Advice Sought - Estranged 16 yo SS smoking pot


Well-Known Member
We are estranged from my 16 year old stepson. Stepson initiated the estrangement. Lots of possible reasons why, but all of it speculation.

He avoids distressing/challenging situations. If he is confronted, he becomes violent. This led to him being hospitalized in an intensive outpatient program last spring. Prior to this he strangled his mother (my wife) and also went after his father (wife's ex) physically. He has a younger brother, my 14 year old stepson, whom he has terrorized physically in the past as well.

After his discharge from the program he stopped speaking to my wife and everyone connected to her, including his grandparents (only living grandparents) who absolutely dote on him and are heartbroken by his behavior. He refuses to come to the phone. He lives with his father who is a doormat and has no rules or expectations for either boy. Stepsons do what they want, when they want. We are already seeing a years long pattern of school failure repeat with the 16 year old.

Anyway, our only information about 16 y/o stepson comes from me spying on his online activities. I figured out his user name on a website he frequents and watch his account for anything that his mother might need to know about, take action on, etc. I have mixed feelings about this "spying" but also want my wife to be informed if he does anything truly dangerous or illegal. She is still his mother.

Up to this point there has been nothing to report, but just last week he stated on this website that he was "casually" smoking marijuana and had been doing so since the age of 13. The online conversation was about the price of a gram of pot. We don't think his father knows, but it's unlikely his father would take any action anyway.

We never suspected him of using drugs despite his horrid behavior.

I did tell my wife. She is still considering what, if anything, she will do with this information. He is not behaving any differently now than before he started smoking marijuana and if anything, marijuana should make him calmer, not angrier.

He suffers from anxiety but won't go to therapy or take prescribed medications for his condition. I am guessing it's self medication. His father has a pretty sordid family history of addiction as well.

I guess I want to know whether you think I am overstepping my bounds by spying on my stepson and whether or not a 16 year old smoking pot "casually" is a big enough deal to call out the cavalry. If my wife decides to tell her ex-husband, he will likely tell stepson how the information came about. He will then change his username on this website and we will not have any way to "track" his activities. This is the only avenue we have to monitor him. In any case, this is now my wife's decision, I told her what I learned, she is his mother and it's her decision to make.

In my heart I think I am overstepping my bounds and that I need to go to Al-Anon and detach from this situation. I am still not recovered from watching him wrap his meaty hands around my wife's throat. I need to deal with that I guess.

Thanks for listening.


Well-Known Member
It does put you in a difficult position.

One of my main concerns is the younger often does he spend time with you and his mom? Is he doing ok in school?

Was the police called when the son got physical? Was there any consequences?

Your wife should be able to contact the school an find out how he is doing. And talk to the school counselor. Does he have a 504 or IEP plan?

Even if you can't get your son to therapy, maybe you and she could have a few sessions to put yourselves on the same page? concern is for younger brother...our two adopted granddaughters are two years apart. And from 14 on, older sis was a pain to live with! It was emotionally hard on younger sis. Now she is out of our home and things are better. Younger child seems to be blossoming. Just going to the same high school was difficult for her.

We realized that all our energy was going to one child because she was the squeaky wheel...

Good luck. KSM


Well-Known Member
Honestly...I'd back off. For your own sake, this is stressful and pointless in the big picture. You know this have always shown common sense in answering otjers. Of course our own rodeo is harder to handle...

What would you tell somebody else in this situation?

The idea of AL Anon in my opinion is far better. Blessings gs and good luck.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
For now I'd do nothing with this information other than telling his mother. I would sit back and watch what he does and I would spy. Why not? You're doing it out of concern and lots of parents do this.

I agree that therapy for you and your wife would be good. Especially for her since her son is rejecting her. But based on his behavior, maybe that is a good thing. She needs tools for to deal with and accept the situation as it is right now. Even though it's not an ideal situation. A therapist can help with that.

Also concerned for younger son. And hope he has contact with mother and grandparents. They are individuals and should be treated as such.

It's good your wife has you! You sounds very supportive, caring and helpful.


Active Member
I agree with RN0441, you are a concerned step-parent, and there is nothing wrong with monitoring your wife's son on a public website.

I would stop short of reporting his pot use, it might make him all the more determined to use it at his age.


Well-Known Member
Thanks everyone for the info. After speaking to family and friends about the generalities of weed smoking, my wife has decided for the moment to sit on the information about stepson dabbling in marijuana.

The school emailed my wife yesterday to say stepson cut half a day of school. He is getting detention for a few days. These are the only consequences he ever receives - school, that is. My wife texted her ex-husband, with whom stepson lives, to ask his take on the situation and ex-husband said that he "guessed (stepson) thought he had permission to leave early." Nothing about punishment, consequences, even being upset with stepson for pulling such a stunt!

It's no wonder the kid has no moral compass, no direction in life, and no conscience.

We have no control over the lack of parenting and discipline at stepson's father's house and we need to learn to let it go.

We also have no control over stepson's estrangement from us and we need to let that go too.

14 year old stepson is doing very well, good grades and no issues. He is in regular contact with us and things are good there. We don't have any reason to believe older, troubled stepson is influencing the 14 year old in a negative way.