My teen keeps bringing pot into our home

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jrw95, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. jrw95

    jrw95 New Member

    We have told my 18 year old son repeatedly not to bring pot home and not to smoke it in our home. However, this has happened again. The problem is not as simple as making him leave. He is still in high school and does not have any place to go. I don't know why he continues to do this and the only thing I can decipher is that he is not doing it to be defiant. So why is he? I can't kick my boy out. I suppose this makes me an enabler like my husband says but I don't think throwing him out will help. In fact, I think it will do the opposite. I think it will seal his fate, a fate that will not be good. Anyone else have experience in this? Being a parent stinks.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    jrw05 welcome. I am sorry you are going through this with your son. You may want to post over in the Substance Abuse forum as well since those folks are well versed in their kids using drugs.

    Perhaps looking at making your son leave is a bit premature, that may indeed be an option if this behavior continues past High School and impacts his personality in a way which disrespects you, however, for now, my best advice to you is to seek guidance and support for YOU and your husband. Many folks here find solace, support and understanding at 12 step groups, narc anon, Family anonymous or any group which fits what you are dealing with. A therapist can be of much help when our kids go off the rails. It becomes important to be able to utilize a new set of parental tools which someone trained in this can help you to understand and be able to effectively use.

    Once our kids start making poor choices, and in particular becoming involved in substance abuse, our kids can disappear under the power of the drug and we are impotent in our ability to understand or help them. That is why often professional support becomes necessary for US. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    I believe the first line of defense is to set boundaries around the behaviors you do not want in your home. Those boundaries have to be clear and they have to have consequences. Bringing pot into your home should have consequences, it should not be tolerated. This is where going for help, like narc anon or a therapist is important because you will learn what boundaries to set and how to apply the consequences without enabling. Enabling is an unhealthy practice for not only you but for your son as well. There is a huge difference between enabling and loving kindness and it helps us to know what that is.

    For more support you can cut and paste this thread over in the SA forum where you will likely receive support from parents who've been in your shoes. It's a tough road you're on and you're right, at times being a parent does stink. I'm sorry you find yourself here, but I'm glad you found us. Keep posting, it does help.
  3. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    My suggestion is that in order for us to help you, it would be good if you could give us some more background. in my opinion teens experimenting with sex, drugs, and alcohol are typical teen behaviors. "Good" kids do this stuff too, and it doesn't mean they will ruin their lives. I was no difficult child as a teen/ young adult, but I was no choir boy either, and I turned out okay. How long has this been going on? Does he get good grades? Does he get in any other kind of trouble? Has his personality or behavior changed recently? Has he started hanging out with new friends who are a bunch of losers? Does he have plans for after high school? I think that to some extent, how you handle this situation depends in part on how serious of an issue this is. With that being said, even if your son is an exceptional kid otherwise, your husband is correct. Maybe someone with more wisdom than I have will come along and offer better suggestions, but unfortunately i can't think of any other tool in the arsenal of a parent of an adult child other than to cut off support, and sometimes this means putting them out on the street. You really can't ground him or spank him or revoke his TV priveleges at this age. He is 18 and you have no legal requirement to give him anything. You simply have to set rules and consequences, and like I said for an adult child, these consequences need to involve stopping support. For example, do you let him use your car? If so, tell him next time he breaks the rules, no more car, or if he has his own car and you pay for it, tell him you will stop paying for it or take it away from him, and unfortunately if he simply refuses to live by your rules, you will have to kick him out. Being an adult does not mean you can simply do what you want whenever you want. Society has rules, and society has consequences for breaking those rules. Think of it this way: You putting him out for not obeying your rules is no different than if he had his own apartment and the landlord evicted him for breaking the lease. This is the way the adult world works. If you don't set rules and consequences, and you don't follow through when the rules are broken, you ARE enabling your son. You are enabling him to be a perpetual teenager. You are enabling him to not grow up and accept responsiblity for his actions, and you are enabling him to manipulate and use you. Some of us on here have kids in their 30's and older, and we can tell you that enabling DOES NOT help. Enabling just prolongs the problems for decades and you end up with middle aged teenagers who will bleed you dry until you are dead. Your son will do what he wants to do, and now that he is 18 you really can't stop him. Even if he does have a drug problem, I don't think there is any way you can force him to get help. You can suggest it, you can make it a condition of your continued support of him, but ultimately you can't force him. The only thing you can do is cut him off and tell him that you will not support him living a lifestyle you don't approve of. It seems sad and certainly makes you feel powerless, but it is the cold hard truth. Try as you might, and no matter how often you think it will be different this time, it probably won't. You just can't force another person to do anything, especilly an adult. When our son was a teen, he agreed to go to a residential treatment program to get help rather than jail. So what did he do? He got kicked out a few weeks into the program and ended up in juvenile hall anyway. If they have a substance abuse problem and don't want to help themselves, any help you try to give them will be an absoulte waste.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Very well said Scott. Hard earned wisdom from your own experience.
  5. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    I also have to give some credit to my mother. While at the time there was certainly tension, with the wisdom of maturity and being a parent myself I realized that she was right about a lot of things a raised me well. When I was 16 I got my drivers license and an old beater car. The day I got my license my parents tell me that even though I have my license and my own car, I am still going to be taking the bus to school every day. Are you kidding me? Only losers with no car or losers with no friends who have cars take the school bus once they turn 16. I was already enough of a social outcast, and now I was sure I would be made fun of for still riding the bus at 16. My parents thought it absurd that I would be wasting money on gas and wear and tear on the car when the school bus would pick me up right at the end of my driveway and take me to and from school for free. Of course I told my parents that I would be made fun of, didn't matter to them. Every time I tried that one, I got the old "If you friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too?" line. I made a big stink and finally my mother said, fine, if you insist on driving to school instead of taking the bus, your father and I are not supporting your car. You are going to get a job and pay for all your own gas and other car related expenses. So I got a job and paid for most of my expenses, and since my parents saw that I was being responsible, they did assist financially a couple of times when I had some expensive car repairs.

    When I was 19 I came home for the summer after my freshman year in college. I was used to the freedom of coming and going as I pleased, and then all of a sudden found myself slapped with a midnight curfew when I came home. When I complained that I was an adult my mother said she didn't care if I was 30, as long as I was living under her roof I had to live by her rules. After breaking curfew a few times I was told that the next step was me being kicked out. I ended up moving out voluntarily. I got an off-campus apartment with some of my friends when I went back to school.

    More recently when my son was having an affar I was talking to my mother about it. She told me to stay well away and mind my own business. My mother told me that one of the hardest things for a parent to do is to not interfere in the lives of their adult children. She said that to this day there are things I do and say that make them cringe( I smoke cigars and I know that my mother absolutely hates it), but they simply grin and keep quiet about it because it is my life.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Scott, thank you for that post about your mother, a wise and kind woman, you are a lucky guy. I have been an enabler (to the MAX), hopefully recovered!! And now am raising a 17 year old in a world of entitled kids............sometimes the expectations are too much for me and I have trouble negotiating this territory yet again.........always boundaries to be drawn as teenagers are always pushing them and trying to find their independence........I am weary from it sometimes.........your post came at a good time for me to hear it, thanks!
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Are you tossing the pot when you find it? I did. Also threw out any cigarettes or paraphernalia I found. There was no way I was going to have that in my house. Not even the cigarettes.

    Interestingly, when she quit drugs, she also stopped smoking cigarettes too. I really do think a message has to go out that this is seriously not all right and that there will be consequences for not following the house rules.

    Not all kids experiment with drugs and serious drinking. Don't let that be an excuse. I never did it and I had plenty of reason to do it...mental illness, learning disabilities, bad parents, the works. Only one of my kids did drugs. Coming home drunk a few times as a teen or experimenting lightly with pot is in my opinion normal, but heavy use of either is not.

    How is your son doing in school? What does he plan to do after high school?
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I love Scott's mom.
    She sounds just like my mom.
    I would probably still have a curfew (I'm 53) if I went home (if I could...she died in 2010). She said it is just courteous to come home at a reasonable hour and not have people coming and going all night long with others in the house. She was right.
    My difficult child left over (supposedly) a 10 PM weeknight curfew. He'd been out of jail for three weeks and had begged to come home...said he couldn't get himself togehter in the living situations he had available. 10 PM is the weeknight curfew because I get up at 5:30 and his younger brothers get up at 6:15 for work and school. I didn't want to be up later worrying, or to be awakened by him coming and going. He packed up at 10:05 one night and left. Been gone ever since. Next time...I'll do the same thing. I can live here with rules or he can not live call.