Don't know what to do w my 19yr old pot head

So, my son is 19, works, goes to school but engages in cannabis frequently. I"m concerned because he seems to have a lot of anxiety and recently became very upset and blurted out, he didn't care how he was making us feel as his parents, he needed to go smoke to calm down. This was new, never has he done this. My fear is, he has been doing well in other aspects of his life and if I push for him to stop or begin taking things away, he may rebel and it will be a slippery slope all downhill. I hate this balancing act we have to do as parents in today's society. I'm open to suggestions, he has never mouthed off, been rude or disrespectful but I saw a completely different side of him yesterday and it scared the hell out of me.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I am actually from Chicago! Was just there for our son's wedding on Saturday. We now live on the Alabama coast.

If your son is doing this in your home then it is not okay. It is disrespectful and if you give him an inch he'll take a mile.

He is an adult and he is pushing boundaries in YOUR home.

It is very good that he works and goes to school!!

More will be along to chime in but I know that marijuana can make anxiety WORSE and can lead to other drugs. It did for my son but he was 15 when it all started. Before that he was our adorable boy.


Active Member
I have seen firsthand that weed can greatly increase anxiety if not cause it entirely. My son who just turned 20 used to smoke all the time. He did stop as he finally realized the trouble it was causing him. I did everything I could possible think of to get him to stop as he was only 15 when it started and also illegal in my state. I would not allow it in my home or anywhere near me. I agree with RN, if you give them an inch they will take a mile.
Starting Fresh, I agree with you, but my concern is his safety as well. As a parent in the inner city of Chicago, it is extremely scary- He is not allowed to smoke it around me, near me, in the house. He doesn't come home high or at least doesn't seem to be when he is around me. It was the sudden outburst 2nights ago that made me realize there is more to this and I'm petrified.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome! Your son is 19 so he's a legal adult and can choose to live his life the way he wants. HOWEVER, if he is living under your roof and you are paying for school, then you have a bargaining chip.
This is where you have to have very clear and defined boundaries. Bear in mind, that even with clear boundaries it's just not that easy and you have to be prepared for push back.
Example: You tell your son that smoking pot while living under roof is not acceptable - there has to be a consequence. What does that look like for you? If you tell him he can't live under your roof if he continues to smoke pot you need to be prepared for a variety of reactions.
You can use living under your roof and paying for school as leverage with consequences but you have to be prepared to follow through. If you tell him he can't live under your roof, you have to follow through with removing him from your home. If you set a boundary with a consequence and you do not follow through, you have set the table for manipulation to be served.
There are several good books about setting boundaries, you may want to check out.


Active Member
Chicago mom, Yes I am concerned too. Would your son be open to talking with a therapist? I don’t want to scare you but my son was a normal teen doing normal things even excelling in many ways and then he started smoking weed. That was the beginning of his downward spiral. I would 100% intervene and get him help. There could be something else going on or it could be the weed itself.


Well-Known Member
My fear is, he has been doing well in other aspects of his life and if I push for him to stop or begin taking things away, he may rebel and it will be a slippery slope all downhill.
I have had the same issues for the past 8 years.

I share your concern. When I have made strong boundaries over my space and repercussions into my life, my son has ended up homeless, in a downward spiral.

I have posted here over 4 years. The mothers here have urged me to take a more moderate view. They have advocated that I allow my son home (I have a second home where he can live, apart with me, and supervised by a friend.) Why? Because I suffer so when my son is on the street. And my son needs support. He does have psychological issues.

This is the thing: We can't cave completely. We do ourselves and them no favors to accept anything and everything. To betray our own values and to give up on what we need, in our environment and for our peace of mind, is wrong. There are always bottom lines in life. We do no favors to our adult children, to give up our own bottom line. But that said, it's not so easy to know your bottom line.

In my state marijuana is legal. But I still have a right to insist upon no drugs and controlled substances in my home or in property that I own. I have accepted I cannot control my son's marijuana use. But I can insist he is not visibly drugged and that he not bring drugs into a property that I own. (This has been impossible to enforce, up to now.)

I have requested that my son get a drug test, now that he is back. A real one. We are working on getting his state ID which is required. He really, really did not like this, being curbed and doubted. Good. Up until now, I have not asked for money for rent (he does not have it) and I am buying his food. Given all that we have gone through for years and years, I believe I need a baseline to see how bad is the situation we are dealing with. I have no legal right to this. But I am his mother. I need it. If he doesn't like it, he can leave again. That's his right. For now, that's my bottom line. It may change.

I guess that is what I am talking about. We have to find our bottom line. And it shifts. It's different for each of us, and different for each adult child.

To close, I share your worry. There is no easy path here. No right path. It is trial and error. They want to have autonomy and to believe that they control their own lives. (While they depend upon us.) It is inevitable that they will make mistakes. We will feel powerless and that we lack control. We will decide each of us how much we can take, and how close in we can be. There will never be a "right" thing to do at any given moment. We do the best we can. Until (and if) they find their bearings, and begin to make better choices.

Meanwhile we post here. In my experience, there is no other way. For you, it may be different. I hope so.

Welcome. Take care.


Well-Known Member
I can not influence my daughter to quit smoking pot. She never would speak to a therapist and we cant force kids over 18 to do anything. Nothing. My daughter has smoked for 20 years and to her it is a delightful healthy plant. She lives with her pot smoking husband and their behavior is very lazy. Nothing we can do unless they want to stop. I give it to God.