Do I keep my cannabis-smoking secret from my 15 year old brother?
August 23, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Do I keep my cannabis-smoking secret from my 15 year old brother?

This weekend my two younger brothers (aged 15 and 22) will be visiting me. The 22-year-old has already been introduced to weed (not by me) and we don't keep it secret from each other. If it was just him coming, we'd be cool.

Trouble is, the 15-year-old is still young and at school, and I'm pretty sure has no clue about it. If he's anything like I was at that age, he's probably pretty anti-smoking and anti-drugs.

So the question is: do I let him find out? He's too young to be introduced to it yet, but I've been thinking about educating him about it. On the other hand, part of me thinks he should stay innocent and find out for himself.

Added to this is that most of my friends smoke, and I don't want to have to drag them into the conspiracy along with me. I also don't want to have to hide things from him.

Help a big brother out!

NB: I'm in the UK, so there is no chance of him getting in any trouble. The only thing he stands to lose is his innocence. I also feel confident that he would keep it quiet. I don't plan on getting high while he is here as I think that would be unfair on him.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What are your family's attitudes about it? Is he likely to run and tell your parents?

When I was seventeen or so, I found out that my family had been partaking together and felt a little condescended to that I'd been left out of the loop. Even at fourteen, fifteen, I felt pretty grown-up and philosophical about the whole thing. I was straight-edge personally, but politically for the legalization of pot, for example. It was the lying that got to me, not the drug use itself.

By "innocence" what do you mean? Fifteen year olds are not actually innocent by many measures of the idea of the term, and I fail to see how learning that his brothers smoke would really impact his innocence. Best case scenario, it might lead him to less black and white thinking about marijuana use; worst case scenario, if he's strongly anti-drug, it might make him feel a little weird around you, too, at first. But these are risks you run with sharing such information with any other party.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:13 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're not going to get high while he is there, what is there to keep secret, exactly... the fact that you do it at all? Unless your apartment looks like the back half of High Times exploded all over it, I can't imagine that you have much to conceal. So are you asking whether or not you should voluntarily reveal this to your brother ("So, dude, just thought you should know: I smoke pot")? What would he gain from this (an awareness that not all pot smokers are degenerates, perhaps)? What might he lose from this (his respect for you, if he's in the straight-edgy phase that some kids favor at that age)?

I personally don't see any real gains that might result to EITHER of you from letting him know about your pot smoking. Treat his visit like you'd treat a visit from your mom, or a new girlfriend - stash the bongs and/or posters of Einstein sucking on a doob. Before taking someone into confidence about your pot use, I'd be ABSOLUTELY sure that they'd be cool with it. At 15, I don't know that you CAN know that your brother would be.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:13 PM on August 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

This is about as "conspiratorial" as not talking about fucking in front of your significant other's parents. You have no reason to tell him, he probably doesn't want to know, and telling your friends to not talk about smoking weed in front of your kid brother isn't asking for the moon. So long as it is still against the law, the less people who know about your habit, the better, and that includes family.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]

On the one hand, it might be better that he find out things like this from you, rather than from his idiot contemporaries who will feed him all kinds of lies and urban legends.

On the other hand, if he's very strongly anti-drugs, it might sour your relationship, ie, he might lose some respect for you. (Which would probably be temporary.)

And still on the other hand, it's just a weekend. Can't you just not get high this weekend? Plus, I just envision your all of your friends doing a very terrible job of keeping this "secret." Not maliciously, just like, some of them won't get why it needs to be a secret and so won't try very hard, some of them will just be naturally unsubtle, some of them won't agree with your decision and will let it slip behind your back, some of them will think it'd be so funny to use obvious innuendos in front of your brother, etc.
posted by thebazilist at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2012

Probably best to just put away the weed altogether for the weekend. Is it that pervasive that it would be trouble to just not mention it or have evidence of it visible?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2012

the OP says that he's in the UK so there's no chance of his little bro getting in trouble. what does that mean?
posted by sio42 at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2012

When I was in my early twenties, I too had a fifteen year old brother who came to visit.

At the time I was living in an arts collective with more than a dozen people. Many of whom smoked weed regularly. Some of whom smoked around the house and would pass the pipe to whoever else was in the room. I didn't try to hide this from my brother who was visiting. I mean, how could I?

I found myself shooting dagger eyes at some friends on a few occasions, and there was one sad night at a party where somebody had hash and I didn't get any because I was being on my best behavior for my little brother. But otherwise I let the chips fall where they may.

In a couple years, your brother is going to go to college and everybody's going to be smoking pot all the time. Why pretend this doesn't exist?
posted by Sara C. at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

If he's young and you perceive him as anti-drug, you could really stress him out with this. A lot of it might be based on the idea that he's visiting you and depending on you, and he'd be freaked out to have the "responsible person" acting irresponsible. If you want to introduce him to the idea that cannabis is not necessarily a bad bad terrible no-good thing, do so by having a good time that is not at all drug-focused, and if your friends happen to smoke some around your brothers and your 22yo brother also smokes some, okay. I would advise against putting him in the position of being the only nonsmoker. Whether or not you explicitly tell him you'd be smoking if he wasn't there is probably best left up to the situation, but I think it's best if you decided right now that you will not be smoking this weekend even when you're around friends who do. Unless of course, he surprises you all by saying "sweet! hook me up!" - but even then, this would be a good moment to show some class and responsibility.
posted by aimedwander at 1:35 PM on August 23, 2012

The OP says: "I don't plan on getting high while he is here as I think that would be unfair on him."

So I take it we are talking about something else-- either casual conversations about life in which the smoking might come up, or maybe about concealing paraphernalia and the weed itself.
posted by willbaude at 1:39 PM on August 23, 2012

I'm a younger sibling and it wrecked me to find out some stuff about my older sibling, who I idolized. I feel pretty stupid about it after I grew up, too, but I remember reeling.

So, don't volunteer it, but if it comes up don't lie.
posted by mibo at 1:41 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

So, don't volunteer it, but if it comes up don't lie.

Yeah, on the balance I agree with this approach. When I was 16 I was super-Christian and not necessarily anti-drug, but just innocent and clueless (drugs were something other kids did, not my friends). It turns out my friends were doing drugs at the time- it's not like they hid it from me, they just didn't mention it and I didn't think to ask.
posted by muddgirl at 1:45 PM on August 23, 2012

I wouldn't worry too much about, like, "decontaminating" your apartment or anything like that. I mean, definitely don't leave weed lying around, and if there are seeds and resin everywhere and the place reeks of pot, clean up for sure. But that's just common courtesy. I don't really understand people who have evidence of super-recent specific drug use (or drugs themselves) just sorta lying around all the time. What if your landlord or mom or boss comes over?

But it's probably not going to send your brother off the deep end if you have the poster for How High on your bedroom wall, or he sees a pipe or rolling papers somewhere in your house. If that starts a conversation that results in, "sometimes grownups smoke weed and it's not a big deal," so what?
posted by Sara C. at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

He's too young to be introduced to it yet, but I've been thinking about educating him about it.

Smoking in front of your brother, allowing your friends to smoke in front of your brother, or chatting about smoking in front of your brother is not "educating". If you want to be a good brother, you can ask him what he thinks about drugs/alcohol, make sure he knows the relative risks of different drugs, and make yourself available to answer any questions or help him out if he's ever in a sticky situation.
posted by acidic at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't smoke in front of him, if he wants to smoke at a later date that's fine but at 15 it is too easy for him to try to be like his older brothers and try it even if he really doesn't want to, just to fit in. You can let him know you smoke, keep the bong/s or what ever around, you don't have to hide that you do it, then you will be in a position to talk to him about his POV on the subject.
posted by wwax at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2012

I personally wouldn't have it around him. I use to hide my cannabis use from my younger brother who is close in age due to my concerns of him wanting to try it. I didn't want to be a "bad influence". Now he knows, doesn't care, and has no interest in it whatsoever.

I think having a discussion about the risks associated with drug use is important during this time frame due to peer pressure and these years being the introduction to pleasure inducing chemicals. While I am personally of the belief in freedom to indulge, it is important to know your audience. Furthermore having someone who he can go to if he has any questions could be very valuable to his safety. Again, I wouldn't promote drug use to a younger non-adult, as there certainly are risks including cannabis usage, but being able to converse about the topic could be positive.
posted by handbanana at 3:24 PM on August 23, 2012

"So the question is: do I let him find out? He's too young to be introduced to it yet, but I've been thinking about educating him about it. On the other hand, part of me thinks he should stay innocent and find out for himself."

I would replace 'drinking' everywhere you refer to weed in your question. I see them as equal, even though the law in most places does not. Would you hide the fact you enjoyed a beer or glass of wine every once in awhile? Wouldn't that be a little weird? I think education and choice is a good thing, innocence and secrets, not so much.

But as others have mentioned, it does depend upon your family culture. If your parents are going to go ballistic if they hear about it, I would be inclined to be more discreet and not partake around him, but not lie if he brought it up and wanted to talk about it.
posted by nanook at 5:21 PM on August 23, 2012

It depends on your brother and his personality and the family culture. If he's all straight edge about it, then no. But also, he may not be as "innocent" as you're expecting either.

I'd lean towards no, but play it by ear if he seems more pot-friendly than you expected.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:19 PM on August 23, 2012

15 is too young. He will be influenced by his Big Important Older Brother in non-obvious ways. Setting a good example is the way to go.
posted by gjc at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2012

I've been thinking about educating him about it.

I do not know, but if this is code for getting your little brother high, or being like some kind of pot-willy-wonka to his charlie, please don't. Are you qualified to educate him about marijuana? Smoking it doesn't make you an expert in anything (note: I am not anti-pot).

I was drinking my arse off at fifteen, and within a year I was toking it up, too. I wish to fuck I had known what I know now about the uncontroversial effects on intoxicants on adolescent brain development; there's no way I would have drunk/smoked so much at that age, no way.

My brother smoked pot when I was fifteen, and I knew about it. I found his "world-wise", Tarantino-posturing and patronising about it to me paissez and fairly pathetic (I cared neither way about the smoking itself). But you are not my brother, I am not your little brother etc.

Let your bro make his own discoveries about intoxicants, if he wants advice or thoughts from you, make sure he knows he can ask, but put him in the driver's seat.
posted by smoke at 9:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

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