will procure another phone. And then you are down the path of more and more sneaking, dishonesty, etc. That’s a soul sucking dynamic.

I wish I had more advice. I’m just skeptical that taking the phone does anything to move this thing in a positive direction. I’m very hesitant on any punishments I can’t actually enforce and that is most of them with a teen. 
 

I don’t know what I would do but I would be upset and definitely feel like something had to be done. So hugs to you. I would want to punish for sure. But I don’t know what that would look like. I’m sorry you are dealing with this. 

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Posted (edited)

I don’t think these 2 responses are drastically far apart.  I would start with the conversation.  I might ground or take away technology.   But I would be careful how I use that now.  Keeping in touch with friends via technology has been a lifeline during Covid here.  I think tomato staking in a positive way and/or finding some positive outlets to fill time over the summer would be a priority.  Like a physical job or volunteering.  I’d be creating spaces where we could talk and check in daily.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Yeah, the problem with taking away phones, is that they can be readily available elsewhere. As in, other students might be selling old ones for real cheap, and tell the one who is wanting one how to get it fixed up without a plan. (And how do I know that?🙄🤨)

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(( hugs ))

People kvetch about the "terrible twos," but honestly, parenting late adolescents is a zillion times trickier IMHO.

 

I'd factor a number of variables.

  • Whether kid is closer to 18, vs closer to 13... for both degree-of-concern and also for tactical reasons
  • Whether drug under discussion was closer to pot, vs closer to meth
  • (if pot: whether it's legal vs illegal in your state)
  • How the kid is otherwise faring (holding it together on work and grades and other commitments, interacting meaningfully with friends and family... vs floundering, withdrawal, sudden change in behavior etc)
  • How, exactly, the contraband came to be discovered, and whether kid will view the "how" as an invasion of privacy

 

For a kid your son's age, whom I believe you've described as generally faring pretty purposefully over the dreadful last 14 months, evidencing marijuana use... I'd incline toward the "straightforward discussion emphasizing life goals" route, perhaps with an equally straightforward discussion of "don't be stupid and this is how probable cause works viz LE," particularly if contraband was found because stoopid, like lying around visible on the car floor or something.

My parenting goal would be to convey to kid I realize you're right on the cusp of leaving my orbit of control entirely; here's hoping you make good decisions.  (My goal would be somewhat different for a 13 yo, or evidence of heroin etc)

The older the kid, the more ways there are to go wrong with a too heavy-handed or controlling approach.

 

 

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That’s good. 

But my stance is driving privileges...including the timeline of getting a license. 

No more lessons or driving with mom or dad, etc...

Kids can still drive while high or drunk or have drugs in the car on a learners permit.

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2 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

My parenting goal would be to convey to kid I realize you're right on the cusp of leaving my orbit of control entirely; here's hoping you make good decisions.  (My goal would be somewhat different for a 13 yo, or evidence of heroin etc)

The older the kid, the more ways there are to go wrong with a too heavy-handed or controlling approach.

 

We are currently balancing out these kinds of parenting decisions ourselves, just not with the drug situation. It is hard sometimes not to let fear take over. I told him yesterday that we really are not trying to keep him from growing up. We just want him to be making responsible decisions. (Which he is, in many areas. It's the areas he isn't that are concerning us. There's a lot of maturity that still needs to happen, understandably.)

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As someone who is currently going through hell with her young adult son, my response might be a downer, but here goes. I think different approaches work with different kids, and even with the same kid at different times. We don't know what will actually work when we pick one. It might work at the time, and then the kid goes off the deep end anyway. It really sucks all around.

Our approach was explain our expectations and why we had those expectations, and then talk and listen as much as possible. Anything punitive would have been a disaster with this kid, I'm pretty sure, but I don't know. Even though we just calmly discussed our expectations and why without any mention of punishment etc., his anxiety led him to think we wouldn't love him anymore if we knew what was going on (and we had no idea he thought this). Anyway, just want to say that particularly if the kid has anxiety, tread lightly, but they are going to make their own choices and that doesn't mean you handled it wrong.

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Posted (edited)

I would take (and have taken) the path of more listening than telling. What is appealing about the substance? What need is being met? Recognizing and validating unmet needs is, IMHO, way more effective than punishment. Whether the teen is open to discuss would tell me a great deal. I have one that was a closed book and one that is quite open. Maintaining the relationship was my primary goal for both and looked quite different for each. 
 

ETA My sig is out of date. Adult kids now 24 and 22. 

Edited by Lawana
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I agree with a lot of what has been said.  The one thing I am wondering is, how much money does this teen have at their disposal and how much are they contributing to their own expenses. Do they pay for their own phone, etc?  If not, it might be time to start.  If you take it away, that can lead to more sneaking around and dishonestly as others have said.  But it is another thing to stop funding "luxuries" (as in, more than they truly need)  when they are choosing to spend money on drugs. 

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This kind of situation has always been one of my biggest fears with parenting.  Not just that they would do it, but that I wouldn’t react wisely.  I smoked cigarettes, smoked pot, and drank as a teen.  I was also a straight A honor student, good kid whose parents never realized or talked to me about that kind of stuff.  My younger brother was the same, but he didn’t outgrow his teenage rebellion and after being prescribed narcotics after a car accident he ended up addicted.  I had no idea, and 5 years ago tomorrow he died of a fentanyl-laced heroin overdose.  That was a heartbreak I would never wish upon anyone, but it did result in my then 12, 10, and 4 year olds vowing to never do drugs, and they are still adamantly against drug use after seeing the heartbreak it caused our family.  You’re already doing better than my parents in that you’ve discovered it and are addressing it.  Big, giant, massive hugs as you navigate this!

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Just a comment re: taking away the phone.  I don't see a connection here between the offense and the phone. Well, I suppose the phone is useful for making the connection to obtain the goods. But really there are other ways and as has been said, getting a new phone is easy enough. But the phone itself is not the problem. And, for many young adults/teens, the phone is much more than a communication device anyway.  Taking away the phone seems fairly arbitrary, though seems to be an easy thing to do and would inflict hardship for a (probably short) period of time.

 

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Conversation would be my first response; practical consequence comes next.

I would be less likely to take away something like a phone, especially in these different days of socialization (unless more info surfaces, and you realize a more hardcore "cut off all access" approach is needed to stop the issue).  That would lead to major resentment and sneaky stuff by my teens.

Since the teen does not have a license, I would extend the timeline involved in the getting of that license.  Using while driving is a no-go, so he will have a set time to prove that he is *not* using before he earns to right to get his license.  This is a very "real life" type consequence, and one that is for his safety, as well as the safety of others.

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2 minutes ago, marbel said:

Just a comment re: taking away the phone.  I don't see a connection here between the offense and the phone. Well, I suppose the phone is useful for making the connection to obtain the goods. But really there are other ways and as has been said, getting a new phone is easy enough. But the phone itself is not the problem. And, for many young adults/teens, the phone is much more than a communication device anyway.  Taking away the phone seems fairly arbitrary, though seems to be an easy thing to do and would inflict hardship for a (probably short) period of time.

 

The phone is so much more than a communication device anymore so it’s not my go-to punishment for a non-driving kiddo either. It’s the keeper of reminders and schedules, the way homework is submitted, the way to join online classes from the backyard deck. It’s the way to get important notices from teachers who communicate at all hours of the day. Without it, the same communication options are available on the laptop.

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No direct experience with that type of contraband with a teen here, but I would factor in Pam’s variables above and we’d be having a talk. A calm talk.

Depending on the talk, it might possibly end on more supervised use of electronics or more likely more family time and activities - in our case, I’m fairly sure that’s where we might land, but not in a punitive “you’re being punished!” way.  More in a, “Wow! We need to spend more time together!” way. Dad would be planning involved, time-consuming, high interest to kid  projects - things here have been wood-working, adding electronics to cosplay (very complicated stuff, hard to describe), massive art projects and cosplay help. Your projects would obviously revolve around your kid, no idea what they might be.  Kayaking?  Sports?  Hiking?  

I have a kid who has willingly given up his phone in favor of using only a family computer, in our direct view, even for Skyping and iMessaging for a different reason. This is only possible with his complete buy-in, I think it was his idea even, and was the solution we worked out together in conjunction with massive amounts of family time, almost constant activities with family, and big rewarding projects he’s doing with dad and independently.  Long story, and YMMV.  We did change the router password, so even with a contraband phone there would be no WiFi access, at his request.  This was probably overkill, and we know that if he chooses to find and use a contraband phone we have no control.  Our approach has been more to follow his lead in the way he wants to address the issue at hand, and this was the path he chose, so we are supporting characters in his choosing a healthier path.  Not sure any of that is applicable to you, and I’m trying to be somewhat vague, but wanted to provide an alternative to cutting off all contact with positive friends during this semi-isolated time.  It was important to DH and me that kid still have access to healthy friendships and the outlet that gives, so we were not really on board with taking away phone.  This compromise worked (though it changed the configuration of our living room to put in an iMac and desk front and center!). Importantly, the changes he implemented were directly related to the  situation he wanted to change.  So, first ... he wanted to make a change, and second, he came up with a solution that made the change easier for him to make.  It hasn’t been easy, but he’s done it.

Is there a reason that taking your teen’s phone will make it easier for him/her to avoid wanting to use [insert whatever here]?  Or is taking the phone an arbitrary punishment?  If it’s arbitrary, is there another possibility that might be more helpful?

I’d probably also be looking at therapy - because this has been such a hard time for all, and it’s good to have a listening ear.  And, most importantly, I’d be asking myself if there are signs of anxiety or depression, and having a conversation about those, how they feel, and self-medicating.  Maybe look into actual meds if there’s any suspicion on your part. Anxiety and depression meds make a huge difference.

I will say that I have much more experience with young adults/adults and substance abuse.  But the adult kid in question didn’t explore any substance until out of the house, and it became an issue as Bipolar and GAD reared their heads, out of our sphere of observation and influence, unfortunately. It was absolutely self-medicating.  So if a teen here began experimenting with substance use, my head would immediately turn to ... why? what need is being filled?  what feels good about this? And thus my thoughts on therapy and possible depression and anxiety treatment with or without meds. And I’d be filling that kid’s time with high interest activities so s/he stayed too busy to have time to invest in using whatever.


 

 

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I’ll be honest, I’d lose my ever loving mind and completely flip out.  I have bad experiences with kids and drug addictions though.  My response would be “the talk” about how drug addictions make people do really crappy things and do bad things to your body (heavy focus on how they change you to do crappy things), removing everything drug related, and then I would never trust them again....and they’d know it.

And no, pot is not “harmless”.

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I'd do both.  We fall on the more permissive side of parenting, but I think consistent consequences are very important with teens because they will push boundaries.  It's their job.  The talk should be serious, loving, and include a discussion about long-term life goals, but never angry or threatening.  Enforcing zero consequences for such a serious offense would leave me feeling like I punked out on doing my job because I was uncomfortable.

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I tend to lean toward a 'consequences, not punishment' style of parenting. So a case like this would involve a lot of discussion about who, when, where, why, how and consequences would reflect those answers - such as spending time away from the place/person(s) who had the access to the "stuff" in the first place - but still see other friends, spending time volunteering somewhere where they can see up close the effects it can have on lives, appointments with a counselor or therapist if the why is actually anxiety based self-medicating, etc.

My kids are aware that I can accept mistakes and poor judgement calls quite calmly and rationally, as long as they do not lie to me. If they lie, life gets much more unpleasant for them, so my responses would also reflect how the discussion(s) went.

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I like what Pam and Spryte have to say. Assuming it's pot, I'd do a combination of the talk and some time-intensive, super-interesting-to-the-kid projects and family time.

If it's harder drugs, I would have to assume some level of possible addiction and my intervention would be more intensive. It would still feel more like time together and support for a positive path and not punitive. Two things we know for sure don't kick an addiction--passive enabling and harsh punishment. That means the path has to include positive human connection with people kid values and activities kid finds valuable and compelling.

In either scenario openness and transparency and honesty are key.

Keep 'em loved, keep 'em busy.

Even with all that, though, know that sometimes people make rotten decisions no matter what good options they are offered. Do your best knowing that power over this lies in kid's court. 

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Both. I think having SOME kid of consequences gives the kid a shame free way to decline next time they are with friends who are using. If they advertise to friends that they got caught, mom and dad got angry, now they are grounded, etc it gives them credibility next time to say "No way, parents said if I get busted again I'm grounded forever" or whatever. 

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22 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Both. I think having SOME kid of consequences gives the kid a shame free way to decline next time they are with friends who are using. If they advertise to friends that they got caught, mom and dad got angry, now they are grounded, etc it gives them credibility next time to say "No way, parents said if I get busted again I'm grounded forever" or whatever. 

this is kind of how I lean. And it’s illegal activity, so shouldn’t there be some consequences?  When we were teens...in the 70’s... we got grounded because it was the way to keep us from our friends, which is where we were usually getting in trouble. Not that our friends were bad, just that we seemed to lose our reasoning more when with ‘the crowd’.  And following the rules being grounded was a way to rebuild trust. We didn’t sneak out, or whine to get ungrounded early, or whatever.  At the end, it felt more like we’d served our time for the crime and were ready to start fresh.  
I wonder if today’s typical ‘no phone’ punishment is the modern ‘being grounded’. 
 

Each kid is different. We’ve had kids that would break out in tears to hear ‘we’re disappointed in you’ while another would get caught doing something and deny it and then double down and act out even more. So knowing your kid’s currency and how he reacts makes all the difference in how to fix the problem. What worked for my kid might be an awful choice for yours. 
 

 

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I recently discovered, entirely by accident, vaping products in both of my exchange students' rooms. Well, I found one accidentally and then went  looking for the other's, which took me about 30 seconds to find. One of them was out of town for several days, and I waited to confront them both at the same time. Although procrastination is not my style, I was grateful for the extra few days to calm down, pray and love on the one who was still home and was very new to our family. And also to order a nicotine-testing kit from Amazon. (You can order at-home drug-testing kits also.) I sat all 3 of mine down (including my actual son), told them I was acting out of love and not anger; explained how I had found what I did; asked them to turn over their stash immediately; explained the consequences for school and their sport if they are caught by their school; and told them I reserved the right to test them any time. One of them cried--sobbed. They both said they were happy to be caught.  I kept very close tabs on them for a few weeks and have not yet exercised my right to have them pee in a cup. I also told the host moms of their best friends, so we all had the talk at the same time. Anyway--the relevant point is that I think they were doing this for different reasons. One ("G") comes with emotional baggage, and he was looking for anything to relieve stress. The other ("R") is just looking for a good time.  With G, we are continuing to work through the things that are causing him stress. I love on him (I sound like my grandmother when I say that) in all sorts of different ways, and we are making progress. I worry  more about R starting back than G, actually, but I am hopeful that he can say, next time it is offered, "No way, my mom will make me pee in a cup." They are both sweet boys and still young enough to care about pleasing me and their actual parents, so I use that to my advantage.

Good luck; it sucks for sure, but at least you found it early. I firmly believe you are right to take a strong stand, but whether that includes punishment or not, I don't know. I did not punish mine because they were so torn up about it. I don't know yet whether that was the right thing to do.

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39 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Both. I think having SOME kid of consequences gives the kid a shame free way to decline next time they are with friends who are using. If they advertise to friends that they got caught, mom and dad got angry, now they are grounded, etc it gives them credibility next time to say "No way, parents said if I get busted again I'm grounded forever" or whatever. 

This is exactly why I ordered nicotine testing kits. I want my kids to use that as an excuse to say no, because they WILL be offered whatever it is again.

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44 minutes ago, plansrme said:

This is exactly why I ordered nicotine testing kits. I want my kids to use that as an excuse to say no, because they WILL be offered whatever it is again.

Yup. Being able to say, "No, I can't do _______, my parents would kill me" was super helpful as a kid. Even when it didn't feel like it. 

Also helped that my Dad's job at the time was fixing ATM machines, so he was out and about driving from one bank to another, and would stop home when he got a minute just to grab a drink or snack...and to see what was going on. Given that we never knew when he might come home, we never got into trouble at the house when left alone. He never ever phrased it as him "checking up on us" but it had the same effect. 

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I think a response really depends on the child involved and the family culture.  What works well in one family and with a specific child can really backfire with another.  I was the kid who would have been "mom and dad would kill me and I don't dare want that to happen" would have worked.  I have a sister, on the other hand, that was much more daring and that approach would have actually motivated her to try to get away with more.  

For most young people today, I do not see that taking away a phone is a practical consequence. Phones are used so much more than socializing.  If a child is taking any online class, they may need the phone for two-party authentication.  If they are applying for a job, they need a phone.  They use their phone for an alarm.  their calendar is on their phone.  

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2 hours ago, plansrme said:

I recently discovered, entirely by accident, vaping products in both of my exchange students' rooms. Well, I found one accidentally and then went  looking for the other's, which took me about 30 seconds to find. One of them was out of town for several days, and I waited to confront them both at the same time. Although procrastination is not my style, I was grateful for the extra few days to calm down, pray and love on the one who was still home and was very new to our family. And also to order a nicotine-testing kit from Amazon. (You can order at-home drug-testing kits also.) I sat all 3 of mine down (including my actual son), told them I was acting out of love and not anger; explained how I had found what I did; asked them to turn over their stash immediately; explained the consequences for school and their sport if they are caught by their school; and told them I reserved the right to test them any time. One of them cried--sobbed. They both said they were happy to be caught.  I kept very close tabs on them for a few weeks and have not yet exercised my right to have them pee in a cup. I also told the host moms of their best friends, so we all had the talk at the same time. Anyway--the relevant point is that I think they were doing this for different reasons. One ("G") comes with emotional baggage, and he was looking for anything to relieve stress. The other ("R") is just looking for a good time.  With G, we are continuing to work through the things that are causing him stress. I love on him (I sound like my grandmother when I say that) in all sorts of different ways, and we are making progress. I worry  more about R starting back than G, actually, but I am hopeful that he can say, next time it is offered, "No way, my mom will make me pee in a cup." They are both sweet boys and still young enough to care about pleasing me and their actual parents, so I use that to my advantage.

Good luck; it sucks for sure, but at least you found it early. I firmly believe you are right to take a strong stand, but whether that includes punishment or not, I don't know. I did not punish mine because they were so torn up about it. I don't know yet whether that was the right thing to do.

I hope you are prepared to support them and have resources available for them for nicotine withdrawal, if they are going through that nightmare.

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1 hour ago, Bootsie said:

I think a response really depends on the child involved and the family culture.  What works well in one family and with a specific child can really backfire with another.  I was the kid who would have been "mom and dad would kill me and I don't dare want that to happen" would have worked.  I have a sister, on the other hand, that was much more daring and that approach would have actually motivated her to try to get away with more.  

For most young people today, I do not see that taking away a phone is a practical consequence. Phones are used so much more than socializing.  If a child is taking any online class, they may need the phone for two-party authentication.  If they are applying for a job, they need a phone.  They use their phone for an alarm.  their calendar is on their phone.  

We had parental controls on our son's phone, so could make it so he could use the phone to call, but not the internet browser, etc. 

But I'm usually more a fan of having kids DO something rather than taking something away. 

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There's no one right answer. However, I think that unless you're dealing with an obvious addiction issue, where you'll want to start evidence-based treatment ASAP, it's better to take a breather so you don't overreact. It's easy to ramp up your response if you started low and their are future issues. It's a lot harder to either ramp down if a high level response was your first resort, or to ramp it up even further if whatever you decided on doesn't solve the issue.

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Posted (edited)

I would talk to the parents and open with "I don't even know if I'm talking to the right parents, but XYZ happened" and let them know what is going on and see if they know anything.  I wouldn't cut my kids from friends who are good kids.  If you eliminate every friend who makes a stupid teen decision there wouldn't be many people left.  I'd pan back and focus on actions that will have the best results 5-10 years down the road.  

Edited by KungFuPanda
Because I can't follow instructions even when they're in all caps.
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I think it’s time for a 3 way parents meeting, with all cards on the table.

if 2 sets of parents out of the gang of these 3 friends know about drug use and don’t inform the third set of parents, I think that is not appropriate AT ALL

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Posted (edited)

I haven't read everything, but I did read your info, Q.    (Sorry, my head is fuzzy today)

We'd have a talk.  
Find out the 'whys'.   Find out how it made him feel.   Emphasize some activities that give a natural 'high'.    
Tell him that until he is drug free, he can't drive, because if he gets pulled over, cops can smell it, look at pupils, etc (don't know if that's true, but I'm not above stretching the truth when warranted) and he'll get into trouble that you won't be able to help him out of.  
Also, talk about how pot use is socially acceptable *once his brain has finished growing*, but right now, it could really alter his state of mind permanently and that would be disastrous for him.   (Again, stretch the truth, but don't just outright come up with crazy scenarios).    
Ask him what his end goal was with smoking pot and ask him what he thinks could help him reach that end goal without smoking pot.    
Tell him it's going to seem like you're on him like 'white on rice' (or whatever term y'all use) for a while, because you know from experience that any drug use could lead to destruction and you love him way too much and think he has way too much to offer to the world to let that happen.  So ask him to be patient with you and in turn, you'll be respectful of him.    
Emphasize that he means more to you than anything and that you're here to help him be the best person he can be and that you want nothing but good things for him.  Pot use at this age is not going to get you (him) good things.     
Hug him hard and often.   Tell him how proud you are of him because he's gone through a shitty year and he got through it.    
Watch his friends like a hawk and don't trust them to have his best interests at heart, not at that age anyway.  That doesn't mean keep him away from them.   Just watch them and I'd even let them know you're watching them like a hawk.  I did.  And that little jerk eventually made himself scarce.  Now ds has friends who are wonderful, watch out for him, are willing to do whatever it takes to get him help.  But they are also all 19-20+.   

hth

 

edited to add... no clue why this formatted like this. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Edited by WildflowerMom
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As far as contacting other parents, I would consider several things.  First, how well do I know the other parents.  Do I know what their reaction is likely to be?  Second, how will my child react to the conversation?  Is my child one who is very senstive about being a snitch?  I'm a revealing anything the child has shared with me in confidence?  Will this action jeopardize my child being honest and open with me in the future?  Third, am I really confident as to the source and to who all is involved?  Over the years, I have learned of sources that I would have never dreamed of, rather than what I thought would be obvious sources.  

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I'm much more on the permissive end of parenting. I think it's a tough juncture... I can't imagine taking away my kids' access to their friends right now and that only happens through technology given the pandemic. I mean, they are starting to see friends in person a bit more... but the only way for them to plan that is through technology since no activities are happening. Cutting that off for very long would SINK their mental health in ways that would be deeply counterproductive. I'm literally forcing them to learn to drive - they don't want to, so that's not currency. Not to mention that it'll probably be another year before I can even manage to get a DMV appointment for either of them. If I managed to snag a driving test appointment - no way would I give that up. Those are nigh on impossible to find. So I don't know the exact set up for Quill... but with kids of basically the same age... none of the punishments being tossed around would ever work for us.

I think I'd require more family time, as mentioned above. We haven't had this particular issue, but when we've had issues, that's been the primary solution - to push everyone to do something together or to push the teen involved to spend time with a parent that they've been avoiding. I'd make any punitive punishments of taking things away short term. But I'd also just push for taking on a task in the family. So instead of taking away, I'd add things. I mean, I wouldn't go crazy, but just something to say, okay, you think you're so grown, then clearly you can take on more responsibility. This disrupted the family dynamic. He needs to earn your trust by doing more... cooking dinner once a week, doing the gardening with you, doing a new house cleaning task, taking on a house project... something along those lines.

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I would not contact other parents; I think that runs a serious risk of making your son less likely to be open and honest in the future. Assuming we're talking about weed, I would focus mostly on (1) the illegality of a minor possessing it in your state (and the potentially serious consequences of getting caught with it) and (2) the fact there is some research suggesting that marijuana use in adolescents can cause negative changes in the brain. (There is also research showing no deleterious effects, but the fact that we really don't know the long term effects on developing brains is itself a reasonable cause for concern.) 

Any talk that conflates weed with hard drugs is likely to go in one ear and out the other — teens see adults using alcohol and weed, and they know weed is legal in many states and will likely be legal everywhere in the not-too-distant future (more than 80% of 18-30 year olds think it should be legalized and 66% of all adults agree). So lectures about the evils of using weed to relax or mitigate anxiety, when millions of Americans drink and/or use weed for exactly that purpose, just look like hypocrisy. So I would just say "Look, this is illegal in our state and there is research suggesting it may be damaging for growing brains, so this has to stop." Then I would ask what effect he's getting from it — is he feeling stressed? anxious? having trouble sleeping? — and then work together to come up with healthier ways of meeting those needs.

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'm much more on the permissive end of parenting. I think it's a tough juncture... I can't imagine taking away my kids' access to their friends right now and that only happens through technology given the pandemic. I mean, they are starting to see friends in person a bit more... but the only way for them to plan that is through technology since no activities are happening. Cutting that off for very long would SINK their mental health in ways that would be deeply counterproductive. I'm literally forcing them to learn to drive - they don't want to, so that's not currency. Not to mention that it'll probably be another year before I can even manage to get a DMV appointment for either of them. If I managed to snag a driving test appointment - no way would I give that up. Those are nigh on impossible to find. So I don't know the exact set up for Quill... but with kids of basically the same age... none of the punishments being tossed around would ever work for us.

I think I'd require more family time, as mentioned above. We haven't had this particular issue, but when we've had issues, that's been the primary solution - to push everyone to do something together or to push the teen involved to spend time with a parent that they've been avoiding. I'd make any punitive punishments of taking things away short term. But I'd also just push for taking on a task in the family. So instead of taking away, I'd add things. I mean, I wouldn't go crazy, but just something to say, okay, you think you're so grown, then clearly you can take on more responsibility. This disrupted the family dynamic. He needs to earn your trust by doing more... cooking dinner once a week, doing the gardening with you, doing a new house cleaning task, taking on a house project... something along those lines.

Ahhh...these are solutions I can’t get behind. We’re not even dealing with this issue but it’s gonna be a looooooooong summer. 🤣

Edited by Sneezyone
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Just now, Sneezyone said:

Ahhh...these are solutions I can’t get behind. We’re not even dealing with this issue but it’s gonna be a looooooooong summer. 🤣

Heh. I mean, it doesn't matter what you do. Punishments for the kid are ALWAYS punishments for the parents in some form or another.

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I agree with those who say not to take things away but instead to add things such as more family time and responsibilities.

My parents made me cut out a few good friends when I was 16 and I repaid them by dropping out of high school. 🙃 I didn’t go crazy but I hated school and I remember feeling like they allowed me zero control over my own life. I went right to work and actually landed in a great job that allowed me to pay my own way, but I’ve tried to remember not to be so punitive with my own dc. Oldest is 21 and I know he uses edibles from time to time for anxiety but he’s always been a really responsible person and student. I just listen because I do like that he shares with me. 

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6 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

I agree with those who say not to take things away but instead to add things such as more family time and responsibilities.

My parents made me cut out a few good friends when I was 16 and I repaid them by dropping out of high school. 🙃 I didn’t go crazy but I hated school and I remember feeling like they allowed me zero control over my own life. I went right to work and actually landed in a great job that allowed me to pay my own way, but I’ve tried to remember not to be so punitive with my own dc. Oldest is 21 and I know he uses edibles from time to time for anxiety but he’s always been a really responsible person and student. I just listen because I do like that he shares with me. 

My oldest always tells me when she's had an edible:). It's been like three times total, lol. She also doesn't drink.  She pushed so many boundaries when she was very young, I think she used up all her rebelliousness! 

It is so much work tackling big issues collaboratively and without taking away autonomy from a kid that is just trying to learn how to use it responsibility.  It feels like lazy parenting to just hand down a consequence without much else.  Though after the last few weeks we've had I can understand the attraction of that philosophy!

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