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valleri
valleri asks:
Q:

My son doesn't think there's anything wrong with smoking marijuana ever day before school.  What do you think?

I discovered recently that my son is using, and abusing marijuana.  He smokes every day before school (until I found out and threw out his stuff) and when I talked wtih him he said he smoked because he liked it, that it should be legal and that he will continue smoking no matter what I say.  I had his guidance counselor talk to him.  I tried to have a heart to heart with him recently but it failed in that he won't acknowledge anything is wrong with this behavior and that just made me angry, though fortunately I didn't lose my temper.  I'm not sure what to do except find a counselor for him so perhaps the counselor can listen to him, get to the crux of things.  What do you think?
In Topics: Teen alcohol and substance abuse
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Feb 11, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Valerie,

I imagine it must have been very upsetting to discover that your son was a regular user of Marijuana. It sounds like you have taken a very firm and thoughtful approach to the situation, and I have little doubt that you will be able to help your son through this period.

First, I believe that it was more than appropriate to communicate to your son that you will not tolerate him using marijuana, particularly everyday and before school. As you may know, research shows that marijuana negatively impacts an individual's memory, attention, and learning. Thus, his regular use of marijuana is most definitely causing problems for him academically. You didn't mention whether his grades are being affected yet, but my guess that his little habit will cause problems for him at school sooner or later. This, in addition to the research showing the marijuana use can cause problems for the developing brain (his brain is developing through early adulthood), will have lasting consequences.

Second, you asked for specific feedback on what to do to help your son. In addition to forbidding marijuana use, I believe that you should implement some clear and concise rules around the use of substances, including marijuana, alcohol, and other substances. Also, what are the consequences for breaking these rules? For instance, he might lose a privilege for a certain period of time or be grounded for a specific period. Finally, I do believe that it would be worthwhile to find a counselor for him. His guidance counselor is a good start, but school counselors can't typically provide regular support for an extended period of time. They typically refer to an outside counselor if they believe that a child will need that kind of support. Thus, I suggest that you seek out a counselor with experience in teen substance use. There are a variety of reasons why a teen might start using marijuana: to fit in with a social group, trouble getting along with authority figures, and difficulties coping. Your son would benefit from developing alternative strategies for coping with the challenges of adolescence.

Also, here is some great information for your son on the topic:
http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/Marijteens.html

Good luck! Parenting a teen is a challenge, but you are off to a great start!

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Additional Answers (32)

dad of two
dad of two , Parent writes:
Next time you find out hes high let the school know.Maybe the thought of a ride in a police car will change his mind.It did for me when i was younger aint touched the stuff since.
> 60 days ago

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karelg
karelg writes:
This is really frustrating situation for you, when your teen thinks he has the will to do it and its not legal to stop him from doing his act. I recommend expert answer is well described for this problem as teen years are full of moods, emotions, aggressiveness, and they don't assume the problem as a serious matter. But the consequences of marijuana abuse in teens years is very bad. Read out here http://www.teendrugabuse.us/marijuana.html and the next thing is you need to take outside counseling for this problem. As the matter can't be resolved just taking yourself into action. You do have authority to control over him, but he needs help.
> 60 days ago

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pointaker
pointaker writes:
Valleri
I canât begin to tell you how much I feel your pain. My son (16) is performing the exact same way. The problem is free will. I cannot stop him and he knows it. He would rather smoke pot than have his things i.e. laptop, cell phone, TV and driving privileges.  I cannot understand why a 16 year old would turn down a car just to keep smoking. I finally offered a motorcycle if he would bring his grades back up to As and Bs and pass a monthly drug screen. He has agreed, but to this day he cannot pass. I have tried the counselors but he refuses to go. I have tried educating him on the subject, but he insists that there is no medical proof that it damages the brain. He is right; I cannot find any info that rebuts his beliefs. I tell him itâs against the law. He states so is speeding and everyone does that. This is all a very short synopsis of what I have been dealing with for the last 2 years. I am sorry that I cannot help just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am at a loss. I feel very helpless. âFree willâ. It breaks my heart.............Mark
> 60 days ago

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SoniaZ
SoniaZ writes:
Is this still a problem with your son? How old is he? How are his grades and his social life?
I am just a parent, my oldest son had problems with drugs when he was a teenager.
> 60 days ago

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smilez
smilez writes:
first off i do not agree [that it] effects the brain. that is just wat the gvrmnt is saying it does not kill anybody, or damage any part of the body im not sayin its good but cigarets do worse to almost every part of the body but it is legal.
> 60 days ago

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Relle
Relle , Student writes:
Tell him what can happen if he doesnt stop. If that doesnt work have the police take him on a little trip, and while he is riding he will be thinking for sure.
> 60 days ago

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csk65
csk65 writes:
One thing for sure, this stuff is harmful to kids, period! I could care less about your stand on legalizing the stuff, this is not the place to air those views; but one thing for sure, this stuff is harmful to kids, period!

If you care about your kid: Start by telling the kid if you do it I call the cops, don't be an enabler, then look in his room, his backpack, his car, and then look where he hangs out. Find out if he/she is doing it, if he/she is, call the cops on him/her. Do you get it? This stuff is harmful to kids!
> 60 days ago

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vanlon
vanlon writes:
don't lose hope for him...he will realize soon that it will be bad for his health...in the first place he has a choice and making his own decision...just always have an open door for him so that when he ask support to quit using it...your always be there to guide and help him
> 60 days ago

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kelloggsoup
kelloggsoup writes:
I know exactly where you are coming from. Our 17 year old thinks the same way. For the past three years we have tried everything with no success. He is now on probabtion and still he doesn't care. The only suggestion anyone can give us is to wait until he's 18 years old and throw him out of your house. Now tell me how does that help anyone of us.
> 60 days ago

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jeremyg420
jeremyg420 writes:
Valleri,

There is no, I repeat; NO REASON to call the cops or anything near that. Marijuana may be illegal, but like other posters have said; so is speeding, running red-lights, etc. Marijuana is not proven to seriously harm people, and it has never individually killed anyone. It's way too easy for kids to get some bud (weed) these days. Take it from me... I'm in high school, I make decent grades, I plan to go to college, and I have a steady job and make decent money for my age. All while smoking marijuana every couple of days.

What you should do, is just tell him that you don't support it at all, but it's his choice to smoke it. Make sure he knows that if he gets caught, it's his fault, and all penalties law-wise fall onto his shoulders. If he gets a ticket and has to pay $300, he will slave day after day to pay the ticket.

If you punish him harshly, ground him, or take away his stuff, he will rebel more. If you just be chill about it, he'll think "Wow....my mom doesn't care anymore....this isn't so fun anymore.."; and me may reduce his habit to only smoke every few days, which in my opinion, is perfectly fine.
> 60 days ago

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allmyrelations
allmyrelati... writes:
I saw your post and I wanted to say that I am a recent college graduate, and not a mother or a teacher. I would just like to give you some insight on someone who has been in your child's shoes before. From what you have said it sounds like you have a bright child. I know that this probably heavily upset you, and that you may feel to blame or that you're failing as a parent, but none of this is true.

You did not mention what grade he is in, but it sounds like he has done some research and made a decision for himself and is "sticking to it." He just sounds hardheaded, like most high school boys. The thing you have to think about is just how you are frustrated with him for being close-minded and thinking that there is nothing wrong with marijuana- he is frustrated with you for being close-minded and thinking that everything is wrong with it.

I began smoking marijuana pretty steadily as a freshman in high school. I graduated top 5% of my class, took all college course AP classes, and even graduated a semester early without ever having to take early bird or summer classes. Marijuana was never a gateway drug for me, and I actually barely drank any alcohol at all during any of high school or college due to it.

My advise to you is to think about this: What is wrong with smoking marijuana in your opinion?

Then for every reason that you can think of, look it up and make sure that you are well educated and can back yourself up. If your son has smoked pot you can't tell him that it's a gateway drug and next month he's going to be shooting up heroin, because he's smart and knows that's not the truth. However, just like parents are sometimes old fashioned and close-minded about issues like alternative medicine or leisure drug use, so do potsmokers.

I was shoved a lot of statistics when I was a freshman. Health teachers were telling us that drugs would make you ugly and your hair and teeth fall out and give you mental disorders and heart problems. But there wasn't a lot of differentiation within the term "drugs". On the other end I was hearing from older kids at school you know, that there's absolutely nothing wrong with marijuana and that everything was a big conspiracy myth.

So I did my research as a freshman before I ever even picked up a pipe. I knew that smoking marijuana was less harmful to my health than tobacco or alcohol. However, that does not making smoking marijuana healthy for me, and I understand that, but it is noteworthy. And after I had tried it, it honestly helped me. I had been suffering from panic attacks and anxiety for years. My doctors had put me on medicine such as Paxil and Prozac that had literally left me suicidal and in danger of lists and lists of health problems. And with marijuana I just relaxed.

Here's something else you need to understand about smoking marijuana if you have not even been a user: You know how some people get off work and have a beer with their meal or maybe later into the evening? That is like my smoking. It's not like I was ever trying to get severely "messed up". But then, there are people who drink a fifth of vodka and are belligerent. You can get increasingly "higher" the more you smoke at a time. You are NEVER going to get that messed up. But I absolutely agree that if your son is going out and smoking 10 blunts, he is probably disabling himself from getting a good education. I however, functioned much better and much more concentrated and grounded after smoking a small amount of marijuana than with none in my system.

So I really do not smoke much anymore, I really don't have the desire or the need to. I will smoke a hitter if I can't eat or sleep, but this is around once every 3 months, if that. However, age-wise I am getting to a point in my life where I should be "settling down". So recently I've been thinking about what I would I do if I ever had a child and they smoked. Or what if they have friends I can tell smoke, or what if they have friends who have parents who knew I smoked and my child were to find out, what would I say? And this is what I think.

I think that if you smoke on a daily basis then at least one of your friends is probably dealing or growing marijuana. Since your child sounds younger I would say that probably one of his friends has a sibling who is dealing. Or I would hope so, or they're paying a ton of money. I would be angry if my child were selling weed or buying weed especially because a lot of high school kids are dumb and make transactions at places like gas stations, parking lots or banks.

And you need to explain to your son that while he doesn't think that there is anything wrong with SMOKING marijuana there are a lot of people that thing that there is, and it is illegal. And you need to explain to him that one slip up like that on his record could completely ruin his chances of getting scholarships, grants, jobs, careers, girlfriends whose dads are cops and can look that stuff up, etc., etc. For this same reason, you need to never call the cops on your son, because it could seriously injure his chances of employment or child custody or all types of things down the line that you never even think of in the heat of the moment.

You need to tell him that if he ever smokes commercial weed you will throw him out of the house. ;), but seriously. Commercial weed is cheaper and what a lot of beginners smoke. It is basically like brick packaged dirt weed, usually from Mexico that is very low grade. For whatever reason, sometimes, very rarely, it is laced with other drugs like PCP. I have never understood why, because I figure PCP has to be ridiculously more expensive than marijuana so why would any dealer do that, and I never believed it. But, there was a pregnant girl at my high school that smoked weed, (whole other issue), and it was laced with PCP and she inevitably lost her baby from this.

Marijuana does affect some people's abilities to drive. Like I said before, there are different levels of being high just as there are drunk. From experience, I would say that your average stoned driver would just yield excessively and drive under the speed limit. However, there are definitely people who cannot function a car in this condition. Beginner smokers would be less apt to know their abilities, and I would be very angry at my child for ever being in a car on a "roadie" where you smoke marijuana while driving with your friends. Or even being in the car with a stoned driver. I think those are perfectly reasonable things for a parent to get mad over. I also would get angry if my child ever had anything, as far as drugs or paraphernalia on them, especially in school. Remind your son that, at least in my state having drugs on you in a school zone is automatically a felony and easy grounds expulsion.

I know you're feeling that you only want the best for your child and that you want them to succeed. You also have to realize that smoking marijuana is really not that bad. It is just the fact that unfortunately, this country for whatever debatable reason weights getting high which is healthier than alcohol and tobacco use worse that battery, assault, and even sometimes rape depending on the drug. If you look at what classifies as a misdomeanor/felony and their classes it's honestly revolting. Above all talk and make sure that the communication is open and loving. Don't let him answer "I don't know" or "I just do" ask him what he likes about it. And that is isn't just a wrong group of kids who are just hellions. Ask him what other hobbies they do, or he does. Ask him if they do well in school, how he is doing. You may get very surprised. There were definitely "bad" kids that smoked marijuana at my high school, but that doesn't mean I associated with them just because I smoked marijuana. And I did have some friends who did not do well in school and got into some bad stuff after high school, and that's life. That doesn't mean that I was not educated enough or taught well enough to not let anyone hold me back, and your son might be that way too, and he may just like to get high.

But you do have to be so careful. I would say the only time it is acceptable is in a house where the homeowner is allowing of it. Because it is too much of a risk to be driving around doing it, and definitely doing it at school. A couple of his friends will get caught at some point & he'll see.

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Kell_Bell
Kell_Bell writes:
Dear Ms. Valleri,
Oh my gosh that must be horrible! I'm not a parent.. Now don't think little of me becouse of my age but i'm only in high school. I am writing a paper on How drugs effect a teenagers life. I had a friend that started drugs so he would make the football team & he got into other stuff too(i.e. drinking). He asked me to join him & i was like umm no thanks & one day i asked him to stop & he said no it makes me feel better about myself... Long story short he was fooling around with some friends and passed away...
:"(
And it may not kill you itself but it will cause the taker to not be able to make the right descions and that could seriously hurt him.
Heres my advice:
like what others have said have the police take him for a ride.
If you and him were or are close cry in front of him it will hurt him(heart wise) & beg him to come back.
I'm very sorry for whats happening.
Also try a consouler.
I help people with problems a lot so if you need my help contact me.
Good luck

Your friend,
Kell_Bell
> 60 days ago

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readabookandgetinformed
readabookan... writes:
It makes me sad how uninformed the public is on marijuana. This so called drug isn't even remotely bad for you. I'm not going to get in an argument about how marijuana is physically addicting or how it kills its users, because the truth is it doesn't! I know I'm going to get negative responses to this answer because this site is filled with so called "experts" who in reality are extremely uneducated on this subject. The only logical reasoning to anti marijuana critics is that some marijuana users eventually move on to using much harder and dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and meth. I do not deny this fact, but it is NO more of a gateway drug than alcohol and tobacco, which are both legal. Bottom line is marijuana has never killed anybody and never will. Your son is completely fine. Here are a few links describing why marijuana is illegal and one showing how aspirin is more dangerous than marijuana.

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joesmith11233
joesmith11233 writes:
Listen, as a parent you don't have anything to worry about with your son. Im a marijuana user too, and have been for years. i have used it in college and during school and saw no changes to my high grades (A-A*). A cloud of hysteria and lies set the foundations for drug laws, if you look at the actual addiction / harm scale that has recently been formed, it shows all drugs (including nicotine and alcohol) on a scale. we all know how dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine are, but this substance is simply NOT the same, to start with its a plant. All im saying is before you go off and shout at your kid just think, Marijuana could of easily been made legal all those years ago, just as alcohol and nicotine are.
> 60 days ago

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ceebee2
ceebee2 writes:
I hear exactly what you are saying! We are in a similar situation w/ our 15yr old daughter. What do I think? Your son is going down a bad path. I take it he is in high school since you mentioned 'guidance counselor'...he's a teenager and he doesn't have the maturity to make certain decisions yet, especially about alcohol and drug use. His refusing to listen to you is called DEFIANCE, plain and simple. It is your house. He is a minor. Pot is illegal; so is alcohol for those under 21. You have the right to decide what he is allowed to do and not do, especially when his choices so far have been, by no means, stellar. There is no way to sugar coat this. Him continuing to use pot defies your parental authority and he is making the conscious choice to disrespect you. He needs to see a therapist and you may need to consider rehab to set him straight. And to all the people who responded to your question with the idiotic thoughts on how pot is NOT a biggie, you are all idiots. Why then don't we just allow our teens to drink every morning before school? (I mean, really man, alcohol is legal, right?) It's not an issue of whether or not pot is 'dangerous' or 'harmful' (which it IS, you numb-brained-dorks), pot IS illegal AND it's about our kids defying the  parental limits that are set for them. Teens don't have to agree with our limits, but they are obligated to follow them regardless. It's not about disagreement or difference of opinion, its about respect, learning to follow rules and self control. The same people who think pot is not harmful are the ones who would be the first to say, "Your kid got in trouble...what a bad parent you are". I've had it happen to me, so all the more, I say you idiots are more stupid than you think everyone else is.
> 60 days ago

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andy890
andy890 writes:
Valleri,
         First, I would like to point out marijuana is not that bad/harmful/addictive and etc. Marijuana, has never directly killed anyone ever, as mentioned by the other posters.It also doesn't kill brain cells, and has failed to be a proven cause to lead to schiztophrenia (even if some users get the condition). Under the influence of "bud", yes your child may have a slight short term memory loss, and may be appitite inducing, but what's so bad about that? It's only temporary. Marijuana, also is MUCH safer than alcohal, and is slightly better for your child than ciggarettes. "Weed" isn't all that addictive either. Your son refuses to stop because it does so little damage to him, and doesn't make any sense to him to stop. He will get addicted if he continues regular use, and will THINK and MENTALLY feel the desire to smoke. Make sure he's also using it for all the right reasons as well. "Weed" is known to help with many illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, nausea, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS and so many more. That concludes harm issues.

           My suggestion would be to let him use marijuana under YOUR control. Let him only use ever so often ONLY at home, to keep him safe from being arrested. Would you rather have him get caught by police or just have him use a little every now and then at the safety of your home? Also, have him try using a vaporizer, or cooking the weed into food such as cannabis butter, and cannabis oil (recipes can be found online easily). Don't let him go to school high either, convince him it's a "waste" and that it's ok to use marijuana, but keep education a priority.

           In conclusion, marijuana isn't all that bad. I'm not saying it's completely good, but it is a MUCH safer thing than what most teenagers do these days (coke, meth, heroin, oxycontin, etc). Why not just let him use it and have him under control? A guidance counselor shouldn't be neccesary and a therapist is a waste of money and time. Just keep him out of legal issues. Growing up, I was allowed to use marijuana. I turned out just fine, have a good paying job, currently doing well in college, and couldn't love life any more and enjoy the herb everyday. Don't listen to the so-called "experts", they only tell you to do more harm and waste more of your time and energy. I highly insist you did what I went through, and control his use under YOUR house.
                                  
                                                Sincerely Yours,
                                                            Andy
> 60 days ago

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JSGlisman
JSGlisman writes:
I am 27 now and, in the past, I've had my run-ins with marijuana. I was a daily user for 3 or 4 years from the ages of 16 to about 20. My mother was totally against smoking as most mothers would be. I smoked it anyway, it made me laugh. I did start to fall off in school a little but I STILL GRADUATED. I've noticed over the years that the result of smoking marijuana differs from person to person. Some people who smoke like to just lay around. I am the opposite, I will get more work done if I am high than if I am not. I sit here and tell you this not boasting but letting you know that teens go through stages. I am two classes short, which I am taking now, from my degree. I have a child of my own, he's 5 by the way. To wrap this up, I smoked weed for 4 years almost everyday, sometimes I have the urge to smoke, but I know that I have too much to lose. Before you judge your son, do some recearch, see how many people's lives marijuana has ruined. I think you'll be suprised.
> 60 days ago

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NationHealing
NationHealing writes:
I'm going to give you my point of view as a teen around the same age as your son. Consider the following, 1. Does he do well in school? Marijuana (depending on the chemical balance of that particular strand) can act as a stimulant or depressant.   Some kids improve their gpa with cannabis use, some do not. 2. Does he partake in relatively safe behavior? (not including your opinion on his marijuana use). Some kids relax and remain harmless, associating with a positive group of friends who do not make any poor choices while under the influence. Some kids unfortunately get mixed up in the wrong crowd.   There are many things I wish to share with you about how your generation was misinformed about marijuana. I HIGHLY suggest you watch a short documentary called "the union". It talks about the actual reasons for why cannabis was made illegal, and why it remains illegal. (you'll understand what I'm talking about if you watch the film. I just hope that some day my mother watches this film, it would mean the world to me.
> 60 days ago

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Zoxer95
Zoxer95 writes:
Sir, I'm 17 and last year I failed all my classes first semester, over Christmas break I tried weed and now I'm a honors straight "A" ap student... I'm also a regular pot smoker, I mean no disrespect, but pot is only a problem if your son makes it one... For me it saved my high school career
> 60 days ago

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Dianepatricia
Dianepatricia writes:
We have battled with our son for 5 years over his pot smoking. He is now 23 years old and smokes every day. We have given up. It is what it is. How sad is that ? I say that because despite so many of you saying it is so harmless, my son was a bright , keen to learn student until he started doing pot. He did not graduate high school with his class. He just couldn't get motivated to do one math paper in order to graduate. He chose the wrong friends and to cut a long story short, he is now a convicted felon. Twice we have discovered that he is actually selling pot. He works a low paying job so of course he needs to sell to support his daily habit. So please don't talk about how harmless it is. Maybe to many, but certainly it takes you down a path that can lead to life altering choices. Good luck to all parents dealing with it. I hope that all of you saying how harmless it is never have to deal with your own child going down that slippery path.
> 60 days ago

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