02-26-2020 09:42 AM
I have had suspicions of my son partaking in the use of marijauna for the past year when I have confronted him he has lied to my face and said he does not use this. However I walked into his bedroom where he had just smoked out of a homemade bong and had a bowl of weed. I threw the weed in the toilet to which he become angry about and the bong into the bin. I have no idea what to do now, please help what do I do ?
02-26-2020 09:35 PM
Hey @pinetruth ,
That must have hard for you to find your son had been smoking marijuana. It'd be difficult to know what to do and how to communicate this dilemma with your son. What's certain is that although this behaviour is concerning, it is not uncommon.
It sounds like you performed the first part correct by placing boundaries in your home. The next step is to have a talk with your son. Here is a link to a good resource. Hope it helps.
02-29-2020 11:34 AM
Dear @pinetruth drugs are so scary, aren't they ?! I can imagine you are at your wits end on this one. It feel overwhelming.
There is a growing assumption among teens that if marijuana is being legalised across the globe for adults, it can't be bad for you. We know that's not necessarily true.
There are actually many reasons teens choose to begin smoking weed. Maybe you have family members who smoke or express approval of marijuana, research suggests that children are much more likely to begin using marijuana than those with no family involvement with the drug. Is there evidence or drug activity in your neighbourhood? Peer pressure to smoke pot remains a strong influence as well. If they have friends who are using marijuana, they are more likely to try it themselves. There's a tendency to adopt the attitude that "everyone is doing it" and it's part of the normal teenage experience. But research shows that the majority of teens make it all the way through high school without ever using marijuana. Drug and alcohol use is often promoted in the magazines, social media, tv, movies etc. Those influences can be significant for children. I am amazed at how many current ‘binge worthy’ shows depict regular use of pot. It’s one of the reasons I try to watch what my children watch as it can really desensitise them to the issues. Many teens turn to marijuana in an effort to self-medicate, to make themselves feel better. They use marijuana to try to cope with depression, anxiety, and anger. Teens can also begin using weed as an escape. Boredom is one of the main reasons some teens use marijuana. Do any of these sound like your son?
Hit him with the facts so he can make an informed choice. While cannabis can be relatively safe and therapeutic for adults when used responsibly, its hazards -- particularly for young people -- are real. The brain is still taking shape well into the 20s, with the prefrontal cortex -- the region involved in decision-making, planning, problem-solving, and controlling impulses -- developing last. Using marijuana during the teens can affect development, research suggests.
The marijuana that teens can use today is far more potent than what was around a generation ago. With the advent of edibles and marijuana concentrates potency can get even higher, likely boosting the risk of bad effects.
9% of people who experiment with marijuana become dependent. This rises to 17% among those who start using it as teens, and 25% to 50% for teens who smoke daily. OMG kids don’t get this statistic, do they?
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). This can cause unwanted side effects, including:
- trouble thinking and problem solving
- problems with memory and learning
- loss of coordination
- distorted perception
These side effects are temporary, but they can make it dangerous to do things like drive while under the influence of marijuana.
People also might notice other short-term side effects of using marijuana, such as:
- an increased appetite
- feeling lightheaded or drowsy
- a decrease in inhibitions
Research has found that people who use marijuana over a long period of time can have more lasting side effects. For example:
Changes in the brain. Marijuana can affect the parts of the brain that play a role in our ability to remember, multitask, and pay attention.
Fertility issues. Animal studies suggest that using a lot of marijuana might be linked to decreased sperm count in men and delayed ovulation in women.
Respiratory problems. People who smoke marijuana a lot can develop problems with the respiratory system — like more mucus, a chronic cough, and bronchitis.
Immune system problems. Using marijuana a lot might make it harder for the body to fight off infections.
Emotional problems. People who use a lot of marijuana are more likely to say they notice signs of depression or anxiety. If someone has a condition like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, marijuana can sometimes make symptoms worse.
Remember nobody is to blame for your son trying pot. Have a plan for your position and consequences for drug use. Try to focus on the issue at hand – that you don’t want your son using drugs. Be honest – but be sure they know you don’t want them using. Kids are great at finding grey areas!!
Expect anger and resolve to remain calm. He will be uncomfortable about discussing this issue as well. It can help to plan ahead about how you’ll handle an angry or resentful reaction from your son. Be prepared.
Don’t forget to tell your son that you love him, and this is why you’re concerned.
Set a Realistic Goal. Things will go more smoothly if you have a desired outcome in mind. It’s OK to keep expectations low, like simply expressing that you don’t want him to use. Set a small goal and move toward it, one step at a time.
Before the conversation starts, think through which rules you would like to put in place, and what the consequences of breaking them will be. Rules provide a definite way to let your son understand what’s expected of him. If you’re a parent who feels bad about setting limits, remember that deep down, your child actually wants them. Rules mean that you care about your son and his safety. And consequences actually help – not hurt them. A firm consequence, such as getting grounded or having to give up a fun privilege, will remind him of what not to do in the future.
Listen to your son’s feedback and let him help negotiate rules and consequences. Only set rules you can enforce.
Positive reinforcement is a motivating factor in all our lives. We are more likely to repeat a behaviour when it makes us feel good. Drugs can tempt teens because they solve a problem, although in an unhealthy way, like boredom, fitting in, anxiety etc. You can become part of the solution by using more positives and praise. Boys in particular respond well to descriptive praise.
Some positive behaviours you can reinforce or praise are - looking for a job, being home on time, helping with household chores, speaking in a respectful way, doing homework, assisting another family member or friend with a problem, returning phone calls/text messages promptly etc. Acknowledge all the small steps along the way. Catch him doing good every time you can.
Examples of reinforcers:
- a hug
- a smile
- a shoulder rub
- a thoughtful text message
- a kind word/compliment or praise.
- time spent together in a favourite activity.
- assisting with chores
- teaching a skill like how to drive
- making a favourite breakfast, snack, dinner or dessert
- gift cards
- small items
- concert or sports tickets
It can also help to ask your son for input on what reinforcers he’d like. They may be very different however, they shouldn’t be expensive unless your celebrating a huge milestone.
By acknowledging respectable behaviour, you are helping to link a behaviour you want to encourage with a positive outcome. Doing this repeatedly will help your teen recognise that there is value in acting this way. Over time, he will learn that there are other ways to “feel good” besides using substances, which can lead to less substance use or even abstinence.
You may feel awkward doing this at first, but it becomes second nature after a while. Your kindness and compassion will inspire a positive and warm feeling reinforce their belief that they are capable of feeling good from means other than using substances.
03-16-2021 06:28 PM
Hi - I'm in exactly the same boat. My 15 year old son is also smoking weed and was caught by dad last night with a bong hanging out of his bedroom window. We're at our wits end. He has no interest in school and thinks he can come home when he pleases (we live 4 doors away). He's angry with us all the time for no reason, shuts himself in his room. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
03-17-2021 03:31 PM
That sounds like such a tricky situation - weed is the most common drug that young people experiment after alcohol, so you're definitely not alone. We do have some good resources on our parents page about cannabis, its effects on the developing brain and ideas for how to approach those conversations with young people here, interestingly the academics that ReachOut talked to for this piece found that talking about brain development was one thing that really resonated with older teens like your son. We also have an article here about talking about drug use more generally - it can also be helpful to know why your son is smoking. Is it for enjoyment, to cope with other stuff going on, or a mixture of reasons?
I also really like @PapaBill 's advice above about involving your son in discussions around boundaries, and consequences for when they do get broken.
Do you think your son's anger and shutting himself away are a sign of a bigger issue for him at the moment? If you think he would be open to chatting to someone about what's going on for him, Headspace centres and eHeadspace can be a great place to start.
Keep us posted with how you're getting on
Well, as a parent and a psychologist this question give me an opportunity to express my views on what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. I always advice my kids to be good and stick to the rules. And I definitely want them to be very successful in whatever they do. I try to educate my kids and help them understand the difference between right and wrong. And I think I did a great job as far as my kids are concerned. However when they started to smoke marijuana and got into drugs, it was time I should do something and do it quickly. In my opinion parents should never allow their kids to smoke anything. But if they are smoking, parents should never give up the fight and should try and help the kids to come out of it as soon as possible.