02-10-2020 02:46 PM
Hi - my son turns 15 tommorrow. He is a lovely boy, loved by all who know him but doesn't have a huge amount of friends. He hangs out in a group at school but really only has 2 real mates who he likes to do things with outside of school. His best friend from primary school (they don't go to same high school) and one at my son's current high school. Over the past year his friend from primary school has started drinking and smoking dope. Once we were aware of this we put in place rules around only supervised catch ups etc. We thought his parents had got things under control (they said he wasn't taking drugs anymore) and late in the school holidays allowed one unsupervised visit (about a month ago). This resulted in him coming home high on hash brownie. Fortuntately he didn't enjoy the experience, he was punished (accepted very calmly and reasonably) and seemed to understand when we explained that he was not going to be able to hang out with that boy anymore (also explained this to the other parents). However, this weekend my son got very upset saying he wanted to hang out with this mate, he has no friends etc. Once again we've explained the reasons why, we're organising more activities for him to keep occupied etc. My question is - by banning access to the friend are we making him more attractive? I just don't know what to do otherwise. Wouldn't continuing allowing supervised visits only lead to unsupervisied visits even if it was a year away. Help!!
02-10-2020 04:29 PM
Hi @CBlovesherboy ,
Welcome to the ReachOut Parents Community, and thanks so much for sharing a bit about what's going on with your son. It sounds like it's been a pretty challenging time for both you as parents, and your son. It must have been really disappointing to have your son come home high, when you thought that his friend had stopped using cannabis. I hope you don't mind, but I'm also going to tag in two of our community members @Keddie and @Maggiecoco , who have also recently posted about their teens and cannabis use.
I can hear your uncertainty about banning your child from seeing his friend, and to be honest I suspect that your instincts may be right - if this boy is your son's best friend from primary school, and you say he's one of his 2 really close mates, then I imagine that not being able to see him at all could be a really big loss for your son. And as you say, sometimes when we ban things entirely, it can make those things seem more attractive.
I'm wondering if engaging your son and this friend in a supervised activity that can't involve substance use could be a middle ground? Does your son have any interests like sports, or hiking, or gaming that he enjoys?
ReachOut Parents page also has quite a few resources that have been written in consultation with experts as well as parents who've been through it, and there's two articles in particular that I thought might be useful for you - promoting positive risk taking with teenagers, and and risk taking and teenagers . Peer pressure and risk taking with teenagers can often go hand in hand, and there's some good ideas in these articles about ways to encourage risk taking in safe environments.
You sound like a really caring parent who's been able to communicate really well about boundaries, and explained to your son the reason behind your decisions - hopefully other members of the parents community can share their perspectives and experiences too. Thanks so much for posting here - how are you coping with it all? Parenting teenagers definitely isn't for the faint hearted