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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 (35)

JamielaIsmail
JamielaIsmail , Teacher writes:
This is a tough case for moms to handle especially when one in every household is involved in one or another substance abuse. Marijuana is the start to more severe drugs.

You are on the right path by throwing it out.  Perhaps you should:
- Get him to talk to a person who has done this and is now rehabilitated
- Tough love is one way of dealing with it - call in the cops and ask them to put him in the holding cell on his own for a few hours to scare him.
- Take away his privileges - cellphone, no pocket money, etc.
- Explain to him how it makes you feel.

Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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Grant_M1030
Grant_M1030 writes:
I think you're blowing this out of proportion.  
MJ isn't as harmful as many suggest. Including the "expert" here claiming he'll be addicted and assuming grades will go down.
There is zero evidence marijuana is a gateway drug or causes mental disorders, or cancer. In fact quite the opposite.
The one study they did that said teens will lower their IQ also admitted there could be many reasons other than mj.

Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection Dr Tashkin UCLA lung specialists study funded by DEA --as soon as the results were in he was tossed aside. NIDA funded a new study same conclusions, they refuse to post the results instead claiming there's no conclusion.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html

Cannabis For Infant's Brain Tumor, Doctor Calls Child "A Miracle Baby"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/01/cannabis-for-infants-brai_n_2224898.html?utm_hp_ref=marijuana

Marijuana Chemical May Fight Brain Cancer
http://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/news/20090401/marijuana-chemical-may-fight-brain-cancer

Pot Could Actually Improve Brain Function for Middle Aged Men
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/drug-law/uk-study-shows-middle-aged-males-marijuana-usage-not-detrimental

Marijuana discovered to help patients with bipolar disorder
http://now.msn.com/marijuana-discovered-to-help-patients-with-bipolar-disorder

The 10 Most Successful Potheads on the Planet...Cool Enough to Admit It «
http://coedmagazine.com/2009/02/06/the-10-most-successful-potheads-on-the-planet-cool-enough-to-admit-it/

Quit allowing propaganda to scare you into turning your son in. THE Worst problem with mj IS law enforcement.
Not only that doing as the other "turn your kids in" parents suggest will most likely create a rift between you and you son that will be irreparable.
Once that bond is broken you may never get it back --and it will have been do to your over reaction and the crappiest advice from the so-called expert on here and parents who have the need for absolute control.
You and your son are going through one of the hardest times in your relationship he's growing up and you have to begin to let go.  

Like many here. I too smoked in HS and throughout my life occasionally I am a business owner who graduated with honors from college, have a happy life with my family of four.

Please, don't destroy your family by turning him into the police. The WORST advice Ive ever read.
Concentrate on his job (school) and treat him with respect . As you would a good friend YOUR age. Not by threatening but by guiding through genuine interest.
These parents that believe their kid doesn't do [fill in the blank] because they "laid down the law" are only fooling themselves. Their kids just learn how to hide it better or decided ON THEIR OWN it wasn't for them.

 How do I know?
I partied with the Lutheran school kids and a preacher's kid. They knew all the tricks. That's who I bought my mj from. Their parents swore jr did exactly as told. We laughed at them while getting high.
> 60 days ago

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Jiff
Jiff , Student writes:
You should get him help! Your son is hurting his body, using drugs. The bad side effects of drugs will take place in him, if not already.
> 60 days ago

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matthewhollanger
matthewholl... writes:
Hi Valleri,  
Look, about your son smoking cannabis, first off cannabis isn't very harmful physically. Cannabis mentally, is also not very harm full. There is no withdrawal symptoms, you can't overdose, and there has been 0 deaths attributed to marijuana use in the past 10,000 years. Now propaganda, through media, and movies such as 'refer madness' makes us think that it's such a bad thing when it really isn't. I don't smoke cannabis, I've tried it and it just wasn't for me. Now enough education, I am a teacher I can't help it :P, now for your son. Speak to him, tell him these facts, just make sure he doesn't take any other much much more harmful drugs such as cigarettes and cocaine etc. Tell him, that you're happy for him to smoke, but all in moderation. As long as marijuana doesn't get in the way of his school work. Some of the most brilliant people in the world smoke cannabis. As long as your son isn't stupid about it, he should be fine. Initiate a rapport with your son, this will help both your communication. Good luck with everything. He's still young, he may grow out of it.
- Matt
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
You did all the right things. congratulations and he is behaving like most teens who feel entitled.  the disease is not addiction but entitlement. Start there.  Get your partner involved, go to his friends parents (because he is surely not smoking alone) and invite them over for coffee, and monitor him. you can ask your pediatrician to consult. She/he has invariably handled this many times before. Is there some one he respects who may have an impact on his thought process? Finally, cut out the cash.  By taking away purchase power, he can't buy it without getting into illegality more than he already is. Teens are not impressed by what getting caught means to their future schooling or employment but it helps to remind them.

best wishes.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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papajack
papajack writes:
Let's be honest here fellow parents, I am a 35 year old single dad with 3 kids, I am a Managing Partner for a company, and I am indeed a marijuana user.

I'm a very hands on single dad, and my children are everything to me, there is nothing in this world that I wouldn't give them. I smoke marijuana regularly but at the RIGHT PLACE AND AT THE RIGHT TIME.

There seems to be alot of problems with weed and teens, the answer is very simple. Parents, Have an open mind and research on this plant, not just from our government. Don't tell your child lies because sooner or later they will find this out and this will push them to use and abuse it.

Don't just tell them no. Have an explanation for it, and please, if you do smoke cigarettes or drink alchohol I don't think you're in the position to say otherwise.

1. Tell your child he's too young to smoke marijuana and it is bad at a young age, set an age you think is appropriate or wait till you think are responsible to do so.

2. Teach them responsible use like doing it after they have completed everything.

3. If you see him smoking marijuana and when he is not doing what he was suppose to do that is when you punish him.

If anyone is wondering if this method has worked, My parents did this to me. Good day.
> 60 days ago

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HeatherHartley
HeatherHart... writes:
Limiting the child's access to money could help make it stop and/or make it more obvious that he/she is trying to continue to smoke, etc. Things missing, having to ask for permission; ask for money and explain what it is for... They have earned this kind of restriction by making bad decisions and now you are intervening to help get him/her back on track. Little mistakes early on lead to very big consequences later in life.
> 60 days ago

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shroberts
shroberts writes:
Children are influenced by what they hear and spend time with the most. Society has watered down everything that will work against a child's ability to excel. Drugs are common in the world , so children accept it.  Continue to talk with him. Find some movies that shows the outcome . Share real life experiences with him. spend lots of time with him. don't overwhelm him, but enjoy him. Ask questions? Show him how it affects the brain, ask him to read articles. You have to make this problem realistic, children want proof! Give it to him, in a loving, but stern way. Don't give up! Don't get angry. Give him boundaries.
> 60 days ago

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Joese
Joese writes:
My 15 son smokes week regulary for 2 years now.  His grades are at 50% - he failed science and had to take summer school and all he did after summer school every day is smoke weed. He has admitted ( when sober) to having OCD issues. Can't turnoff his brain. I have tried to get him help but he refuses. He is basically self medicating himself. I found a scale and  plastic baggies in his room which suggests that he is also selling it. I have a minor in the house ( a nine year old boy) What do I do? Can I kick him out. It is runing our family.
> 60 days ago

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Rose-is-awesome
Rose-is-awe... writes:
Well yes but if that doesnt work well u need to put him in rehad if its that bad
> 60 days ago

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EdwinV1993
EdwinV1993 writes:
Okay, so first of just relax, try to educate him on how to smoke responsibly rather than completely stop. Now as far as the the condition of the legality of cannabis, yes it is true that cannabis should be lagalized and properly goverment regulated. There is very strong evidence that can literally be found everywhere you look on the relatively harmlessnes and in fact proven medicinal value of the plant. The truth is that it a safer allternative to alcohol and MUCH safer than ciggarettes. Now again depending on your sons age im going to say that if hes under 18 he might not know the legal dangers of the "black market" world that our society has unfortunately created due to it being illegal. If your son is smoking everyday before school i see the issue your having to deal with and i would just want to ask you to approch him in a calm and reasonable manor. Defenitaly get him to cut down and choose more appropriate times other than right before school because this could affect his academic performance. Ive delt with a lot of these issues and i wish you the best of luck. -21 year old med student

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sal_dutcher
sal_dutcher writes:
In Europe, the drinking age is, in most places, around 16 years of age. They don't have nearly as many issues with drinking as we do.

Why don't you take a similar approach with your son's cannabis use? If you let him use cannabis occasionally under your watch, you can not only provide harm reduction (that sounds silly for something like cannabis), but you can take the thrill of defying your authority away.

Removing the thrill of defying you will make your son stop smoking cannabis. It's the reason why I've never drank any alcohol since my parents have me a beer when I was 16.

I know it's counterintuitive, but psychology backs me up: A psychologist once did an experiment (the name is eluding me) where a group of kids were subjected to laissez-faire discipline, then democratic, then authoritarian. They behaved the best under democratic authority.
> 60 days ago

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tospreadtruthabouteverything
tospreadtru... writes:
I know this is old but maybe not to late DO NOT let a police arrest him it will only make him angry two pot isn't bad that's also what's in his head but let him understand he isn't old enough wether it's where it's legal or not but since that probably won't work accept it is the best thing to do let him know that you aren't responsible if he gets caught let him he isn't allowed to smoke at the hpuse and smoking before school is stupid even though I've done it you can get caught though I do concentrate better despite the comments above obviously they haven't smoked also don't smoke everyday there's always to much of a good thing I smoke on the weekends and guess what I quit when I want no hesitations cause sometimes I have more important things to buy (oh wait he doesn't sound addicted what's going on hmmm)  cause I'm not please listen and understand the truth
> 60 days ago

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tospreadtruthabouteverything
tospreadtru... writes:
And also parents blaming kid problems on pot ha I laugh I am extremely successful in school before and after I smoke pot most likely it was your fault coming from a young man cough cough myself you probably didn't push him hard enough or pushed to much and hmm maybe he skipped class because he was failing, because he wasn't getting help in school not every kid is born a genious your kid failing is always partially your fault no matter what they do you messed up somewhere down the line
> 60 days ago

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ashishpatilwagh
ashishpatil... writes:
Ask him regarding his life that is he facing coz problems or coz situations those lead him to smoke and if the answers to these are no then took him to cancer hospital to reveal the truth of cancer patients and you will have to prove side effects of smoking. Dont get angry on him this will not solve the problems.
> 60 days ago

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