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What if you caught your kid smoking pot?

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eks6426

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My husband and I found a one-hit in our 17 (junior in HS) year old''s jeans in the laundry. We''ve confirmed that it has been used for marijuana. We''ve never seen him actually smoking it, but are quite sure he does it. We don''t think he does it in our house...I''m thinking I''d smell it, but at friend''s houses. The 17 year old is my step son so we don''t have total control over the kid. He splits his time 50/50 with us and his mother. We also have a 9 year old who is my child and with us 100% of the time.

We''re not sure what to do because I''m not sure there really is anything we can do that will make him stop.

Any suggestions?
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Try leaving it out on the kitchen table (or some other obvious place) and don''t say anything. Believe me, he knows it''s missing and he probably knows you found it. He''ll be waiting for a huge battle/punishment. Wait and watch him sweat over knowing that you know he''s into it. Then, after a day or two of NO talking or confrontation about it, casually bring it up over dinner or during some other family time. Discuss your concerns as though he were and adult and not your child. He''s on the border of being an adult and this may benefit you in the end because he''ll trust you and may feel comfortable about approaching you with problems and issues int he future if he knows that you won''t freak out. He already knows that drugs are bad news health-wise. The main thing he needs to know is that drugs can get him into trouble with the law. He has to claim on his federal financial aid papers if he''s been convicted of any crimes including drug related ones. A pot conviction could really mess up his chances at college.

Punishment is up to you and your husband.

Good luck!
 

Dee*Jay

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I think Hudson Hawk has a brilliant idea about leaving it out for him to see. I know when I was younger KNOWING that they KNEW, not to mention the WAITING, would have about killed me. And then a reasonable conversation sounds like a really good plan for getting it out in the open and resolved.

BTW, this isn''t in any way related to CrownJewel''s thread about the best way to save store bought herbs, is it?

(Sorry -- and please don''t think I''m making light of your family situation -- I just saw the two threads together and couldn''t resist a little bit of humor!)
 

Hudson_Hawk

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LOL I never thought to store my stash in the freezer...good idea.
 

ljmorgan

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Haha, or you could ground him into oblivion like my parents did when that happened to me when I was 16
They took away my car and everything... and I never tried the stuff again!
 

eks6426

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The leaving it out is interesting. My husband has been debating about telling him that he needs to take apart the washer because there is a metal tube stuck in it...and see if the kid sweats some.

The hardest part with this kid is he is never around. He hasn''t had a family meal with us in months.

I think approaching it from the illegal standpoint is the best option.

But do we punish him? If so, how do you punish a 17 year old that is never around? He has a car that was given to him by his mother because she moved 20 miles away. He needs it to get from her house to school.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Well has he ever gotten in trouble with you gyus before? Is this just one part of a bigger problem? You said yourself, there''s not much you can do. Maybe just making him aware and ashamed is enough to make him think twice about bringing that stuff home. He''s going to do it whether you punish him or not. Maybe tell him that if something similar to this happens again you''ll call the cops on him? Say that after the legal talk of course.
 

Finding_Neverland

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Our kids are so "Anti Drugs and Drug Abuse" on their own, TG we don''t have to deal with this issue.

Hudson makes some very good points. At 17, they are pretty much grown. They think at least. Doesn''t really matter if you tell them not to, they''re gonna do what they want any way.

I did see a sign on the back of a bus today about Minors and Drug/Alcohol abuse. Something to the effect of "One Minor Offense. A Lifetime Record." Be sure he knows about the consequences his actions may bring. Maybe even take him for a visit to the jail. Let him see what the inside of the pokey looks like and who he''ll be sleeping over with if he get''s caught.

Good Luck to you!! God Bless and keep you ALL safe from harm.
 

poptart

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I''m sorry your having this issue. I''m not a mom, but I was 17 just four years ago, haha. Anyway, have you told his mom what you found? I am not sure what type of mother she is, but if you do decide to punish him, it''s going to be hard if his mother isn''t on the same front as you and hubby. As for telling him it''s illegal, he knows. Trust me. That''s why he''s hiding it! It''s the getting away with it that is the fun part. I agree with others about approaching him like a grown up and laying everything on the table. I think making him sweat is the best idea. Let him know that you know, but don''t say anything. Also, I would try and make sure that he spends more time at home and has someone he feels he can talk to. Does he have emotional problems, such as depression? I know that sometimes that is a big catalyst for marijuana use. Best of luck!

*M*
 

eks6426

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We haven''t come up with a punishment for anything that works. That''s part of my quandry. His mother pretty much undermines everything my husband does as far as discipline..that is a part of why they divorced in the first place. I wish we could get him to spend more time with us but he "hates being at our house" and is only there pretty much to sleep and take showers. The only reason he is ever around when we are awake is if he needs something like laundry etc. If we try to force him to be home for dinners/family time he says, "he''s going to live with his mother full-time." Then my husband is afraid he''ll never see his son.

My husband knows a lot of the local police. I wonder if he could get one of them to scare the 17 year old but not put it on his record? Or are cops legally required to do the arrest if they find out?

Other thought is having the cops raid the friend''s house where we think this is going on. Would that work?

poptart--yes I think there are lots of emotional issues. Depression is probably one of many. I''ve been suggesting counseling for months...but the kid won''t go. Says he will "kill himself" if forced to go and my husband nor the kids mother will force it with him saying that.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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What about "arresting" him and instead of taking him to the police station for booking, take him home while lecturing him in the cruiser in your driveway?
 

poptart

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Date: 2/9/2007 3:42:34 PM
Author: IslandDreams
We haven''t come up with a punishment for anything that works. That''s part of my quandry. His mother pretty much undermines everything my husband does as far as discipline..that is a part of why they divorced in the first place. I wish we could get him to spend more time with us but he ''hates being at our house'' and is only there pretty much to sleep and take showers. The only reason he is ever around when we are awake is if he needs something like laundry etc. If we try to force him to be home for dinners/family time he says, ''he''s going to live with his mother full-time.'' Then my husband is afraid he''ll never see his son.


My husband knows a lot of the local police. I wonder if he could get one of them to scare the 17 year old but not put it on his record? Or are cops legally required to do the arrest if they find out?


Other thought is having the cops raid the friend''s house where we think this is going on. Would that work?


poptart--yes I think there are lots of emotional issues. Depression is probably one of many. I''ve been suggesting counseling for months...but the kid won''t go. Says he will ''kill himself'' if forced to go and my husband nor the kids mother will force it with him saying that.
I think the fake arrest would be a great idea. Don''t bust his friend though, that will turn out very badly because he will suspect that the two of you did it and he will probably avoid home even more. Do you know any counselors that you could talk to that could suggest ways to get him to decide he needs counseling? I had a lot of friends in high school with depression problems, including myself, and once the anger problems and depression was addressed, the drug use stopped and they started caring more about life rather than how angry they were at mom or dad for being so annoying. Just a suggestion. 17 is a sucky age... haha. I remember now why I would never go back!
 

KimberlyH

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My sister got caught smoking pot in a round about way at 18 (she left her diary open and out and my mom read it). My dad simply said "you have a week to decide if you want to live by our rules in this house or live by your own rules elsewhere." He waited the week, she didn''t approach him, he started packing her. She freaked out as she thought her not saying anything would indicate her choice to stay at home, she promised never to do it again while living in their house (and actually stuck to it!).

He''s not legal yet, so that method won''t work, but if it was my adult child I''d make the same choice my parents did.

This is tough, ID, as you have a younger child to be concerned about too. I don''t think grounding him would be effective, but he has to be taught that this behavior won''t be tolerated in your home (whether it''s posession or consumption). I like HH''s idea of leaving it out where he can see it. Is there any way your husband and his mom can come to an agreement regarding punishment?
 

ladykemma

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what you all are missing if he is keeping drugs in the house, the feds can AND WILL confiscate your house if caught. i would evict him from the house. for your own safety. and change the locks.

and i am a recovering drug addict. i can't believe what you all are saying are you kidding me? a fake arrest?
 

Hudson_Hawk

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The point was to try to come to a resolution about how to scare him but not alienate him. The fake arrest was more of an attempt at lightheartedness.
 

ladykemma

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Date: 2/9/2007 3:42:34 PM
Author: IslandDreams
We haven''t come up with a punishment for anything that works. That''s part of my quandry. His mother pretty much undermines everything my husband does as far as discipline..that is a part of why they divorced in the first place. I wish we could get him to spend more time with us but he ''hates being at our house'' and is only there pretty much to sleep and take showers. The only reason he is ever around when we are awake is if he needs something like laundry etc. If we try to force him to be home for dinners/family time he says, ''he''s going to live with his mother full-time.'' Then my husband is afraid he''ll never see his son.

My husband knows a lot of the local police. I wonder if he could get one of them to scare the 17 year old but not put it on his record? Or are cops legally required to do the arrest if they find out?

Other thought is having the cops raid the friend''s house where we think this is going on. Would that work?

poptart--yes I think there are lots of emotional issues. Depression is probably one of many. I''ve been suggesting counseling for months...but the kid won''t go. Says he will ''kill himself'' if forced to go and my husband nor the kids mother will force it with him saying that.
he is manipulating you. this is a non negotiable as he is putting you all in danger.
 

strmrdr

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lock up the patato chips :}
sorry but I dont see it as a big deal.
Make a bid deal out of it and he will start hitting the harder stuff out of spite.
 

larussel03

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Oct 22, 2005
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I think the major issue here is that it''s illegal, as was stated before. My personal belief (which I''m not stating for debate, but to show I''m not biased towards thinking it''s awful or something) is that it should be legal and regulated, and I have my own laundry list of reasons why, and I am not any kind of smoker, so it wouldn''t benefit me.

BUT, that''s not the issue here, the issue is that it''s illegal, and you are looking for a way to instill in your 17 year old stepson that you have to abide by the law, becasue if you get caught, the consequences can be great.

The telling him to decide if he ever wants to be able to come back may be a good approach. My mother basically told me when I was younger that I was NOT to do drugs b/c if they were ever found in the house my parents could get into huge trouble...she knew that making the point that it affects other people, not just myself, would weigh heavily on me if I was faced with a decision of whether or not to smoke pot, or bring pot into the house.
 

eks6426

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Should we get him tested for other drugs?

I certainly don't want to put my 9 year old in danger or loose our house. For a small amount of pot, I thought it was a misdemeanor charge...up to 1 ounce. I think he hides it in his car or at friend's houses. We regularly go through his room. I think the kid would be happy if we lost our house because of him.

We definitely don't want to alienate him anymore that he already is. We've tried everything we can think of to get him to go to counseling but nothing. He definitely is depressed AND angry.
 

Dee*Jay

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Island, you mention he is 17. Is he out of high school yet? What are his future plans? Here''s just one idea, but if he''s looking to go to college you might approach it from the standpoint of a bargaining chip. I.e., we''re going to get you tested for drugs and every semester that you are clean we will then pay for the next semester. But if your tests come back positive you''re on your own. Something like that maybe...
 

eks6426

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He is a junior...so a whole other year to go. He used to want to go to college, but his HS grades have been not great. He''s very bright but doesn''t apply himself. Right now, we would not spend the money to send him because we think he would just flunk out.

He is interested in "working on cars" but has no idea how to get into that field.

I honestly think the military would be the best move for him. He needs to learn discipline and that the "world does not revolve around him." But I don''t think either of his parents could stand to send him off with the possibility of being sent to Iraq.
 

CrownJewel

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Aw IslandDreams, this is tough! Does he have an older friend/role model that he really respects? My fiance used to smoke pot every day in high school for almost a year. He started to cut class, not do his homework, etc which was a major change from his straight A academic history. His older half-brother decided to talk to him and tell him that "pot is not cool" and that did the trick. He really thought his older brother was SO cool and if he wanted him to stop smoking pot, then maybe it''s NOT cool.

Also have you noticed a marked change in his academic performance? Both my fiance and a former boss of mine said that once they started smoking pot regularly they felt like they got dumber. They both enjoyed being at the top of their class, and they both came to blame pot for the change in their performance. It''s like they both missed being smart, so that was another plus to stop. For my old boss, that was THE reason to stop the pot.

For each person the "aha!" is different. I guess it''s that way with anything...drugs, smoking, alcohol. Some people don''t care that it''s illegal or it''ll make you sick. It could be that smoking cigarettes gives you wrinkles, which makes someone finally quit. Or that smoking pot "makes you dumb" that gets someone quit.

I really hope you find some way of connecting with him. I know so many smart people who don''t apply themselves in life, and it becomes such a devestating and destructive cycle.
 

Finding_Neverland

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Date: 2/9/2007 5:02:55 PM
Author: IslandDreams

He is interested in ''working on cars'' but has no idea how to get into that field.


I honestly think the military would be the best move for him. He needs to learn discipline and that the ''world does not revolve around him.'' But I don''t think either of his parents could stand to send him off with the possibility of being sent to Iraq.
About the working on cars,.......... Doesn''t your HS have a Vo-Tech program or a Career Center that the boy could enroll in. That''s what our kids'' school had. A Vo-Tech Career Center. You could learn auto mechanics, electrical, plumbing, many of the Trades.

Military isn''t such a bad idea. You are right about discipline in the Military. But a tour of duty in Iraq is a definite worry.

Also,........ One thing I think helped our kids remain drug free is they were involved in school. They all found things they liked doing and participated in extra-curricular activities. Sports, band, theater, speech, kept them going 10-11 months a year.

Does he have any interests?? Maybe there''s a club or group at school he could get involved with. Change the group he hangs with, maybe change his "habit"??!!
 

upgrading mama

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Date: 2/9/2007 4:21:47 PM
Author: ladykemma
what you all are missing if he is keeping drugs in the house, the feds can AND WILL confiscate your house if caught. i would evict him from the house. for your own safety. and change the locks.

and i am a recovering drug addict. i can''t believe what you all are saying are you kidding me? a fake arrest?
While I have no first hand experience with drugs I would have to disrespectfullt disagree. I think that turning your back on a family member, especially a minor, would be very damaging for him. Since he splits homes 50/50 and the parents are so different, maybe he just feels like there is no consistency there.

We do not know this boy so I trust IslandDreams will make decisions based on her knowledge of the young man.

There are a few things that I am sure of:


I would definately talk to him about it and
I would approach him with love and (attempted) understanding, not fear.
It may be the first time or 100th time he has done it, but maybe he doesn''t think anyone cares about him. You did mention a depression issue so there may be more at play here.

I don''t think I would go the arrest route, unless he is an agressive, rude, underminding kid and you think this is the only way to get through to him....


If I may ask, how long have his parents been divorced and how long have you been married to his father?

I wish you both the best in this situation and I will pray that you can find a way to talk about it with him. Keep us posted.
 

poptart

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Um... do NOT force him into the military or try to sweet talk him into it. The military is not a career, but a lifestyle, and a terrible one if you don''t want to be there. DH is in the military, it was the single worst decision we have ever come to. And he actually wanted to go at the time. It may teach him discipline, but it may not. The military is not an option to be taken lightly because if he decides that he hates it, he will probably find a way to get discharged, and chances are it would be dishonorable... such as drug use. Not to mention, if he is already having depression and anger issues, putting him in a high stress situation such as a military career is a good way to get him to break. I''ve seen this happen, and it''s not pretty and hard to recover from. So if you are determined he needs some discipline, and I agree that he does, find some other recourse, such as those military style bootcamp setups, just to see how he reacts. A simple four year contract takes forever to end if you hate it. Sorry to get on a soap box about this, but seeing the idea getting thrown around scares me! So please remember this is just my opinion and personal experiences.

I think that just kicking him out would probably be a bad idea. You have a responsibility to care for BOTH your young son and older step son. Kicking him out would just make it worse. I still think maybe you should try and contact a counselor to get the emotional issues talked out. Lastly, and please remember I am not a parent and I''m playing the devil''s advocate here because it wasn''t long ago that I was your son''s age. But anyway, I would bet that he knows you and DH are going through his room. Which of course, makes him think, if they are not going to be honest with me, why should I be honest with them? My mom did the same thing to me when I was in high school, and it made me very untruthful with her, and more ingenious as to where to hide things I didn''t want her to find. So, even though looking through his room seems like the logical thing, don''t expect him to be truthful if the two of you aren''t being truthful. Sorry if this sounds like an attack, because it''s not. I just couldn''t find a less harsh way of saying it. So again, please take no offense! I hope that you and DH can find a way to help him through this!

PS I hate to ask this, but he''s not doing "harder" drugs, is he? Pot is bad but there is so much worse, in which case I would be inclined to agree with ladykemma that you would need to kick him out of this house and into a rehab center.
 

monarch64

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Yeah, to me marijuana use is not the real issue here. It''s a symptom of a bigger problem...how you and your DH choose to address that, Island Dreams, will make the difference. I definitely think the kid needs support from all adults involved, though, whether he acts like he wants to be around any of you or not.

I was thinking about "punishments" when I read through this thread...what if you and DH figured up the court costs, etc. basically what it would cost you to bail him out of jail, go through court proceedings, etc, loss of wages, if he were to be arrested for possession, and made him work it off there in your household as punishment? I know you guys have a big beautiful backyard that probably needs lots of trimming over the spring/summer, and probably lots of other things for him to do around the house...you could assign a dollar value to chores and make him work it off this summer, then maybe bank the money for him at the end and tell him you''ll save it for his eventual arrest?

Maybe that''s making too big a deal of all this, but I think there needs to be some sort of repurcussion, and he would experience a consequence to his actions before it gets to the legal stage.
 

cpster

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Take him to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, hopefully one where there is a guest speaker. http://www.na.org I'm not saying that he has a drug problem, but I would be concerned that marijuana use could lead to other drugs such as meth and crack down the line. No one ever tries drugs thinking that they'll become and addict, but it happens all of the time. I see news stories all of the time showing middle class suburban mom's that are "functional" meth users that of course eventually lose it all...their kids...their homes...their lives. I also have a dear friend fighting for sobriety. Drugs are everywhere so hopefully hearing the life stories of addicts in recovery can give a big scare to your step son.
 

ladykemma

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well i recommend al-anon for these family members because it sounds like the addict is running this household. al anon in on the net and in the phone book.

and yes, as a recovering addict and recovering family member i take a hard line approach. this is not a joke.
 

sumbride

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I agree with LK that he is manipulative and now running your household. It sounds like your husband is afraid of him and what he will do. With statements like "I will kill myself if you make me see a therapist" and "I will live with mom full time", he''s trying to call your bluff. Anybody that threatens suicide over a therapist appointment seems like somebody that definitely NEEDS to be in therapy. As for living with his mom, it sounds to me that he wants you to care where he ends up. Will things really be better for him if he lives with his mom full time? No, but that''s what he thinks. So maybe let him. I know it will be hard on your husband to not see him as much, but honestly it sounds like the son needs to work some stuff out. He''s throwing himself a pity party on top of what may just be normal teen agnst but could be actual depression.

My cousin was a child of divorce... his parents split up when he was 3. He had a good childhood, but his mom never quite got over the divorce and let him do whatever he wanted because "poor James shouldn''t have to suffer anymore". She even went so far as to hand over the child support payments to him in cash. So what''s a "poor little boy" with a wad full of cash and not much supervision to do? You got it... it started with pot, which nobody in the family was all that worried about, progressed to acid and speed, then throw in a little coke. He went to college, flunked out, tried to go to community college but never actually showed up. He got arrested for heroin possession at 20. Went to rehab instead of jail because his mom threw a lot of money at the problem. Went back to college, flunked out again. Almost died from an OD. Went back to rehab. Lived in a half-way house. Went back to college. Got married. Graduated. Freaked out about his future. Pulled it together with NA and AA and went to grad school. He graduates this spring with a Masters in Social Work. He wants to be a drug counselor. He''s definitely got the experience. Plus a bad liver, Hep C, and no short-term memory. And a wife that will not stand for his retreat.

My cousin''s parents didn''t pull together on the issue... his dad went the tough love route and refused to have him in his house. His mother did the opposite, refusing to listen to what he was doing. I''m just 11 months younger than James, we went to school together... when I told her what was going on, she stopped speaking to me for a year. Ignoring the problem obviously doesn''t make it go away. Now that James is clean and has spent probably $200k of his mother''s money on rehab and college and all the cars he wrecked along the way... and he still can''t support himself in a job at 30.... who does he respect most? Who is he closest to? His dad.

I don''t want to scare you, ID, but the manipulation and emotional blackmailing has got to stop. The 17 year old should not be running the household.
 
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