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Father needs help

My son Jackson  turns 17 next week. As a parents, we've always been his true friends. There were no secrets between us, we always had mutual understanding. I really think that me and my wife are good parents, acting not like others. But, some dumb stuff happened. I've hever scrolled my son's browser activity and history, but yesterday He just forgot to close the tab about detoxing from marijuana. And, honestly, I have no words to say. I'm an adult family man with my powers and responsibilities, but I don't know what to do, how to tell my wife about it and how to talk with our young man. Have you ever experienced something like this?


Re: Father needs help

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Hi there @SASpurs67 and welcome to the ReachOut forums!  So glad you found us here.


First up, hope you don't mind but I made a slight edit to your post to make sure that it complies with our forum guidelines.


It sounds like you have an amazing relationship with your son and it is a real credit to you and your wife that you feel like you can communicate with him.


Given that, I was wondering, what is it about the conversation around the website you saw that you are finding difficult to have with your son and your wife?


There are some great articles on the ReachOut site with some tactics for communicating with your son as well as building trust which I thought might be of interest to you.



Re: Father needs help

Hi @SASpurs67 Welcome ! Thank you for joining us . I am so sorry to hear what you are experiencing with your son .  It can be a real shock when your teen does something that you think is  so different to to who you thought they were . It can really throw you and make you wonder how good a parent you really are , compared to the sort of parent you thought you were ! Believe me all good  , loving , engaged , parents see behaviours in their kids that seem so left field , we wonder if we have  influence in their decisions !  It's a great that you have a really open and loving relationship with your son  well done ! 

My take on this issue: 

 It's not unusual for teens to experiment with all sorts of risky behaviours at 17 . They are testing their toes in the waters of life experiences  It's part of the rites of passage from being a child to an adult .  I call it the " peacocking phase " .(  It goes along with the weights training , protein powders  mirror preening and fake tan   ) Some kids move on after realising it's not for them and they start to see the negatives and realise it's a foolish pathway to stay on long term . Other kids who continue often do so because it serves a purpose in their life . They may be starting to suffer from  stress , anxiety ,  depression and it's a way to self medicate  and shut out the  negative  painful feelings . It may be a way to rebel from too much restriction and overly tough boundaries at home , or discord  and unhappiness at home . 

What ever the reasons are , they do need to be explored . Early intervention is the best way to tackle this so it doesn't escalate into a bigger problem down the track . 

My suggestions would be ( if you haven't already tried them is ) 

Questions are always better than a lecture 😉

 Wait until you are having a " soft " chat with your son , maybe in the car on the way to sport or if you are cooking together . Ie a chat that is indirect and organic . When you are both in a happy chatty mood .  Then mention that you  saw he had been googling " detox marijuana "   Then ask : 

1. Is there a reason you were looking up " detox marijuana ? You might come at it from an angle of curiosity . Maybe one of his friends needs help ? Better to not make assumptions or judgements - this will help to keep his defensive guard down and he will be more open to discussion . 

2. Tell me a bit a bit about why you decided to try it ? 

3 . What is it like ( if you don't know 😊! ) 

4. If you have smoked it  yourself or used drugs in your past be honest , he will appreciate it . Tell him why you did it and then why you stopped . 

5. Tell him that Marijuana is a  drug that in evidence based studies and in  recent scientific research papers is a known de- motivator , impares cognitive functioning , can trigger depression , and for those genetically pre- disposed even bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He is essentially playing Russian roulette with his brain . Is that a risk worth taking ? 

6. If he is interested in " detoxing " then it shows he has the capacity for self reflection and a desire to help himself- that shows he is capable and smart and self protective !  You have done a great job as a Dad then ! 

7. Talk about his dreams and goals and needs in life . Focusing on what he wants to achieve  , and then ask him how does Marijuana fit into this picture ? Will it get him closer to what he wants or won't it ?  If it's only recreational then is there something else he can replace it with that will not sabotage his goals ? 

8.If he finds it hard to talk to you but says he thinks he is unhappy , anxious , or stressed then I suggest a counsellor or psychologist . 

9. We all have friends relatives who have suffered enormously and not achieved their full potential or lead very compromised lives from the collusion of drugs and mental illness - discuss this with him . 

I have always scared the pants off my kids with the horrors of drugs by talking about my brother who developed  severe bipolar  disorder  with psychosis after starting to smoke at  14 .  I have even shown them   prgressive before / after photographs of  people who use methelyampetamine .  I even get the rolling of the eyes and " oh mum not the meth faces again " 😁 

I wish you all the best ,  he is lucky to have such an amazing Dad like you who cares enough to get on top of this soon - you are doing the right thing !  If you do manage to ask some if the things Ive suggested let us know how you go . It's always good to get feedback . 😊

Prolific scribe

Re: Father needs help

Hi @SASpurs67 just read the thread and it seems that unless you have noticed odd behaviour from your son he may just be browsing the web and being curious (or gathering information for a friend).  My suggestion is having a casual talk about drugs in general, over dinner or while watching TV, so your son doesn't feel you are accusing him of anything.  Letting him know how much you are aware of the dangers may prompt him to ask you questions and give him security.  You may need to do some research on marijuana yourself as my understanding is, it is not addictive, however behaviours are.  Please keep us posted on any outcomes.  Many of us including me have had drug issues with teenage sons.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Father needs help

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Hi @SASpurs67, just a quick bit of housekeeping: we have removed a link from your post. As part of our community guidelines we ask that people contact us here to ask permission before posting any links. We ask that you please do not edit your post to include links again, or we may need to remove the functionality that allows you to edit your posts.


Secondly, I can totally understand how hard it must be for you to discover that the openness and trust that you thought you shared with your son isn't always there. It is important that you talk with your son about this, and I really like @motherbear's idea of making sure that the chat is soft and casual. This will help your son to participate in the conversation and keep him from raising his guard and shutting down.


Please let us know how you're going.