06-16-2017 12:11 PM
My daughter has had defiant tendencies since third grade. She got suspended in third grade for making a punch to the hand motion to her teacher. Then in 7th grade she got got selling a vape pen to a student at school. There is rumor of a video of her smoking it in class. She got suspended then too. In 8th grade she got caught shoplifting at the mall. Now, she's in 9th grade and I caught her and her friends smelling like pot the other day. I confronted her, and she said her friends parents smoke it in the house and that is why they smelled that way. Never the less, I told her she wasn't allowed to go to that friends house anymore. She flipped. Later that night as a was slipping into sleep i smelled it. Sure enough, went into her room and she was smoking a joint by the window. Honestly, I am heartbroken. I feel like my husband and I are pretty good parents.
The other thing is that she seems normal most of the time. She dances competition dance and just made the cheer squad. she gets decent grades. Although, they did drop the last quarter of the school year.
I don't know what to do anymore. My step-daughter who is older than her says the parents of the girl my daughter was smoking pot with grows it at their house. I don't know if I should take this to authorities too. I'm at a loss and feel like each year I'm losing my little girl a little more.
06-16-2017 01:56 PM
Hello @back2schoolmom Welcome to ReachOut Parents!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us. It's one I think a lot of us can relate to. I'm so sorry you guys are having such a tough time.
It's so heartbreaking, that feeling that you're losing them. Trying to implement boundaries you know they need and then fearing that it's those boundaries that are driving them away.
I think that it 's often the fear of what might happen that makes things worse. It makes us react rather than respond because we feel like so much is riding on every decision we make.
One thing I know is that young people need boundaries and without them, they feel unsafe and confused and will start trying to find them by pushing parents until the boundary arrives. But they also need to be age appropriate, skills and maturity appropriate, somewhat aligned with their peers and developed through consultation with all parties in a respectful and caring space. Boundaries need to say 'I care' not 'You're untrustworthy.' Which I really struggle with, especially when I feel at my wit's end and I'm frightened that I'm doing it all wrong. Do you find it similar to that or is your experience something else?
How important is the dancing and cheer-squad to your daughter? Would discussing with her the health impacts of cannabis have an impact, do you think? Because I am very happy to provide you with some health information regarding cannabis you could share with her.
06-16-2017 03:15 PM
Thank you for responding! You pointed out exactly how I am feeling. I grounded her from technology and also we're signed up at Kaiser for a 12 week addiction class for parents and kids. We're going to go to family counseling too, so maybe we can figure this out as a family. I hope all of this shows her how much we care.
Its so strange because dance and cheer is very important to her. She's like two people. She has some great friends in these areas of her life, their parents LOVE her, she's respectful. But, she has these other friends who she's smoking pot with, and she acts like she doesn't care about anything. I guess its a positive sign that she is still holding on to the youthful parts of her life.
06-16-2017 05:13 PM
That's wonderful that you're approaching this as a family and with lots of support from professionals.
It's funny but my experience with young people is that it's not uncommon at all for them to have conflicting 'existences' happening all at once. Young people who interact with the world in a very adult way and yet will still have activities that come from their childhood or they will seem to have two different personalities depending on where they are and who they're interacting with. Don't forget that adolescence is the period of experimentation and young people are trying to work out who they are and what they're about.
The important thing is to try not to position her into defending her 'pot' friends. If you appear to clearly prefer one version of her over the other then there's the risk that she will be too busy defending it to develop her own judgements about its deficits. Try and keep your concerns health based and your judgements centred around pot itself rather than the people she's doing it with. For example, rather than "I hate your friends" try "I hate how pot increases anxiety and depression in young people, especially young women." rather than "I don't want you hanging with those people." try "I'm worried that you guys aren't looking out for each other if you're encouraging each other to smoke. I'm worried you're all increasing your chances of mental health difficulties." That way she doesn't need to rush in to defend her friends or who they are as people, she now needs to defend her position on pot and if you stick to facts it will be hard for her to do that.
I hope that's helpful. It might help reduce the level of conflict between now and when the program starts.
06-17-2017 12:22 AM
I am sorry to read about your heartache and the pot issue.
Sometimes when it comes to teenage drug abuse - even experimenting with alcohol and drugs - there could be an underlying issue. Do you know of or do you suspect something that could be bothering her?
She sounds like a lovely girl.
Going through tough situations with my teenagers, I often found that when I only use negative language, they tend not to listen to me, but once I start using positive language, they respond. Let me try to explain. When talking about the effects of pot with your daughter, acknowledge the 'positive'. Yes I know there is nothing positive about drugs but what I mean is, say something like: 'You know, I never smoked pot before but I read that it makes you feel good for a bit. What concerns me however is that ......(It turns your teeth yellow.....it leads to depression,etc).
You know your daughter best and maybe this is not the right approach for her but I honestly believe it is an approach that will encourage her to participate in a conversation with you.
I would love to hear from you again. Please keep me updated on how things are going.
06-19-2017 01:41 PM
This is a really challenging one, and though I don't have direct experience of this specifically, but alcohol has been the challenge, so similar....
It's a challenge I know (and only a suggestion!), but I tried to overlook the alcohol/drug use bit, and really focus on "allowing the issue to surface". Commentary of friends of any sort is never helpful either.
By "allowing the issue to surface" I mean to work on improving your relationship with her so that she feels 'safe' to share with you more authentically. Some of the parenting advice already offered here (and in some recent posts!) are excellent strategies to try.
Do you have any idea what some of the underlying issues might be? One of the persisting issues that I have learned young women are most challenged with is Body Image, in line with this is the sexual pressure and overall general 'performance' pressure as a result of over-use of media. It's a bit issue to address, but there is a lot of research and support on this, including RO
Just a thought as you mentioned that your daughter loved her cheer leading, which brings to mind the netball culture of the young women that I encountered who were struggling with this issue.
Look forward to hearing how you're going with it.
06-19-2017 09:43 PM
06-20-2017 08:33 AM
Hi there @back2schoolmom
Rough night no doubt, sorry to hear things got here for you and your daughter. Times like these give us an opportunity to step back and take a moment to reflect and plan. Take a breather and time for yourself to consolidate and check in.
Where are you at today? If you need, you may like to call the Parent Helpline for some support. you can find the number for your state here:
All the best for the day ahead, and check back here for some more ReachOut support, good on you for doing so already
06-20-2017 11:30 AM
Hey @back2schoolmom I'm so sorry to hear what's happened. I honestly think you did the best thing you can in the situation. Safety is ALWAYS the most important thing of all.
At this stage, I'm worried about you and your stress levels. Do you have any support? Do you have someone who can be with you?
Would you like to talk through some approaches for when she returns?
06-20-2017 12:38 PM - edited 06-20-2017 12:39 PM
@taziness Thank you. I will check out that parent support. I'm very tired, anxious and grumpy today. I just don't see and end to this at this point, so I'm pretty depressed.