Help me respond appropriately to my teenage son's marijuana use.
My son is 15, a long-haired, skateboarding, guitar-playing punk who has begun smoking pot. I caught him red-eyed today, but I have been suspicious on another occasion, and I'm guessing he's done it maybe a half-dozen times. He is, of course, a good kid
, has been earning As and Bs this year for the first time ever, loves kids & animals, serves lunch at a local shelter, mows the neighbor's lawn, etc. He is also lazy and stubborn, and sometimes disrespectful. He's typical. I worry about him because ... well, because of the usual reasons, I guess. I'm his mom.
I read this thread
, which has some good advice in it, but because my son is not in trouble, or rebelling, or slipping in school, and I'm not concerned about pot per se
the way the OP in the other thread was, I'm seeking additional responses. My feelings about pot are that it ought to be legal, but it isn't. I have talked to my boys (my other son is 13) about both safety concerns and legal concerns. They know I've done it, they know my opinions about its legal status, and they also know the consequences are more punitive now, and that it's stronger and more anonymous (therefore risky) than it was back in the day. (They do not know that I still occasionally --- like once a year occasionally --- get high. I don't think it has any bearing on the situation, but I'm putting that out here for full disclosure.)
I've addressed it with them the same way I've addressed sex with them --- I don't want you to do this at all unless and until you're old enough to understand and face the consequences, but if you're going to do it, you have to protect yourself.
Bringing these boys up has been easy up to now. All previous issues have been pretty much black-and-white. Yes you can do that, no you can't do this. Here's why. OK mom.
I think whatever success I've had raising them so far can be attributed to my being consistent with regard to rules and punishment/reward. I'm ambivalent about this one, because acknowledging
that they might/will smoke pot comes very close to approving
I busted him under these circumstances: he was hanging out with friends at a local skatepark after school, and when I left work & the grocery store I told him I'd stop by there on my way home to give him a drink. So I did, and when he leaned in to the car to talk for a minute before I went home, I saw the telltale look. I had him sit in the car with me and we talked a little bit. He admitted to it, but the discussion was actually more about his denial and talking back to me than about the pot itself. He was stoned though, so it would have been pointless to discuss it in depth then. I found myself surprisingly unprepared as well. So we tabled it and I will bring it up later this weekend.
I don't want him to smoke pot. He's going to smoke pot. To forbid
him to smoke pot is inviting secrecy and lies. To allow
him to smoke pot is endorsing dangerous, illegal activity.
My brother, whose opinions about pot are similar to mine, thinks I'm making a mistake by not setting down firm unbendable rules about this. His oldest child is 9. My brother also thinks I'm being alarmist about the legal consequences and the quality/purity/strength/questionable sources of whatever my son might be smoking.
So. What advice do you have for a mother who needs to talk with her teenage son about smoking pot? He is looking for his first summer job, he's practicing driving (although he won't get his license for at least a year if not later), and we're coming up on a summer where he's not in school but I'm at work.