Your house/your rules -How to stop 17 yo from using pot in house?


I'm new here, and appreciate the advice and support I have already received just by reading other threads. One issue that comes up often, is the "your house, your rules" -- which I wholeheartedly believe in. But I am stymied by how to stop my 17yo ODD son from having/using/smoking/consuming weed in my house. (Background: son dropped out of High School Oct. of this year, senior year, got GED 2 weeks later. Works 25-30 hrs week. Hangs with pot smoking, drinking friends, follows no house rules, no curfew, stays out all night etc. Has shoplifted and been caught several times; courts confrontations with authority, police. Has had probably 10 negative interactions with police that have come to our attention, but only 3 arrests. Is on juvenile probation. Smart kid, no mental health issues per the limited professionals who have worked with him (he will not participate in counseling any more, will not participate in drug counselling) )

He smokes pot in our home, contrary to our stated, clear, consistent rules. We seemingly have no privileges left to take away. We don't let him drive; we don't give allowance or any money. He has room and board, place to shower and do laundry. 18 is age of majority where we live in northeast US. I can't kick him out (in fact, in my state I can't even kick him out when he is 18, I have to legally evict him...). We have communicated why we don't want drugs in our home (we have 4 younger kids, it is against our values, it is not legal here, we have jobs that include a clearance/requirement to follow the law aspect, and we simply do not want that environment in our home)

We have said we can't control what he does out in the world, but our boundary is that in our house he can't possess or use drugs or alcohol, or have drug paraphernalia. He defies us daily - smokes in the bathroom with shower running; vapes in room; keeps bongs in room, orders bong online and has sent to our home; has empty Rx weed bottles lined up on dresser; has pot in baggies, grinders etc. When I search his room and find things, I take them and tell him that I have confiscated and destroyed/flushed, bc as he knows he may not have it here. But he keeps doing it. I can't handcuff myself to him or lock him in a room.

***What can I do to make this stop and enforce my boundary of no drugs/no drug use in my home?*** I feel like I am being held hostage in my own life...


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome Percy. Glad you found us but sorry you needed to!

More will be along to offer advice but here's my two cents. We have been down this road as you can see by my signature.

Your son is most likely using more than weed. Most kids that go off the skids are not just smoking weed. What parents know is usually just the tip of the iceberg.

For our son it was a gateway drug. Husband and I both smoked it too when we were his age but we had a shut off switch for being in an altered state. Our son did not.

Bottom line is you need to protect your younger children from this behavior. I would not allow this in my home. Your son is in control of your home right now and that is not how it is supposed to be.

I would write up a contract for him to follow house rules and what is expected of him. You can find samples on line. You need to discuss it with him so it is very clear what you expect and have him sign it.

I would also start eviction proceedings. If he does not follow your rules, he will know that you are serious about what you will tolerate.

My son laughed at our contract and now he is 1300 miles away and doing much better. He just couldn't grow in our home.

I found this site and it gave me the strength to take our home and our life back. I just wish we had gotten tougher sooner. I don't know what we were afraid of!!


Thank you for your reply. I hear everything you are saying, agree re you get kids, agree he is in control of aspects of our family/home...but it comes down to HOW do I not tolerate it in practice? What can I actually do? I can write a contract but what leverage do I have? What is the "then" of "IF you do X, THEN..." I can't start eviction proceedings yet; he is only 17. Can't evict until 18. Still legally responsible for him until 18; still legally have to pick him up at police if they call; still have to go to court with him; still have to pay for lawyer for him (law, not choice).


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

I saw that he is 17 after I posted. When will he be 18?

I would tell him to get it all out of your home - drugs and paraphernalia - or you are calling the police. Then tell him you will call the police any time he smokes it or uses any drugs in your home. It is illegal. Yes it will be a pain for you but he should get the message. Then you must do it.

Also, why not take the door off his room. He doesn't have a right to privacy if he is doing things that are illegal and you do not approve of in YOUR home.

Does he have a TV in his room or anything else that he doesn't "need"? Remove it.

My son did not smoke weed in our home for long bouts of time (several months) but then would "binge" on whatever he could get his hands on.

You will read here that sometimes these kids just refuse to change. They think that we, as parents, have to put up with anything they dish out because we love them. That isn't true. You have to change if he won't. He has to know that you will not tolerate it.

Different things work for different kids and for some none of it works = my son.

We did all of this.


Well-Known Member
Hi and welcome, Percy!

I'm afraid that your son has left you no other choice but to call the police whenever you find drugs/paraphernalia in the house, or if/when he becomes violent or abusive.

You can no longer allow him to hold you and your younger children hostage in your own home.

Just remember, he is the one that has made the choice to get the police involved, by his refusal to follow the clearly stated rules, not you.

Hopefully, his involvement with the justice system as a juvenile will deter him from continuing to offend as an adult.

Stay with us and continue to read and post. It really helps.



Thank you for your replies and advice. Sons problems have escalated over 18-24 months. He has been involved in juvenile justice system (for shoplifting, 3 instances) and seemingly has learned nothing, is impervious to the impact of law enforcement/court/probation. Every interaction with law enforcement fuels his ODD. He isn't afraid of authority, isn't afraid of police. I have been contacted by police multiple times in the middle of the night because son is asserting his free speech rights to flip off/tell police to "shove" off. (Son is very smart, no LDs, stopped attending and dropped out of high school from advanced honors and AP classes, in any situation can cite the Supreme Court precedents supporting his oppositional position.)

We have removed the door in the past. It is currently on; I could remove it again.

All privileges that we provide our other children, and which we previously provided to this son, we have taken away as a consequence of his choices. He has room, board, shower, use of washer/dryer. The one thing remaining is cell service. We have not shut off his cell phone connection. (He bought phone, he is on our plan, he pays 25% of the monthly nut for service (we expect all our children to do this). I waver between whether that is a privilege for him, or a benefit for me, such that I can text him/him me re his whereabouts. He generally will respond to me, although not with specifics "at a friends" "getting something to eat". So I know he is alive, but not actually where he is. That does make me feel better.
--->What do folks here think - should I shut off phone service?

He has a computer, TV, tablet ---**all of which he has bought 100% with his own money**. I face an ethical conflict in taking them from him, since he bought them. And a previous counselor said that taking things he acquired with his own money would fuel his ODD tendencies and not be a behavior changing consequence.
--->What do folks here think about his?

Calling the police feels like the nuclear option for me. I don't know if there is any going back from that. My husband (who is my son's father, father of all 5 of my kids, married 20 years, good marriage, are essentially on same page as we deal with 17yo son) feels strongly we should not call the police unless we feel there is a safety issue. Having a bong in his room or smoking weed in the bathroom doesn't pose imminent danger. (If there is a safety issue I would call with no hesitation.)

My son is not violent or aggressive, has never had a physical conflict with anyone, not even his brothers. So I am torn. My husband's thinking is that if we call police, because of his ODD and the epic power struggle he is in with us (at least in his mind; and about everything) he will not perceive it as a consequence of his behavior, rather just something his "parents did to him"/"our fault". And he will learn nothing, And we will have to go to court a dozen times more, and pay for a lawyer again (in our state parent cannot waive minor child's right to counsel, and unless one is indigent, there is no legal aid so parents must pay for counsel.) And he will get out and return to our family even more defiant, oppositional and angry, having learned nothing.

Since he is on probation, he may well go to detention if I call police. (Not using drugs is condition of his probation, not breaking law is condition of probation, following house rules is a condition of probation.) I work in a field serving survivors of sexual assault, so I am highly attuned to the quite high risk of sexual assault in detention. I know that one of my own limits is that I do not want to be the impetus that sets in motion a row of dominos that leads to him being assaulted.

I am also concerned what message calling the police and him possibly ending up in detention sends to my other children, i.e. "Mommy sent Name to jail". I am not sure if that is a line I can cross. And thus am searching for other options before I go down that path.
---> What do folks think? I could really use some feedback on these competing factors regarding calling the police.

(FWIW I do know the police would respond, and they would arrest him if he is in possession of pot in his room in my house (but then would immediately hand him over to me bc minors arrested in my state cannot be held in custody except in limited circumstances, so all of this would play out in my kitchen...son would not be taken to police station; I know the specifics because I went to station and met with youth detective to discuss exactly this scenario, so that I would not call police only to have them come and say "hey lady, your kid is your problem" or not arrest him because this is a "parenting issue")


Well-Known Member
If he is on probation...does he get random drug testing? Could you talk to his probation officer about your concerns? Does he have a curfew from probation officer?



Roll With It
Why not go in and clean out his room, get rid of everything you don't want in there? Strip it to everything a foster kid can have and make him earn the right to have anything in that room that is above that? He can buy all the bongs he wants, but it is a waste of $$ if Mom keeps destroying them, and they are NOT cheap! Same for vape systems etc...

I would argue about the safety issue. If pot is not legal in your state, then it could become a CPS issue for custody of you and your husband keeping your other children for your son to have pot in your home. I have seen it come down to CPS removing children because parents could not or would not turn a child in for using pot. I am not saying this is right, but this is sometimes what happens. Plus is one of your children is drug tested for school sports or extra curricular involvement and shows positive for any level of marijuana, then has to say it is because their brother is 'allowed'/not stopped from smoking in the home, then CPS is going to get a call from the school (it will be mandatory) and you will be lucky if the cops are not called on you and your husband. Plus if your son is dealing (often if you use you deal to some extent), then the cops can claim the home is used for dealing and you can have property seized. It can become a HUGE mess. I have listened to cops justify doing this with very little justification, sometimes KNOWING it was a teen doing this and that mom and dad simply didn't know how to stop it.

Do any of your kids have asthma or allergies? If so, the pot smoking may be a safety issue for them, but not a violence type issue. Is that an issue that you can discuss with him? Maybe make him responsible for those doctor bills? Those really pile up and you may not have thought about those in relationship to the pot smoking. I am betting his job won't pay for too many of those bills. I also bet he won't be able to pay for a lot of rent, etc.... I would make him pay phone, cable, and other bills as much as possible. You don't have to give him access to ANY of those things. I would say no pot or else he forks over cold hard cash for any extra he wants including any fun food he wants.

These are just ideas. I hope they help. I do urge complete drug testing. If ANYTHING other than pot shows up, PLEASE get more help. It is more serious. If it were my kid and ANYTHING other than pot showed up, I would be calling the cops and reporting him. But I am a stickler and a don't put up with even pot because it isn't legal in my state. I would likely try it if it were legal, but it isn't so I won't. I am just that way.


KSM - he get's drug testing, but it isn't random. It is at appointments he knows about in advance. AND he fakes the drug tests. And gets away with it. (He has admitted as such; I have seen texts where he discusses it with friends.) It is laughable how they test the juveniles at the juv ct/probation offices by us. PO hands kid the cup, and sends kid down the hall to the bathroom open to the public. Kid pees in cup (or in the case of my kid, pours the urine from the bottle in his pocket into the cup) and brings it back to PO. Great system.

He does not have a curfew from PO. We as parents gave up on a curfew 6 months ago -- he would ignore every and any curfew we imposed. And, same as with the pot, we had no leverage bc we had run out of consequences. I have not approached PO as an ally in this; she is an officer of the court, not a therapist or social worker. So I can't envision myself talking to her as if we are on the "same team". Also, were I to do so, son would feel massively betrayed, and go into ODD overdrive if I were to "collude" with PO against him.


I agree.that y o u don't want to blow the whistle. But, you are allowing criminal behavior in your home. If u can ignore it, fine..but y o u know. How is he not being drug tested???? You see his road....he's gonna end up in prison if he continues, just the people he associates with.

Make him pay his own internet...change password...but y o u are risking your y o Unger children
I k ow your hurting, and angry....and scared.

You will know when to make the right decision.


Well-Known Member
I agree with Susiestar.

Given your circumstances, if he will not listen to you, what choice do you have except to call the cops? You say he is on probation. I would inform in writing the probation officer.
got GED 2 weeks later. Works 25-30 hrs week.
These are good things. Many of our kids do not get this far.
we have 4 younger kids, it is against our values, it is not legal here, we have jobs that include a clearance/requirement to follow the law
He has tied your hands.

On the one hand you have him:

his wanting to dominate you and your home, and meanwhile getting himself in worse trouble.

On the other hand you have:

Your 4 younger kids, the risk they will be removed from the home, or otherwise damaged. There is also the risk that he is doing more than you know, and putting the family and home at risk, in ways you could not dream of.

Your jobs; with that everything you own, including your home.

Your values and your ethics; which boils down to everything.

What choice do you have? I would call the police. I would in writing and verbally advise the probation officer.

I would begin eviction immediately. I wonder if you cannot eject him with 3 day notice because he is doing illegal things?

NOLO Press sells books about landlord/tenant law as well as many other legal topics. For some states they have state-specific books. There is a general 50 state book, which I think explains state by state, if there is not a state specific book for your state. I buy these used for just a few dollars plus postage, at or Try to get a fairly recent edition.

Take care. Keep posting. It helps.
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Well-Known Member
appointments he knows about in advance. AND he fakes the drug tests
You can insist upon drug tests. Walmart sells them online. Even 10 panel tests (10 classes of drugs) are cheap. Like $4 a piece, if you buy in bulk. I am going to administer these myself.

If he wants to stay with you, he needs to conform to your rules.

Take back your house!

Take back your power!

He needs you to do this! It is for him as much as anybody else.

Just because he is acting like a juvenile tyrant does not mean it is in his interests to do so, to be permitted to do so.


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

You are painting yourself in a corner here with enabling him to do this to you and your family in your home.

All we can do is offer advice or what we have tried/done with our own Difficult Child. This situation probably will not change and could get much worse as drug use usually does escalate. You want to protect him from himself but you can't.

The situation must really bother you or you would not have posted here. Usually we as parents are at our wits end when we start scouring the internet for answers.

It seems that you see no way out from this situation as everything you do to counter his behavior, you worry how your son will see it. I thought that too for some time as it seems many kids that age, especially boys, "party". Some are able to hold it all together and not piss off their parents. I don't think you are asking too much for him to respect your home and your rules. You are asking the bare minimum.

Maybe he can't stop smoking pot or doing whatever other drugs he may be doing. Maybe he doesn't want to stop. The final thing that husband and I did was see an addictions specialist and he gave us the advice to tell son he has two choices once we saw he would not follow our rules: Rehab or find a new place to live. He chose rehab but has had many setbacks with that too.

Good luck. This is hard stuff. I know. This was our youngest that gave us problems. Honestly if we had younger children seeing this behavior, my husband would have acted immediately. He would never have allowed anything in his home going on like that for younger children to be affected by.


Well-Known Member

It is so easy for me to see YOUR situation and see how YOU should act. And so difficult in my own. The hypocrisy of this, I see.

BUT. If I am understanding your situation, your son is putting everything at risk: your kids, your home, your financial solvency and security, your work, your ethics and morality; and especially any sense of power over and authority in your home and family.

Each of us here have been through something similar and for many of us it is ongoing.

In my own situation, there is not the issue of young children. My son is an adult. There is not the same legal constraints. But still, I am going nuts, half the time.

What your situation offers is CLARITY for somebody who is not immersed in it: because of the younger kids; because of your jobs that require disclosure and oversight, and if compromised, the huge losses you would suffer; the fact that your son is on probation. Each of these factors act to constrain you; mandating you to act in a proscribed way. That is what distance affords. The ability to see situations with clarity.

When one is in the midst of it, the thick of it--we cannot see. Read again your post, over and over and see if you find another option that will ease risk for the family.

I am glad you found us. Forgive me if my posting is too direct. Honestly. If I saw another way, I would say.


Susiestar, thanks for your thoughts. To state up front, I am not arguing against you, but rather responding to your points below -- so that if my thinking is flawed you and others can point it out!

I could strip his room bare. I have done it. And the next day or two and the weed and paraphernalia is back. It is part of an epic power struggle. He thinks we need to chill out abou this pot use, it doesn't affect us, it has no impact on us, it is his choice...I could go on and on. He wants to force us to bend our values in this regard, and concede that it is ok for him to use weed, including in our house. When I go through room I take away anything I find. I have smashed so many bongs in the past 6 months (his, his friends' that were left on our property/in our barn) that I have decided if I ever start a band it will be called Smashing Bongs (in fact, that should have been my username on this site! lol!)

The state we are in allows medical marijuana, and has decriminalized (but not legalized) all non-medical use. Legalization is likely in the near future. At preset, it is just an infraction ticket if one is caught in possession of <4oz. I hear your point re CPS, and believe that can happen, but it is highly doubtful things would play out that way in the state we are in (Due to my profession, I am knowledgeable about the law, enforcement and CPS practices, capacity, approach etc.). Very good point re other kid getting tested and saying "but Name uses it at home" as a "defense" to try to get them out of trouble. Our schools don't drug test, but I agree that that is not the only scenario where another kid could be in that situation. My other kids are not using pot, ever. My other two teens, 16 and 14 year olds are 180' from their older brother, are vehemently against weed, and have watched it destroy their brother. So while "you don't know what you don't know", I am as confident as a parent can be, with objective basis, that my other kids are not using pot, at present.

Your point about civil forfeiture aspect if he is dealing from my home is valid. (And one of the reasons I have taken on a double digit million dollar umbrella insurance policy. My son is my biggest liability exposure.) And while I don't think he is dealing on scale, it wouldn't shock me if he were occasionally "distributing" (for $ or not) to friends, or reselling a bit here and there.

We were drug testing for a while -- and he was faking them. And yes, someone was in the bathroom with him. Husband was standing next to him, but didn't see the little visine bottles with someone else's urine, or vitamin B and H20, that he was hiding in his hand and squirting into the cup. I feel stupid even admitting this could happen, but I figure this forum is for brutal honesty.

Other kids do not have asthma or allergies. I don't believe there is any second hand smoke impact of his vaping with windows open etc. But maybe I am wrong. I need to think more about what you said. But to your point about the medical bills - how would I actually make him pay them? He would just say no. Not in relation to pot impact, but He has missed counselor appointments for which we are charged, and I have no hope of recouping the $ from him. He would never willingly hand over money, and I can't see myself trying to physically take it from him/his wallet.

We don't have cable. We do provide cell service, which as I note above I query if I should stop. (But I think it benefits me, which is why I have not cut it off to date.) We also do provide wifi, bc it was so difficult to manage blocking him, but permitting the rest of the household, and he would always circumvent, that I felt like I had a second job as an IT person! But other than that nothing - no junk foods; no car; no use of car; no cable; no TV; no game system; no allowance or spending money; no cell phone (he bought the one he has); no new clothes or electronics etc.


Well-Known Member
I called the police on my fifteen year old daughter. She still smoked pot but not in our house. At 19 we made her leave and she quit. I don't think being soft does any good with these types of kids. Let them whine about you. So What? Whose the boss? Sounds like you're too afraid to take your power back. Your younger kids see your fear. This is not good for any of you.

Another note: although we thoight our daughter just smoked pot, we were wrong. It was a lot more, a Gateway drug for her too. She told us everything after she quit twelve years ago.


Thank you RNO44. You are right that I feel painted in a corner. And I do feel desperate, even despondent, and that is why I am on this forum. And I do feel like I am enabling him, but am having difficulty figuring out what to do and how to do it.


Thank you Copabanana. Yes, you nailed it, re: "If I am understanding your situation, your son is putting everything at risk: your kids, your home, your financial solvency and security, your work, your ethics and morality; and especially any sense of power over and authority in your home and family." And the last one is the most damaging to me, I think.



What do YOU think you should do?
(I am not sure if I am doing the reply to post correct or not - this is to respond to RN044's question)

I guess I need to either decide I can, and will, call the police (and possibly I need to get husband on board too, as I don't want this to come between us. He feels strongly against). and then do it.

OR, I need to accept that my limit (boundary?) is that I can't live with calling the police on him, and just suck it up for the 3 months until he turns 18, and then evict him. (Which I think will be brutal emotionally for husband and me, and other kids, but is at least a legal option post-18.)

I guess I was hoping that others might see options or new things to try that I don't see/haven't seen, but maybe there is nothing.