What do I do with almost 19 year old son--smoking pot

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by feelinghelplesss, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. feelinghelplesss

    feelinghelplesss New Member

    My son started his freshman year of college last fall. He turned 18 in July before going off to school (at a Big 10 university). Never had any drug/alcohol issues while in high school. Side note: his dad and I are divorced but have a very good relationship. I'll list the issues since started college:
    First semester issues that I'm aware of:
    1.) In Oct. 2010 he was arrested for possession of marijuana. (had court appointment. atty--charges were dropped and he paid court fees $60)
    2.) Later that fall he got an alcohol violation for have it in his room. ($700 fine)
    3.) He got a "D" in a class of "unintentional plagiarism." (That was the official ruling, don't really understand what that is.)

    Second semester:
    1.) A second alcohol violation in room resulted in a choice of another fine or moving out. His dad and I made him move out of the dorms and in with his dad who live just 3 miles from the campus.
    2.) Another D for failing to attend discussion groups for one of his classes. He didn't think it mattered if he went.
    3.) Two days after returning home for the summer, I find a joint hidden in his room along with paraphernalia (a cutter, papers, and most concerning - a paper towel tube stuffed with scented dryer sheets to mask the smell of smoking in the house.
    4.) Lost his summer job because he failed the drug test.

    AND two nights ago he was pulled over for "no reason". The cop made him blow in the tube and he register a zero for alcohol. The cop then suspected weed, said the car smelled of weed, said my son's eyes were red, his knees were shaking, all signs of being high. My son passed the sobriety test except for the shaky knees (of course he was scared out of his mind). The cop put my son in handcuffs, impounded MY car and took my son to the hospital for drug tests. We have to wait 2 months before we get the results and know if he'll be charged with anything. We do know that it will come back positive for weed. Son says he smoked the night before the incident, but not that night. True?? I don't know.
    Question? What the heck do I do with this kid? Clearly pot is having an unbelievably negative impact on his life, yet he says it's "fun" and he doesn't know if he'll stop. AFTER 2 ARRESTS--doesn't know if he'll stop!
    Here's the irony: he's a very respectful responsible kid at home. He cleans his room and makes his bed everyday. He's up by 9 or 10, showered. He's nice to me and everyone in the family. Other than these obvious issues, I would NEVER suspect anything was going on. So his dad and I are at an absolute loss of what to do. We are thinking we may make him take a year off of college...but then what could he do? He may not be able to get a job because he can't pass a drug test.
    Of course he's just like a lot of kids who say pot isn't as bad as alcohol and it should be legal. I don't know because I've never smoked pot. I really don't know what to say to that other than that's irrelevant because it IS illegal and "you've been arrested twice because of it!"
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Or any advice and where to seek help would be great too!
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    First welcome. I'm sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. Kids do not realize that pot is not the same drug it use to be. The TPC or is TCP level is over twice what it use to be-genetic engineering of course. It's an even riskier gateway drug than it use to be. He's had some pretty nasty natural consequences and my advise it to not, I mean not, save him from them in any way. This is hard to do. Fines? He has to figure it out. Job? He has to figure it out. Pay for college? He has to figure it out (Why would you pay for someone to barely pass or not pass at all? This is money lost). Something is going on in his head.

    Honestly, many of us went a little hog wild when we were off on our own the first time. Never comes out very well by the way. While I didn't flunk school, I did start trying alcohol when I was 19 (the legal age in Idaho at the time). This cost money I didn't have and several times I got myself pretty sick. Not good! I did manage to quit it. When you don't turn in assignments because you are sick all weekend, it costs you. In the end it was a short fling. I had noone to bail me out, so I had to figure out how to by eat and pay the electric bill a few times.

    However, given that this is a whole school year of "bad" events, maybe there is something up. Could you get him to a counselor? Has he ever had trouble with depression? Maybe even going to a 12 step meeting might help you and him. 12 step meetings for you would be great because they teach you to not enable. It is easy to fall into the "mama-bear" enabling thing. It often feels so cruel to us to turn off our instincts. He is 19 and you only have a little influence. Most of this influence is in you and his dads pocketbook. Use it. I would not give him a dime-he'll spend it on pot most likely anyway. I would not pay for another year of school unless he spends the summer getting on track and getting sober. The only thing I would do is find the 12 step meeting schedules in your area or a counselor your insurence covers.

    Our daughter is 16, but we have been through the ringer the last 2 years. Pot was just the beginning. However it was the red-flag that told us something was wrong-we had no idea how wrong until we got into it. Please try to get some help for him.

    Others will be along that have more experience with adult children and drugs. You might want to check out the parent emeratis section and post there as well. This forum has less traffic.

    Hugs to you and know that you are not alone. Please keep us posted.
  3. feelinghelplesss

    feelinghelplesss New Member

    Thanks exhaustedinutah, I actually just came home from meeting with a counselor. This is way out of my expertise in parenting. He said much of what you said. I am going to require my son, as a consequence of the possible DUI, to go meet with the counselor. Also, my son, though he has no job, has been working around the house and has earned $300. Well guess what? $160 has been spent on getting my car out of the impound lot.

    Now we wait (2 months) to hear about his drug test results. He will probably be charged with a DUI and his license revoked. He's on his own with it. It's really hard not to try to find him the best lawyer to get him off...and it's surreal to think that he now has two arrests on his record. Especially for a mom who was a squeaky clean teenager and has only had a few speeding tickets. This is just unbelievable.

    I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope she's getting back on the right track. I hope that by "catching" this relatively early, we can prevent it from getting any worse.

    I'm going to post on the other Parent Emeritus section, too.

    Thanks again!
  4. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I agree with exhaustedinutah in regards to paying for college. I would not pay for another semester with D's on his report card and the fact he keeps getting in trouble for partying. Tell him to prove himself for one year before you decide to send him away again. If you want to pay for a local college or Community college that is up to you. I wouldn't though. You could make him pay for any local classes up front and you can pay him back if he actually passes it. Remember if you are paying his way through college, he is using the money you give him and partying with it.

    School is out for the summer right? I would make him find a job other than getting paid for household chores, he should be doing household chores without being paid anyways.

    It's time to be tough till he decides his partying isn't worth the hassle it is creating for him. He has been good most of his life so far, so I am optimistic that with some tough love you can change his direction.

    May the force be with you.


    PS: This website is the best form of support when and if you find yourself struggling with your kids. I'm glad you found your way here, the parents here are really the most experienced group you can come across.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi Feelinghelpless,

    Glad you found us.... I think dealing with drug issues with your teen is one of the hardest things a parent has to go through. Our situation is similar but different in that my sons drug problems started at the age of 14 or so and is now 19. He was not squeakly clean as a teen and barely managed to graduate high school. However many of the issues are similar.

    Where we are at this point is to be really clear about our goals which i will share with you. 1) To not enable his drug use in any way 2) To let him know we love him and to support him to get on his feet when he is doing things to help himself.

    I have come to the point, after much heartache and a longer history and more serious drug abuse than pot, where i have realized that I cannot control my sons drug use. You think you can, you think if you put rules in place, if you cut off finances, if you don't pay for college or whatever that somehow you can control his drug use. Fact is you can't. it is his choice not yours. A choice you certainly don't agree with and don't want to support. But you can't make him stop smoking pot if he really wants to continue. I think this is hard to accept as a parent but is actually true of everything once they turn 18.

    So my suggestion is to sit down and really think of the ways you are willing to help him and the ways you are not. You mentioned he got a couple of Ds, how is he doing in his other classes? College has a lot of benefits so I am not sure i would stop paying for college but I might say he would have to pay for any classes he gets less than a C in. Or I might put a time limit such as we will pay for the next semester, however if you get lower than a C in any class that is it. I don't know what the right thing to do is but i would think about it.

    I would be very very careful about paying him cash or giving him any spending money. That money can be used for drugs and you don't want to support that. I would also be careful about letting him use the car or paying for gas etc.

    Basically you want him to face the consequences and feel the pain of his drug use. You can't create that but you don't want to protect him from it either. He may feel right now that those arrests don't matter because nothing really bad happens... that is true the first couple of times... but the hard lesson my son had to learn is things add up and eventually you end up in jail.... and that is no fun.

    I highly suggest that you find a good alanon group for parents. This has been hugely helpful for me. It is so comforting to meet other parents who have been through this, you get the dose of reality that it might not be an easy fix, and it is really about taking care of yourself.

    Good luck, this is hard stuff.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree: He can pay for college himself if he's going to screw up. Or he can transfer to a two or four year college near home and pay for that...it would be cheaper. I wouldn't pay for my child to do drugs and get bad grades away from home. JMO
  7. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    What Midwest Mom said. Parents paying for college is an earned privilege (if they can afford it and are willing to spend it), not a right. Once a kid starts to malfunction, make poor grades, party instead of work hard (granting a certain reasonable & conservative "allowance" for youthful high spirits, so long as grades are acceptable and he/she stays out of trouble), etc, he/she is on his own, in my opinion. Childhood ends at 18--after that, they get what they earn, just like the rest of us.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child is 20 years old. She turned 18 the summer before college too and was arrested in Oct of her freshman year for smoking pot and having alcohol in her dorm. She was eventually suspended from college. She went on the rest of the year to continue to smoke pot and drink beer constantly, got fired form her job, spent last summer in a resdiential treatment center, came out and relapsed, got kicked out of the house and spent the next two months living with a neighbor boy whose parents allowed them to smoke pot and drink in their house. She is now livingin a sober house and has been sober for over three months. We will not allow her to move back home.

    Pot is addictive. It also leads to other things for kids like our who have an addictive personality. When difficult child could not find or afford pot because she had no money, she would look for an pills she could to crush and snort. Thank goodness she got help before she turned to harder drugs.

    I agree with not paying for college right now and having him see a counselor. He is 18 and of course can refuse, but you don't have provide support to him either. What a shame your difficult child and mine and so many others here, gave up an opportunity to go to college and make something of themselves for what? A quick high? What a shame.

    I hope he finds help before it goes any further.

  9. jinkzmc

    jinkzmc New Member

  10. disgusted

    disgusted New Member

    I must have done something wrong. My son just finished his freshman year at a community college. He didnt get accepted into a state school but of course got into private schools which were 40K a year. I told him he couldnt go away until his grades were up to par and he became serious about eduaction. I am divorced and do not have the money to pay for a private college with no scholarship. My son has been smoking pot every night and hanging out with the "neigh borhood" kids who are still in high school, some are 2 years younger than him. He has a part time job at the local food store as a cashier @ minimum wage. For the last 2 summers he was a summer camp counselor at the YMCA. Well, this year they didnt take him back. He said he doesnt know why. About 2 months ago I told him to go down to the Y and ask why, he said he did and they said they had some cuts and they had some of the 'younger' kids. My son is 19 and there are kids who are 17-18 that will be working there this summer. It doesnt make sense. It doesnt seem to be bothering him that he cannot go back. Before he started working there, he would be there for summer camp while I worked from age 9 till he statred working. Since he has been driving which is only 18 months, he has received a speeding ticket (77 in a 55 zone), had a small accident, Just this week he got pulled over for going through a stop sign, and 2 red light camera tickets in 1 night; within 20 minutes of each other.1 was for a right turn on red--he didnt stop, and the other was for going through a red light. Both summons came with a link to view the citation, clearly both lights were red when he approached them. About 1 onnth ago his car engine seized up and was un repairable so I got him another car, a 10 year old volvo. He had the car 1 week and hit something that damaged the passenger side mirror, then this Thursday night he said he was in the gas station and hit the poles near the pumps and damaged the passenger rear door. I know he is driving high and wondering how long its gonna take him to really hurts someone. He has his own insurance, hes not on mine, he owns the car, its registered in his name. He doesnt listen to me anymore, tells me I'm crazy, tells me that I cannot hold him back anymore and that everything he is doing is normal for his age. He says all college kids smoke pot and just hang out. Hes not involved in sports or hobbies, they only smoke pot. I dont know what to do with him. I have tried to get him to go back to Karate or to a gym, or to volunteer his time for a good cause....hes not interested. He does have a curfew; 12:30 but he says he is the oldest of his friends and he has to come home the earliest. Whats wrong with these parents? His friends are allowed to stay out till 2-3 in the morning and you know there is nothing good happening at that hour. WHAT TO DO???? Very scared and worried for my son.
  11. Woriedmom

    Woriedmom Member

    Nancy, my 20 year old son (who started smoking pot around 16 years old he says ) doesn't think he has a problem. Says weed is not bad...it's like alcohol that's unfortunately legal. But he isn't even 21. But how did you get your daughter to recognize she had a problem? would it help if I asked my son to read the lists of signs of addiction? People say and it has to be true ...marijuana is a gateway drug to other worse drugs. I'm getting it through my thick skull that it doesn't matter the reasons , I too have been through hell and back emotionally. His real father went to prison for sexually abusing his sister, etc. etc. probably used weed as his escape but I could've done the same but I choose to pray and ask Jesus for strength. My son is now kicked out of house after his D.U.I arrest which hasn't yet gone to trial. I too am worried sick that he won't be able to keep whatever new job he gets if he can't pass the criminal background check. : (
    I will add that it was his step-dad that put him out...I know he had to go...but because I'm his mother...naturally want to save him ...coddle him. I see him as the little boy who loved Jesus. I don't know what happened. His choice of friends didn't help.

    Disgusted mom, my son says I'm crazy too. He also drives high, He absolutely deserves to have his license revoked ...I just don't want him put in jail. It's his 2nd arrest and hasn't even gone to trial for the first.

    Oops... I see the last post in this forum was years ago ...I will do a copy and paste and start a new one.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  12. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    feelinghelpless - You have received excellent advice already. I hope you find it helpful.

    When our now 20yo difficult child went off to college a couple of years ago, he had graduated high school with honors and never been in trouble for drug use, etc. But he immediately started drinking when he went to college, and he also flunked out after two semesters. He wanted the degree, but was not willing to do the work to earn it.

    Fast forward . . . and things have only become worse since then.

    Definitely do not pay for any more college at this point. Your son has a substance abuse problem. It is interfering with his ability to succeed in life, and hopefully he will seek help and make proper decisions to overcome it.

    Unfortunately, you cannot make your son's decisions for him. You can only choose not to further enable him to continue down this path. Before you "help" your son in any way, consider whether you are actually helping him continue to do what he has been doing, which is not the direction you want to take. Only when your son's problems become his own problems, might he become uncomfortable enough to do something about them. Remember that he is an adult and that he is responsible for his own choices now. It is hard to watch and have no control over it, I know, but that is exactly what needs to happen. The sooner you stop rescuing him, the sooner HE will be moved to do something about HIS problems.