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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
We have strong reason to believe that our 16 year old son is starting to use weed and alcohol when hanging/partying with friends. I have a long list of ideas of what to try, but I'd like to hear from any parents out there that have experienced this. He has a very large group of friends and we believe most of them are doing it also.

What steps did you take to remove the problems, how far did you go? I'm ready and willing to remove his freedom, drug test him every week, take his phone away, remove his bedroom door, talking to his friends parents, etc...

I want to put a stop to this before someone gets hurt, killed, or arrested.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions are very welcome here.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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You could take away his freedom, and he will hate you for the rest of your life.

Or you can do the only thing you *can* do, and let him make his own decisions... because thats what is going to happen anyway.
 

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I would not do any of the things you are suggesting. If you do, you will get negative results.

Not sure on how your relationship is with your son, but that will have a lot to do with how you approach him. How is your communication and what type of parenting model have you been using?

Best thing you can do is to show the "appropriate level of concern" without dropping down the hammer.

Educate him not only on the adverse effects of abuse of alcohol and drugs but also educate him on why you have concerns based on your own personal experiences.

This is a case of leadership and respect... if you have both, he will be more open minded as to the reasoning of making good judgement decisions. If not, he will only look at is as you are the DAD and you are being the fun nazi.

16 years is a volitale age. Restricting liberties is not what you want to be doing.

A lot also depends on your sons track record. Is he a "good kid" that is hanging with the wrong crowd? or is he a bad kid that has finally found a negative behavior to express himself?

Consider all of this before making any harsh decisions.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your input. Our communication is very open with our son. We talk about everything. Overall he's a good kid (although very lazy). Friends are his priority over family or school. We were involved with the Young Marines for 1.5 years. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps' Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts. At least 2-3 times a year all Young Marines (including him) would attend a mandatory drug class. So he knows all about drugs and what they can do to you.

As far as the crowd he's hanging around: He's been friends with most all of them for many drug free years. In his own words, this is really a case of "Everyone's doing it".
 

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Advising him is definitely the best method in this case. Experimentation is going to happen in many circumstances - SIIK2NR has plenty of good questions and the a really good basis you should ask yourself to evaluate the totality of the situation. This should allow for a better, less rash, approach to nipping this in the "bud" :) See what I did there?
 

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the things you suggested are worthless interventions. he still needs his phone et.al. and you'll only build more distance.
it's more than likely this is a peer induced phase. as an adult he'll grow out of it, the question is will he not make mistakes? he can make the mistakes even sober.
those marine/dare programs don't work (supported by research). they are a silly superficial view of the problems affecting people. his desire to be in the in-crowd and have a girlfriend far outweigh any ocasional video or authority figure.
i was a teenage pothead of the worst kind, even as an adult. it didn't lead me anywhere.
talk to him everyday, let him know you care. encourage him to enjoy sobriety and natural highs. give him things to aspire to. bring him into your activities, get into his.
help him develop his dreams. there are no shortcuts.
tomas
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Does he plan to join the military? If so, he has to know all the branches are proud, professional organizations that do not tolerate drugs/mischief and if he plans to join the ranks he can’t do anything to jeopardize his chances. Even if he doesn’t join the military, most work places have the same high standards and in today’s competitive world, every little thing counts. Good luck, let us know how things turn out. :)
 

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I would not do any of the things you are suggesting. If you do, you will get negative results.

Not sure on how your relationship is with your son, but that will have a lot to do with how you approach him. How is your communication and what type of parenting model have you been using?

Best thing you can do is to show the "appropriate level of concern" without dropping down the hammer.

Educate him not only on the adverse effects of abuse of alcohol and drugs but also educate him on why you have concerns based on your own personal experiences.

This is a case of leadership and respect... if you have both, he will be more open minded as to the reasoning of making good judgement decisions. If not, he will only look at is as you are the DAD and you are being the fun nazi.

16 years is a volitale age. Restricting liberties is not what you want to be doing.


Tim
Not sure I fully agree with 'restricting liberties is not what you want to be doing.'

I'm not a drug/alcohol counselor, but I am a behaviorist by training and trade. Fundamentals to shaping any behavior: There must be some combination of meaningful reward and/or consequence. A total absence of some combination of these provides one no real reason to change behavior.

Kinda the psychological phrasing for the law of inertia.

Not saying do anything draconian...but he if refuses to follow your standards for living in the house, driving the car, or having access to other privledges, you are under no obligation to provide them.

We learn to make hard decisions in life by evaluating the rewards or consequences for the options in front of us....and weighing those against the 'pain' of the decision.

If there is no down side to the decision you wish he wouldn't make, and if the wish he wants to make only seems to have an upside, you're making the decision for him. And it's not the one you want.
 

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You could take away his freedom, and he will hate you for the rest of your life.

Or you can do the only thing you *can* do, and let him make his own decisions... because thats what is going to happen anyway.
I agree with Kitty. Unless you have any evidence then your sending the message you don't trust him. Peer pressure is tough at that age and being
accepted means a lot.

I would just sit down with him and say, 'Son your at the age now where we should discuss drugs and alcohol. Explain the implications it could have on his future if he was caught by the authoritys, ect. Just be honest and let him know if he is ever pressured he can always talk to you about it.
 

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Mostly good advise from LT community. I worked with that demograph before getting out of counseling work years ago.

I would be careful with hardline stance. He knows intellectually all you could say and still disregard your counsel. I would offer up some mature suggestions and possible consequences and let him make decisions. I would not start with consequences being " I will kick you out of my house"

What liberties have you allowed him ? Let him know those are in play and can be taken away.

What liberties ( other than smoking dope in your house ) does he want ? Make those in play as well.

What indicators will you measure to make future decisions ? Grades, coming home on time etc... get him to agree like an adult to the measures and the positive and negative rewards/ consequences that come with decisions. Limit his ability for excuses. Do all this over a series of conversations. Explain this is how the world works, these are the rules you have to play by and since he is making "adult" decisions then you would be doing him a dis-service allowing him to make them in a vacume with no expected consequences. There are always rewards and consequences to decisions and they start ( in my mind ) in high school. If he spins out of control protect the rest of the family and explain to him that is what your doing. If he settles down and smokes and / or drinks here or there then it is more or less managed. ( maybe not to your liking, but managed )

Tough times to be that age... It ain't the 80s and it can get a lot worse than smoking a joint here and there quickfast !!! Everyone has horror stories and dream that the only problem they have with their teenager is occasional potsmoking. I know a few who wish their son was still alive. your on it ! peacb
 

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I've a 15 year old. I've told him that my concern, other than legal, is that his ambition can be consumed by this hobby. He's the child of his Mother and I, so lots of fun and wildness and risk taking are likely. He needs to know the trouble we've had for our risks. Won't go into it here but it has been, well, at the least quite pronounced.
 

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While it doesn't address the root cause, making sure he is educated on how to deal with law enforcement in case he is arrested, might help him at least keep his record clean. If you're really worried, have an attorney on retainer.

Buy him a race car so he doesn't have so much spare time.
 

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The drinking isn't a major problem, 16 -17 is the normal age to start drinking, my friends and i got the getting pissed every week thing out of our system (most of us did anyway). The Weed could be a problem, a group of my friends started using, I would say 4 out of 6 became addicted, the other third only used occassionally. most of the addicted ones moved on to other things and became even more useless than when they were on weed.

What sorta worked for me was my father saying to me when i was like 14 "if you ever use drugs then i will shoot you". guess that one is too late to try....
 

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probably not the best person here to offer parenting advice...

but i feel that spending time with them is the #1 one thing. if you can develop a strong relationship where there is trust and belief in each other - then i think he will feel empowered to make his own decisions, and you will feel better about the ones he makes.

drug use is not a problem... life decisions are. maybe he will stop soon, maybe he is not using as much as you think, maybe he is using to fulfill some gap he feels, maybe a if you can talk about it rationally and in good spirit you will understand what and why he is doing. but for al that to happen - you need to have a good relationship. typically people in strong nuclear relationships don't do a lot of "stupid" stuff - the whole village mentality of taking care of each other.

my thoughts on the matter.... don't even ask me how to accomplish it though!
 

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I had one summer before college where beers and joints were. Ecoming the norm among my friends. Then a cop rolled up on us at the bowling alley in the parking lot, and I realized that college and the good job I wanted afterwards, wouldn't tolerate a drug record. So that was the end of it. Kids do that stuff because they're bored and often they're emulating bored adults or siblings in their or their friend's lives. Your son's probably not the one buying the pot or the alcohol. But engaging him about the one or two kids in the crowd that are, without asking him to name them, might give you both some insight about where this lifestyle leads.
 

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I agree with the guy who said he intellectually knows everything you could possibly say to him already. As long as he's not drinking and driving, I don't think there's much risk of loss of life and limb, but if he is drinking and driving, you need to take away whatever vehicle he has. If it's your vehicle you need to put the keys in a safe because he will get them. Other than that it comes down to whether he's drinking and smoking to excess. If he's getting drunk on school nights and it's screwing up his school work, you need to come down like a hammer. If it's not affecting his school work, clamping down on it will make you look like an idiot to him, since you can't demonstrate your reasoning. Taking off his bedroom door will compound the problem by making you look like a very invasive idiot.
 

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I grew up hating my parents for all the crap they gave me doing this and that. Nothing they said really prevented me from doing what I wanted. I would call myself a bad kid. I put them through many years of stress. I'm much older now. Doing quite well for myself but still regret my sh1tty childhood. My relationship with my dad is cordial at best. They were certainly right about everything and if it were it for them getting on my case I would probably be a drug addict or dead.

Don't sit still, you have to give your kid hell if you want to get through to him. There's no going around it.
 

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I grew up hating my parents for all the crap they gave me doing this and that. Nothing they said really prevented me from doing what I wanted. I would call myself a bad kid. I put them through many years of stress. I'm much older now. Doing quite well for myself but still regret my sh1tty childhood. My relationship with my dad is cordial at best. They were certainly right about everything and if it were it for them getting on my case I would probably be a drug addict or dead.

Don't sit still, you have to give your kid hell if you want to get through to him. There's no going around it.
+1,000
 
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