06-15-2022 01:07 PM - last edited on 06-22-2022 03:28 PM by Philippa-RO
I have a 15 year old son who has Asperger's and is quite honest and well read / researched (setting the scene).
I have recently found a home made bong and a small amount of weed in his bedroom (innocent discovery). I managed to keep it together and waited until after school to confront my son so I had time to think and calm down. My initial thoughts were panic and I felt sick! I was ready to ground him for life to try and keep him safe.
My son has explained that he and his mates all put in to buy some weed as they wanted to give it a try, but they have not done anything as yet. I confiscated the items and asked my son to think about the consequences the weed may have considering he is already on medication in relation to mood stability, etc relating to his Asperger's. As I said, he is well researched and bought the issue up with his treating psychiatrist who said it wouldn't affect him if it was only an occasional activity. Not the answer I was hoping for, but I guess she was just doing her job.
So now my question is, he has told me he IS going to try it, do I provide a safe environment for my son to 'try out' using weed? This is in no way an activity I condone, but I also don't want my son to go out and get more weed to "try" out somewhere.
I am so confused on the best way to handle this situation, but my son is now asking if I am going to let him try it at home. I am hoping someone else may have been through this and can let me know of their experience.
06-15-2022 04:32 PM
Thanks for reaching out for some support on what I imagine must be quite a difficult situation to know what the best thing to do is. I think it's really positive to see that your son was honest when you confronted him and that open communication is ongoing. That's a great indicator that your son feels safe with you.
We have this article that might be helpful to have a look though and give some extra ideas on what steps might be best for engaging with your son about this going forward.
06-15-2022 07:24 PM
Hi Little Wren,
I can well relate to your situation. My 18 year old is on the spectrum, but not on any medication and I also have a 16 year old daughter. Two years ago, she was suspended from school for bringing vodka to school and drinking it. I was absolutely shocked. I rarely drink alcohol, don't smoke anything and have serious health issues. I heard the click of glass in her bag when I picked her and a friend up last Friday night and found half a large bottle of vodka in her bag. I didn't confiscate it at the time. I was unprepared. Other issues have arisen since then and my chances of nabbing the vodka have been low.
These situations with our kids not only reflect on them and what their values are, but also on us. You seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding your son's use of weed. Ideally, he'd be older before he tries it for the first time and crosses that boundary. You could go down the path of "while you're living in our house, you live by our rules", but it hasn't worked well in our house andcan lead to rebellion and secretive behaviour. I think it's hard where you end up condoning taking weed, which is against your value system and are getting rail-roaded.
Unfortunately, I need to go but I think that sums up my take on the situation.
Good luck and feel free to keep in touch.
06-16-2022 12:24 PM
Thank you for responding and directing me to the article. I not only read it, but also printed it out and discussed it with my son. I have decided to follow my gut and allow "a one time only" controlled experience and went through the possible side affects, etc with him. This was a great discussion and very respectful on both sides. I know I am lucky to have this honesty and do not want to do anything to make him start sneaking around and not communicating with me.
Although it goes against all I believe in and feel comfortable with, I have a much bigger fear of my son trying the drug and having an adverse reaction where he is unsupported. It is a nasty world we live in where you don't have to look too far to find trouble, so I will protect him as best I can, while I can.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed he doesn't like it and all my stress will have been for nothing.
06-16-2022 01:31 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I agree with you that sometimes if we lay the law down too quickly or too harshly then all we get back is rebellion. I am trying desperately to avoid this situation.
It is for that reason, and the fact that my son has been open and honest with me that I have decided to provide a safe space for him in a "one time only" deal. It scares me and goes against my values, but it scares me more with what might happen if he tries it behind my back.
I have made it very clear to him that by providing this oppertunity, it in no way means I'm happy about it or condone the behavior. I also told him if I were to come across any more drugs, etc then they would be confiscated and consequences issued.
Keep your fingers crossed for me!
06-16-2022 07:22 PM
06-17-2022 03:49 PM
Hi @LittleWren , I'm so glad to hear that you were able to have an open conversation with your son about the idea of experimenting with drugs and that it was well-received on his end. It sounds like the two of you communicate really well and that there's a lot of honesty between you.
I can completely understand your concerns and your hesitation to let him try any sort of substances, particularly if it goes against your values and if you hold concerns for how it might interact with his medication. It's incredibly difficult to balance the complexity of trying to keep him safe while also honouring what you believe and value, but it sounds like you're doing a great job of walking this fine line by setting clear boundaries about what you're willing to allow and what consequences will ensue in future.
Not a lot of parents would have the courage to create this kind of space for their teens to form their own conclusions about something as tricky as substance use, and I think it speaks volumes of your trust for your son and your compassion as a parent that you're allowing him to be an active participant in these kind of discussions. It's great that you had a chat with him about the possible side effects too, hopefully giving him this kind of information about the possible adverse effects of using drugs might help him to form his own opinion of whether it's a useful choice for him.
How do you think you'll cope during this 'one time' experience? Is there anything that you can do to look after yourself before or after to make your unease with the whole situation a bit easier to sit with?
06-19-2022 01:39 PM
It really is great that your son is so very honest with you. My guess is that he and his mates are going to try anyway, so best he tries it in a safe environment. Get information re harm minimisation and cannabis for yourself (if you haven't already). Maybe make a compromise with him that he smoke it at home - not using a bong - but roll it as a joint - the water in the bong and absorption rate is more harmful. Check out fds.org.au as they have some great info on cannabis harm reduction strategies - the harm and harm reduction etc.
06-20-2022 05:05 PM - edited 06-20-2022 05:07 PM
Well for all of you following along, the big event happened Saturday night!!!
To say I was feeling sick and anxious is an understatement. But I am so relieved to advise all went well with no major incidents to report.
He was giggly and silly and his behavior actually reminded me of when he was younger and care free. My son has to try so hard to navigate this world made for "normal" people (he has Asperger's) and often suffers from anxiety and frustration. But Saturday night just for a little while he was stress free. Initially it made me happy to see him smiling and giggling, but then it just made me sad.
Just to be sure he was ok, I stayed up until I knew he was asleep.
We followed up the next day and discussed the big event of the night before, and he fully understands this was a one time gig. He has given back all related bits and pieces and we have destroyed them. He knows that if he decides to continue with this behavior there will be consequences.
Am I happy I made this decision - Yes!
I am not a fool and know that he may now decide to smoke with his friends, but at least I know if he does decide to do this again (and I sincerely hope he doesn't) I know that he just turns into a giggling fool, no aggression, no paranoia.
But keeping my fingers crossed his curiosity has now been satisfied 🤞