Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Help This Woman: What the Hell Do I Do Now?

I got this email last night and I have to say: OH CRAP. It's sort of my worst teenage nightmare - or one of them, anyway. When my little sister (at age 18) came to live with me and the Cap'n and our kiddos, she was doing way worse stuff than this. But she had decided to turn her ship around, so even though it was a hard transition - the change came from her. I suspect that's why it worked out.So really, I have no idea what to say.

This mom is asking us for our advice and suggestions. So let's her give our judgement-free thoughts - because we all know that sometimes good kids make crappy choices. Here's her email:

My 16 yr. old son, we'll call him "C" was caught before school with 2 girls and they had been smoking pot. They had pretty much finished smoking it by the time the officer got there, so they ended being charged with paraphernalia for the pipe. I have an attorney friend who's helping us to hopefully get him off with less trouble. He told me to let C know this is his ONE chance and not to expect to get help or get off easy if he ever gets caught again. Of course, my son was all "I understand," etc., but I've come to find out that he's been up to no good.

He's working at a grocery store part time and is usually scheduled till 9pm, but has called quite a few nights saying they asked him to work late.  Come to find out, only 1 or 2 of those nights did he actually stay late, but he claimed he was there and stayed an hour or two over.  I just knew something was up, so I went by this morning while he and the Wildman (his 10 yr. old ADHD, Asperger's brother) were at school.  The nice manager showed me when he clocked out last Friday and Saturday night and guess what?  He left at 9pm, he didn't stay over.  I guess he thinks hubby and I are too old and dumb to eventually figure it out when his paycheck doesn't show those hours. 

Then he's been going to a friend's house after school. Only thing is, on Facebook (glad they didn't have FB back when I was his age!), this kid and his mom's pages say he lives too far away to be going to the same school as C.  Did they both neglect to put the correct town on their pages?  Somehow I doubt it.

We already have our hands full with the Wildman's issues and now we have to worry where C is, what he's doing, etc.  What if he gets caught again?  What if he's driving and gets pulled over, or worse, gets in an accident? I am stressed out and on the verge of losing my schmidt!

Any ideas on how to get through to him about this and what it could do to his life and the lives of others? I don't want to wait till it's too late to do something!  Please help!



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012


  1. Having been the kid you described, there was serious underlying issues emotionally that I was not mature enough to understand or handle. I know now that is the reason why I did all the above mentioned and worse. My mom tried to get me to go to a shrink, which I entertained twice and all they wanted to do was put me on drugs to alter my behavior instead of getting to the root of the problem. It was a disaster.

    The worse thing I think you can do is try to force a change. I only started to change and correct my behavior after I moved out of my house and live with my grandparents and I had an aunt and uncle that lived a few houses from them. I looked up to my aunt a lot and trusted her completely. I was able to talk to a trusted adult (without fear of punishment) and was able to be completely open and honest and work through my issues. I would suggest finding someone that you can turn to in order to have your son speak to. Sounds like he needs a trusted positive influence that he can be completely honest with.

    I will gladly go into more detail of my whole ordeal and how I turned into a functional/responsible adult if you would like to hear it.

    1. I didn't get through all of the replies below but liked what this one said and wanted to tag onto it. Seems like there's more under the surface than just being disobedient and/or disrespectful. Erin's right; drugs aren't going to solve the real problem, they just muffle symptoms. But having him talk to someone he can trust to be objective and listen and make sense of whatever's going on (because we all know teenagers as a rule can't share stuff with their parents) might help with some understanding.

      On a side note, with a younger brother with two diagnoses, I gotta wonder how that's impacted the older brother's family life and whether that has some influence on what's going on with his own behavior. Hope the writer gets some answers through these replies!

    2. I completely agree w these two. There are likely many elements, but my instinct is that parental attention is being directed toward little bro and big bro doesn't know how to ask for attention in appropriate ways; he probably doesn't even realize he wants it!
      I was like this kid in some ways and it definitely stemmed from deep emotional pain that I finally realized and dealt w in my 20s. I got through it, many do.
      Keeping the lines for communication open is huge! Boundaries and consequences are important, but so is communication. If you just punish him he will fade away even more. Id let him choose his own consequence after asking him to communicate about the reasons beyond the choices he's making.

    3. Bless your heart! I do not have children of my own, but I am an Intentensive In-Home Counselor (think Super Nanny but without the cameras and it takes longer than a couple of weeks) and have worked with families in your situation. Your older son's behavior is no doubt symptomatic of underlying emotional and possibly psychiatric issues. In a situation like this, I would recommend several things. First off, it would be helpful for your son to see a counselor or therapist for his substance abuse and the underlying issues. It is often easier for children (especially teenagers) to talk to people who are not their parents and this will also help the parents learn what to do to help their child. A therapist is "safe" and they can talk about whatever they want without fear of judgment or punishment. It can be difficult to get teenagers in the door for counseling, but they tend to be much more compliant when cooperating with therapy is a condition of probation. Juvenille probation officers (at least, in my area) often know which therapists work the best with at-risk teens and might be able to give you some names. The guidancehouse counselor at histhe school can helpbe too. If you have insurance but counseling isn't covered and you need help paying for it, your community should have some sort of family assistance team that helps in these situations. Medicaid will cover it.
      Secondly, I would advise that you set up some rules and boundaries that are based on your family's needs and strengths. I would not suggest taking away his work just yet, but you need to sit down with him and explain that having a job is an important responsibility and he needs to show he can be trusted with it. If he calls to say he has to work late, talk to the supervisor to make sure he isn't lying. If he tells you he is going to be one place (i.e. work) and ends up somewhere else, then he loses that privilege (i.e. working to earn his own money) for a while because he is showing he is not responsible. I think he should be allowed to work (but only if he is responsible) because it is a positive environment for him - he gets out of the house, practices work ethic and feels good about earning money. As for driving, well he has lost that privilege because he is not showing safe behavior. It may cause a strain on you and your family, but my advice is that you (and any other family/friends that can help) drive him to the places he needs to be. When he starts showing that he is able to make safe choices (i.e. no longer using substances and telling his parents the truth about where he will be when out), you can revisit the driving situation. Sit down with him and his father to discuss all of this and lay down the rules/consequences when you are all calm so that there is no confusion of what is going to happen. Do not be afraid to hold your ground because in doing so you are showing him you love him enough to keep him safe. Open communication is vital.
      You can do this!

  2. Quite the conundrum!
    I remember when I was a teenager, acting like a dip$h!t, assuming my parents were ignorant hicks. They found out.
    I was given two choices.
    Choice number one involved moving out, cutting all ties with my immediate family, and being completely on my own. Although I was welcome to seek assistance from other family members, they were made fully aware of the situation and the fact that it was completely my decision. So while they were welcome to help me, it wasn't encouraged.

    Choice number two involved regular check ins, with reliable (parental approved) witnesses. My pay was deposited into their bank account, and was rationed out to me when necessary, the rest was set aside, to be released at a later date. The more I did to help out around the house, the more freedom I was given. But slip ups cost me money. Plain and simple.
    The fines weren't a surprise though, the terms were discussed and agreed upon.

    It was a strict system, but it worked for us.

  3. As little as it may help ... the US has more people incarcerated that any other country in the world; more than one million in jail or prison and millions more on parole, probation or otherwise ensnared in the criminal justice system. So many are involved that this phenomenon has been tagged by some as "the prison-industrial complex.

    What's more ... up to 50% of American males can expect to be arrested in their lifetime, so this young man's experience is hardly unusual and reflects a society hardened to its youth and very much inclined to judge and punish rather than learn and heal.

    Work hard to have his case dismissed, reduced, and be sure to make every effort to have his record expunged, to mitigate the impact on his future. To work for the decriminalization of marijuana, and to work towards treating addiction as a health care matter rather than as a crime is another option.

    The other behaviors, as stressful as they are, seem pretty typical and may appear far more risky than they are. It may be time for this youth to move out and pursue his own way. Some benefit from an early flight from the nest and the more effort that is made to control and protecLeng the more inclination to defy and take chances.

  4. Issue: lying about where he is.
    Non-issue: pot smoking

    Kids smoke pot. Lots of them. A ton more try it at least a few times. Most of us reading this post were those kids (and we turned out, anyway, back to your son)...De-escalate as much as possible by taking the panic and condemnation out of the "caught with two girls smoking pot." I mean, if it had been crack, I'd freak, but pot? If I were in your shoes, I'd focus on the honesty, the trust, the open communication...and let him know the pot thing is a far distant second of a concern .

    1. I agree completely. I would say "we understand that you are going to use substances that we don't approve of. But when you start lying to us about where you are, those substances are interfering with our relationship and we have to do something about that."

      My parents knew I was going to parties where there was alcohol. They always said "be safe, call us if you need a ride, don't get in a car where there's a drunk or high driver." I NEVER had to lie to them. Kids whose parents "tightened the noose" lied to them to evade them and their relationships disintegrated. You don't have to approve of the practice to demand honesty. If you start imposing all sorts of limitations, you end up in a power struggle.

      I would also have a chat with him about the difference between using drugs or alcohol on the weekends occasionally versus using during the week/on school nights. Again, you don't approve of the conduct on the weekends, but you dont' have to tolerate sh*t like that during the week, as it is interfering with school, etc.

      CAVEAT: I don't have teenagers. But I am a high school teacher, and the difference between "enabling" and "realistic expectations" (what I think the above is) and "authoritarian" is vast. I see enabled and bossed-around kids high all the time, kids with realistic expectations generally use on weekends and NEVER show up to class high. Enabled kids and kids whose parents are freaky disciplinarians show up high all the time!

    2. Yeah, I think these are words of wisdom. Also, he's expecting you to freak out about the pot - brushing it off may catch him off guard enough to make an impact where it counts.

    3. I also agree. I have a 21 year old and 17 year old... and was the youngest by a LOT of 5 older siblings. I have pretty much seen it all. The pot smooking thing... The least of your worries. And in my experienced opinion.. its the least harmful of all the Drugs they can be experimenting with.

      Lying.. now that is an issue you need to talk to him about. He doesnt feel he can trust you. My kids tell me EVERYTHING even stuff I NEVER Want to hear. I want to hear it though and I do not judge. I do ask them not to lie, and to share with me, and they in general they do. Communicate.

      Go ahead and give him a consequence for lying, open the gate to trusting you, and by that I MEAN IT.. Really let him tell you anything and DO NOT JUDGE only advise. Or you will lose your kid forever.

    4. Agree completely. When I was a teen, the pot smoking was not a biggie. I only did it with trusted friends and we never drove or put others in danger.

      As for the rest, it sounds like the child has been allowed too much freedom and not enough responsibility.
      Staying out late and not checking in should have consequences that are followed through, like loss of the vehicle, grounding and stripping of privileges.

      My parents just went through something similar with my 14 yo sister, this was pretty much her first disappearance act though. And as her (much) older sister, I explained to her that when she is overwhelmed and stressed, it is okay to go off the grid for a while, but she needs to let people know when she does so we don't worry about her so much. Because it is one thing to take a break from daily life for a while, and another to not let your family know that you are okay.

      I have no experience with teenage boys, but I know that they can be just as mature and responsible as teenage girls if given the chance and they should be held to the same standards as girls when it comes to social lives.

    5. I have a teenager and have has a similar experience. let go of your own issue with the drugs. ENFORCE the honesty. CHECK up and I mean everything until they earn the privilege to not be checked on ( I would have taken the car due to him not meeting expectations about school ie/trouble at school equals no car!). Its REALLY hard to do when you are already struggling with your other son but once you realize that having a teenager equals the same amount of time as a infant you will adjust!!! also just know that we are ALL struggling with our teenager!!! you are growing a person so its never going to be easy! hang in there as the saying goes " this too shall pass".

    6. I agree here. He should not smoke pot. He should not lie to you and you have a right to know where he will be. The best solution is to take the car and make him earn it back, but through honesty and time. Is it a drag to have to bring and pick him up at work, yes, but you will know where he is. Respect is a 2 way street and must be earned but driving is a privledge. Once things settle at school and he earns some privledges back you might see improvement. This is not a punishment, this is a consequence. Good actions have good consequences and poor actions have poor consquences. Hard to skip out and lie, when Mom (and Dad!)are driving you everywhere. My son is a good kid and we have a good relationship but I am not naive enough to think he tells me everything. Each time he leaves we say "We love you, make good choices".
      Teenagers are way harder than smaller children but no-one tells you that so as not to scare potential parents away! Stick with it, love prevails.

  5. This is what my mom (who has a deep love for teenagers, even the not making the best decisions kids, after 30 years of working at a high school) would tell you:

    1) The natural consequence of being caught somewhere you aren't supposed to be is to lose the privilege of going anywhere but school and work. That will probably make more work for you, because it also

    2) loses you the right to transport yourself anywhere. Mom/Dad will drop you at school and pick you up from work.

    3) privileges are earned and curfews are based on where you're going, who you are going to be with and what kind of person/decision maker you've been leading up to it.

    Good luck to you...

    1. Perfect advice! I know the parents have their hands full with the younger child. But, they need to remember their teenager still needs rules and boundaries just like the younger one. Best wishes for them!!!

    2. This is what I agree with...and I was a troubled teen. I would add to this after a few weeks give him opportunities to earn back the trust. My parents just labeled me bad and threw out the I lived up to their label.

      Also find a therapist together not just for him cause that makes him all the problem and I believe parents play a part. But sounds like some family dynamics might have slowley been formed with little brother that are hard on him. I had a sick sister and felt very left out....I would have given anything for my parents to want to work it out WITH me..not just tell me I was the problem.

      Also when start to let him drive himself get his schedule and have a talk with his boss that no extra hours are allowed :-) good luck

    3. I agree so completely. I'm not sure why mom is worried about him getting pulled over or getting in an accident - he wouldn't be driving himself ANYWHERE until he'd proven to me that I could trust him to be where he said and doing what he said. Explain the why of the punishment, and explain to him what it's going to take to earn the PRIVILEGE of driving back.

      As for smoking pot, I'm with the previous poster. Let it go. It's an experiment, and the more you react to it, the more fun it's going to be.

    4. Bang on advice.

      I'm a lawyer who spends a lot of time in the canadian youth courts. Pot is not an issue, it's the crime around pot that is. Once they get nailed for pot, they generally get put on probation for a while. It's the breached of probation that will get the little buggers sent to jail (or closed custody, as we call it up here!)

      Good luck and remember - talk to other parents. They will help support you as you crack down on him.


    5. I agree to an extent. He should have to earn the trust and respect of his parents back. Take away the keys and ground him for a reasonable period of time. DO have a talk about the pot usage. Yes it may just be experimental, but after 10 years of working in Corrections, I can tell you that it MUST be addressed as well. Mom doesn't need to freak out and start screaming, but son DOES need to know it's not acceptable. I cannot tell you the number of addicts who started out with pot and didn't think it was a big deal because whomever was the adult influence in his/her life didn't talk about it. So s/he thought it was okay to use and continued to experiment with other drugs because "it wasn't a big deal". -Malk

    6. I guess I wasn't clear... part 3 was about earning back privileges. Once the kid has shown that decision making has improved, privileges can be doled out on a case by case basis. It would probably take a bit of time to earn back that trust, and it can't be done unless opportunities to show trustworthiness are available.

  6. I don't have teenagers, but I know a women with a 22 year old son who she totally enables when it comes to pot.

    Personally I don't care for it, I tried it in high school and occasionally smoked in college. It isn't for me. But with that being said, you need to know where you stand. If you don't mind that he does it, but don't want him to be such an idiot and get caught, then talk to him about it. If you're adamant that he doesn't do it (he prob still will) then make a zero-tolerance policy and don't ask/don't tell.

    Be upfront about his work/hours and ask for an explanation, but don't accuse - coming from a place of concern and trust will go over much better. Maybe discuss curfew/freedoms/responsibilities. Let him know if he wants to have freedom after work, he need to be honest and earn it as long as he is underage and under your roof.

    Teens are going to lie to their parents, but you need to determine how involved you want to be and if the truth is really worth it to you, or if you'd rather pretend it doesn't happen as long as he doesn't get caught again. I am sure my parents pretended to not now a lot of things I did, but I was a good student and I wasn't getting caught so they just let me do it.

    Now with a toddler, I can't imagine how I am going to react in these situations in the future. Oh, and also maybe talk to the guidance counselor at school, explain your concern and see if he/she can offer advice and/or be a medium for a difficult conversation.

    Hope this can be helpful.

  7. I hesitate to say this, but maybe a stint in jail might be just the kick-up-the-pants he needs.

    He needs to face the consequences of his actions.
    Namely, he has broken the law. He will have to go to court, face the judge and live with the sentence.

    He has skipped school. I'm sure the school has consequences they would be more than happy to dish out. Like detention. Or extra homework. Or both.

    He has lied to you about where he is, and what he has been doing, and who he has been with. Time for some tough love, Mama. Ground his butt! And I mean right into the ground. He will be at home, unless he is at school or at work. And you will know he is at home or at school or at work, because you drove him there, and picked him up immediately afterwards.

    He is 16 years old. It is time for him to understand his responsibilities.

    1. I don't want to sound attack-y, but do you know what happens to kids in jail? Bad things. Scar you for life things. The kid smoked grass and lied about stuff. Nipping it in the bud (no pun intended) is the right thing to do, but jail time is a bit harsh, IMO. Grounding him till his next birthday is a much better idea. "...right into the ground." Like that!

    2. ^ anonymous has a point.
      my ex's family did the 'get him off easy' and bail him out of jail thing when he was a kid. they are still doing it now that he's 43. they should have put their foot down a LONG time ago and it all started with 'just a little pot' and lying.
      I'm not saying that your C is going to turn in to a jailbird, but if you start now making it easier for him not to face any consequences he won't take it seriously when he wants to do something worse.
      because of my experiences with a pot head ex, I have made it very clear to my kids that if they ever get caught with drugs or for breaking the law (short of murder) 1 time might be a mistake, every other time after is their choice and they can live with what comes with their choice.
      emphasize why you are making him face the consequences of his choices. let him know that you want him to learn now so he doesn't do something more that has a bigger potential for his death (because believe it or not, pot is a gateway. if he's willing to try that he's more likely to try harder and much more dangerous drugs)
      let him know that you love him and are scared of what his behavior may do to him.


    3. I totally agree with this comment. If he doesn't suffer consequences now, it's just going to be worse for him later in life.

    4. this is a first time offense, only for paraphernalia and not possession of drugs. that would be a harder charge. and even then he's only likely to get fined and have to serve community service and not serve jail time.
      but it would be good for him to face the music

    5. This is a good point. I just finished the teen years with my two step-daughters. Their mother wasn't in their lives, so I was it, and they call me mom. Anyway, #2 was struggling. We found a nearly full bottle of whiskey in her bedroom at one point and dealt with a huge amount of lying and for several years, things were the pits. How we responded to her was 180 degrees different from #1 because of her personality and motivations.

      My point is that without knowing what type of kid is underneath this 16 year old boy, it's hard to say what to do. He may very well need the full body shock of going in front of a judge and ending up in juvie. Some kids, boys especially, seem mentally divorced from their actions and potential consequences and they need a serious reality check to avoid becoming a 45 year old looser.

      My daughter is the other type. Her early childhood was very difficult until her and her sister came to live with my husband full time and as she is a sensitive person anyway, her misbehaviour was based in pain and self-doubt. We gave her toned-down shocks of reality (speaking to the cops in front of her about her friend who supplied the booze) but emphasizing that all actions have consequences. Some are bad and some are good. It would be up to her to decide if she wanted to have a relationship with us going forward, and if she wanted good consequences in her life or bad ones and the bad ones wouldn't necessarily come from us. I would have long talks with her when something bad would happen, try to find out where her head was at. The theme was that she expected us to hate her, and almost couldn't stop herself from acting crazy when she was feeling angry or bad. I pointed out to her that her mood swings were related to teenage hormones and when she felt like they were taking over, to recognize it and take action to avoid causing herself pain. Things got better when she was almost done grade 12.

      It sounds like your little Aspie may be taking your focus away from the 16 year old and he could be doing this, not really for attention, but because he has given up on getting it from you. Focus on reasonable consequences for what he has done, no car, only home and work, etc. but also try to give him more of your time, do things with him that show him he is still worth your focus. Your milage may vary.

  8. I am so sorry you are here. My really uninformed opinion - be very observant and use all IT tools available for keeping tabs - GPS on cell phone, calling and checking, making him call in. Yes he can get around anything you put in place but he will have to make an effort and OWN disobeying you. Tell him you love him and get it is difficult having a sibling with special needs however in life things happen and the sooner he learns to be responsible for his choices the better. Everyone has things in their life/family that are hard to cope with and it gets more intense; using his sib as a reason won't fly long term and will be replaced by sig other-offspring-in law-work fodder.

    I have known several "children" (not my own) who have had times like your son and all have gotten past it. The key was parents willing to deal with the crap of taking a stand. Short term really bad mass and drama; long term knowing said parents are not going to back down. It is hard but eventually over. In the other extreme I have seen parents not willing to take a stand (my dad and stepmother re step siblings) and the issues never resolve.

    Given all you are going through this isn't fair or easy but .... Using rules are rules and here are the responses you can expect might be the best option.
    Take care

    Last thought - is there a friend or family member who can be a "your person" for C? My younger than me cousins responded to an 'adult' (HA! As it was me. Silly kids) who was on their side and a safety net. We had rules about what I would and wouldn't tell their parents and they could confide in me and it helped .

  9. He's being 16. Let him know you're not an idiot and you realize he's lying, but don't attack him. Try your damndest to remember 16. No one was a perfect teenager, 'cept maybe the Duggar kids ;) I remember sneaking out and drinking underage, smoking pot, smoking cigarettes, skipping school... and I was WAY BETTER than most of the kids in school. I also remember not dreaming of telling my mother about it, knowing how she'd react. Try sharing some of those stories with him, about when you were younger. Try remembering them on your own and realize that some of those memories actually make you smile. Create an environment in which he feels safe to talk to you about this stuff without having you freak the hell out. You want to teach him how to make good decisions, how to think about consequences on his own, not how to "do what Mom and Dad say!". We all have to learn some of that stuff the hard way. This is a critical time where you can become the outsider, or get in there and be a confidant. If you want to know what's going on with him, and I know this is hard, try and treat him like all his decisions aren't naive... let him talk and then just try and make him think about what he's saying, without being judgmental. Be on his side. Be at peace with puberty lol. Good luck! I know your baby boy is probably a great person. Smoking pot... WHO CARES! Read up on it, it's really not a dangerous drug at all. Teach him why it's important to not get caught ;) haha

  10. I'm only just out of high school (okay 5 years) but I would be taking the keys away, I understand chaperoning him at 16 probably isn't appealing but it is worse than not knowing where he is. Talk to his manager some more, maybe get his hours? So you can add it to the 'family schedule' so everyone knows where everyone is? Thats what my best friends mum used to do for her. It worked wonderfully and she appreciates it now, though she didn't at the time.

    1. I totally agree. I always have a copy of my 17 yr olds work schedule. If he is working overtime his manager must be the one to call me. It has to be this way because of his lying about working the over time and about days that he was scheduled. Since we have done this things have been working out pretty good. My 17 yr old has bipolar, adhd and autism. Sometimes you have to give that teenager about as much space as a 5 yr old.

    2. Definitely take the keys away. My 18 year old cousin just died in a car accident, because some 16 year old boys mother let him drink at her house and "borrow" his grandmother's van to drive his friends around in without a full license. She was of the school of thought that they are going to do it anyway, so they might as well do it at home. My cousin was a passenger in the car he hit head on at more than double the speed limit. She paid for that woman's stupidity and her son's immaturity with her life and the girl driving will be paralyzed for the rest of hers. To top it off, the 16 year old boy died too.

  11. I have no advice, but that was my husband as a teenager. And with joining the MArine Corps, and eventually finding a woman who would not tolerate drug use or lying, he cleaned up his act. Good luck Mama, I hope you get some good advice ~Larissa

  12. Very honestly, I went through this with my son. I went to the school & asked them for their help. I basically ratted my kid out. I had the school send him out for random drug testing. He got suspended & had to do mandatory drug counseling program before he would be re-admitted to school. Was he pissed off at me, yup. Did he "hate" me for months, yup - but I'm not his buddy all the time. I'm his mom & it's my job to make sure he lives to be a successful young man. It was the best thing I ever did for him. I stalked him, I checked his phones, I bugged his room with baby monitors - but ya know what, I stayed a step ahead of him. I was able to thwart a whole lot more crap & he's not only graduated from high school - but he's a strong successful man, who I am incredibly proud of! Just my experience & my 2 cents. Hope it's helpful :)

    1. I have to say, I do like the 'asking the school for help' idea. Depending on the counselors at his school, they may be the best (free) source of help for you. Most of them are way too under utilized because they only help with scheduling when they have counseling backgrounds.

  13. Wow too much stress for momma! If he's not responsible enough to be honest, maybe he's not responsible to drive the car? I don't know sounds like he needs to lose some priviledges. That's what I'd do to a younger kid who lied and broke the rules.

  14. Start by taking his transportation away. If he's making irresponsible choices, then you drive him to/from school and work. Yeah, it might be a huge inconvenience in the short term, but in the long term if he continues to screw up that will be a much bigger inconvenience. He can earn it back when he's proved he's trustworthy - and make sure he knows it takes a lot longer to gain trust than to lose it.

  15. Raising teens is so hard, because you want to scream at them, but it's counterproductive. And you can't just pick them up, like with a toddler, and put them where you want them. But you CAN start driving him to and from work, and expect him home when he isn't at school or work. You CAN tie responsible behavior -- not lying about where he is, not smoking pot -- to earning back privileges. You need to let him know, in a calm, firm manner, that you know what he's doing, that you won't tolerate it, that this behavior will negatively impact the rest of his life, and you won't support it. Then follow through. Ugly, I know, especially if you've gotten used to not having to take him places. But he needs to know you love him and will do whatever it takes to help him succeed, even if it means punishing the schmidt out of him right now :)

    Parenting teens is not for the faint of heart -- good luck!

  16. I know it's hard & contradictory to what you'd want to do as a parent, but I'd let him get punished fully for the drug paraphernalia instead of having your friend help him. Dealing with big consequences now is going to be better in the long run than when he's older, & maybe it will inspire change. I don't have other concrete advice, but remember - you're the parent. If you have to drive him to/from work until you can trust him to be where he says, do that. Inconvenient, I know, but probably not ideal for him either. And he'll probably miss out on stuff bc you're too busy to drive him. I'm sorry you're having to deal w this!

  17. My husband used to love to listen to Dr. Laura Sleschinger (sp?), even though I thought she was full of crap. However, she did have one solution for a problem teen that I think was good. It requires a bit of extra work on the part of the parents, but hopefully it will pay off down the road. She suggested that parents remove the teen's bedroom door, and all the electronics and gizmos and treasured objects (so no Facebook, no texting). The kids gets clothes. The parent drives the teen where he needs to be, and picks him up and brings him home. When he starts to show signs of understanding the new rules they can introduce privileges back into his life. They need to jump all over it while he's still stinging from this pot issue and let him feel the full fury. Not the screaming fury, but the "you aren't doing anything fun for a long time" fury. He is still living in their house, so they need to give him some hard and fast rules. He also needs to pay for his legal bills. My brother got into some legal trouble in his early 20s, and sat in jail four days before he summoned the courage to call my parents. He knew they would tell him "tough titties." They did help him out, but he paid back every cent they spent. He turned out ok, but he was the prime example of good parents still producing a pain in the ass kid.

  18. I in no way am qualified. I do not have a teen, but have had many a troubled cousin/relative. I myself was much like your son when I was growing up but I never got caught. I would say if it is an on going issue, than you need to change his friends. Friends are a large factor in what you do with your spare time. While you cannot force him to be friends with say the chess club, you can definitely make sure he is not around the ones he got in trouble with. No car privledges. Take him to and from school/work. Until he proves he can be trusted again, stick right by his side!

  19. well, I would think you would start by taking away the car. You can't get in as much trouble if you can't go anywhere.

  20. I probably would reverse to "pre-teen" stage parenting. The lying would truly bite me, and in my house lying is a capital offense. So crack your knuckles and show the young grasshopper how much he truly has to learn.

    This may be a big hassle to everyone, but maybe you need to show him just how much worse his life would be. Take away everything you can, drive him to and from school and work. No hanging out with friends, no cellphone, and as someone suggested, make him pay his legal bills. Maybe he'll learn to be responsible.

    To be honest, I fear the day my twins get to that stage.

  21. Question I'd ask myself first: Why does he feel he needs to lie to stay after work and to go to friend's house? Get the scoop on that and you're half way through the trouble. If he won't divulge that info he's prolly up to no good and you really have to decide what things you are gonna fight. Def the drug my home it's a major no-no. You'll get shipped out for that one. I'll turn on my kids so fast for drug use. But what else is he up to? Give him so rope to hang may all turn out okay.

  22. You need to pull up your big parent pants and have a Come to Jesus with your son. I understand you must have a lot going on with your other child. This is likely a reaction to the disparity of attention he receives. Not that its your fault, life isn't fair. He needs to learn that lesson quickly.

    What to do? Take away his car. Take away his job. At his age, these are privileges, not requirements. Dump your lawyer friend's advice and let him take responsibility for what he has admitted to doing. What lesson are you really teaching him? Dishonesty, failure to assume consequences for poor choices, taking the easy way out.... these are not good life lessons.

    At the end of the day we all want to protect our kids. But sometimes our protections become enabling resources. Kick him in the pants now while he is still under your room. Parents need to be loving but FIRM with their kids. There needs to be consequences. If he wants to live like Hell, make his life a living hell. After all, that's what the real world will hand him.

  23. I guess I was once "this kid" that lied about things because I didn't feel I could tell my parents where I really was or what I was really up to. I don't feel the biggest problem here is that he's smoking illegal narcotics, especially something as small as marijuana which is decriminalized in some places, I feel the problem here is he feels he can't tell you what is really going on in his life because he might feel as though you will judge him harshly for the actions he's taken. And if he is confronted in an accusing and angry way, it will only serve to justify, in his mind, why he lied to you in the first place. I think you and/or your husband need to go with him and find some place that is a semi-private type of setting in order to bring to light that you know about him not telling you the whole truth and that as his parents you will always love him regardless. Let him know that he can always tell you everything that's happening in his life and you will try not to judge what he's done and what he wants to do.

  24. Time to put everything on lockdown. My now 18 year old was arrested at 16, and and imagine his shock when he realized that I was willing to let him stay overnight in jail. He barely made it out of the court case by the skin of his teeth. I took away everything from his phone, computer time, and going out and he worked hard to get each thing back. It took him 6 months to get everything back and rebuild trust. I am so proud of him, he has come so far. He works, he does track, has a great girlfriend and is focused on going to college. :)Hopefully this will continue. (knock on wood)
    However, I do want to say that before 16 he was a lot like your son in his behaviors, but there was an underlying issue of massive proportions that no one was aware of. The details are too sensitive to get into here, but sufficed to say that us getting him into counseling is probably what saved his life. I am not being dramatic here but truthful. "D" hang in there, things will level out soon. Your in my thoughts, best of luck to you.

  25. This is normal teenage stuff. Not ALL teenagers do it, of course, but it's not extreme behavior. Many of the responses you've gotten are very reasonable -- making an issue of honesty, trust, responsibility and having clear-cut consequences in place for FUTURE transgressions.

    As far as what's already happened, I like the idea that his paychecks will have to go toward legal bills. And if he has enough spare cash to spend on pot or whatever, then he has enough to give to charity and put into savings for when he's on his own. The lying about staying out after work is probably nothing more than his way of spreading his wings a little. It makes him feel more grown up to be out late without anyone tracking him down or telling him where to be. Maybe this is a good time to talk about what a reasonable curfew would be.

    Overall, I think instead of snooping and bugging his room with baby monitors (if my parents did that to me as a teenager, I would have felt so alienated and hurt, not to mention pissed off), I think you should listen to his explanations for his behavior, calmly reply with your opinion of that behavior, and then start the conversation about new rules that reflect his more grown-up status (he has a job and a car -- very grown up things), while also incorporating some of the household responsibilities adults have (make sure he's doing his own laundry, cooking dinner for the family once a week, mowing the lawn, keeping a budget of his bills and income, paying for his own cell phone and sharing costs of internet service, etc.). He is still a minor, still lives under your roof and your rules, but this might be a good opportunity to help him learn what it means to be an adult -- that it does mean a little more freedom, but it also means more responsibility. He WILL be on his own soon, and it's your job to prepare him for that, not simply protect him or punish him.

    And in the end, if he continues to make poor choices, just keep loving him -- he is his own person, and he has to make his own path.

  26. Inexpensive drug test kits that we bought online were a lifesaver to us when both my teenage stepsons decided they knew better than us. They had to submit to a weekly drug test in order to earn their car keys. If a test came up positive, no keys until they could produce a clean test and all the bells and whistles on their phones got turned off. Cell phones also had to be left with us while they were home. Ostensibly the phones were just for us to be able to have contact with them in case of an emergency, there was no reason they needed to have them for recreation.

    But don't get me wrong, none of those things "solved" the problem. And there were lots of other things we tried. Mostly, my two just had to grow out of it. Good luck and hang in there!

  27. I think the lying for me is the worst thing he's doing. I too have a 16 yo son, who just got his license in January, just got his first job a couple weeks ago. I think driving is the first worst thing that you can take away. It is a privilege and NOT a right to drive. So I agree, he is grounded. He goes to school, either on the bus or you take him, if you can, and he goes to work, preferably you take him and pick him up. It is a TOTAL PITA for you but you are NOT his friend. You are his mother. And as Bill Cosby said, I brought you into this world and I WILL TAKE YOU OUT! I've tried to make it clear to my kid(s) that you've got nothing to fear from the police. You need to fear me because I will make your life hell. It's my job as your momma. Now, we live in rural Michigan, so I would find a horse stable, cow farm, pig farm, whatever, and he would learn how to shovel $hit. For free. Early in the morning. On Saturdays. I would attempt to keep him so busy he doesn't have time to smoke pot. But I would also try to have fun.

    Also, I too have a SN son, epilepsy, developmentally delayed - in a nutshell, he takes 70% of our parenting time if not more. Your 16 yo may be feeling... left out if Wildman is taking up a lot of your time. I think your 16 yo needs a lot of one-on-one time with you and with his dad. I REALLY like my 16 yo. He's SO funny and SO smart. I think you need to reconnect with your 16 yo. Ya know, there is nothing like a trip in a car, a long trip, just you and he, to enable conversations. My understanding is this is because the parent and child aren't facing each other so it's easier for the child to open up, ask questions, etc.

    Wow. I wrote a book. I don't think parenting a teenager takes MORE parenting, it just takes different parenting. He is *almost* an adult, agewise, even if he isn't maturity wise. THAT also needs to be pointed out. Consequences at 16 are way different than 14 or 15.

  28. What everyone says about restricting privileges and--sorry--Mom or Dad being committed to taking him to and from wherever it is he must go (school/work). The other thing to take very seriously is the impact of having a sibling with special needs has on this kid. I am not BLAMING the parents or the sibling and I am not EXCUSING the 16 year old but I have seen this kind of thing frequently. It does mean extra work for the parents but maybe even just having time in the car to and from work without the sibling may help the 16 year old feel like he's getting more of the attention he needs.

  29. Well, he's lying to you, which deserves punishment, but I imagine he's not going to see anything clearly if he knows you figured out the lies by snooping. I think it's pretty black and white. You're in trouble with the law (which took no snooping to find out about) so you've lost your driving and freedom priviledges. They can be earned back (and perhaps leave it to him to figure out how- I always hated when I received a list of jobs to earn back my freedoms, and probably would have started pitching in on my own if I went without priviledges for long enough). Treat him like an adult. Make his paychecks go towards legal fees. Tell him calmly and informatively what the repercussions will be should he continue to break the rules. Don't make him miserable, he will just shut down and blame you (that's what I did), but treat him like an adult to learn that your actions have consequences. In the meantime, maybe schedule a family day to go volunteer somewhere that relates to his crimes (or not), but he just might have some fun and connect to something larger in the community that might be what he needs to put things into perspective.
    At the end of the day, this is pretty normal teen behavior of pushing the boundaries and experimenting, but unfortunately it involves the law. You will all come out on the other side of this and hopefully laugh about it some day! Good luck to you!

  30. If smoking the weed is the main concern there are "do it at home" drug tests that can be purchased and used when appropriate.

    talking to his manager and having the manager show you clocked in hours tastes like something illegal to me, however good the original intent was. I would encourage the writer to not do that again.

    if taking the car away isn't possible (and if the writer is the one that's paying gas, payments and insurance on it I would suggest that it should be) mandate that the kid answer his cell phone and be no further away than 15 minutes from home.

    come up with a bottom line...if you do drugs, get suspended from school, etc you're going to go live with smelly aunt Beth and her karate instructor husband in small town Montana or something. there's always military school. take him to a prison and take the tour down bad guy lane, scare the hell out of him. show him how little money there is when the knucklehead chooses to knock up his girlfriend, move out on his own and tries to afford food and bills while he's sacking groceries.

    he is having trouble visualizing consequences right now. yesterday if he fell down and ripped his pants moms would buy him a new pair after a lecture. if he gets high and blows his car through a minivan passanger door he's going to prison, and they like fresh little boys there.

  31. honestly....i would start by NOT "getting him off with less trouble" - paying the full consequence for his actions will be much more impactful than a light slap.

  32. I have a brother (age 32) who started smoking pot when he was 14 and just this past Feb he celebrated his 2 year clean and sober anniversary date. This is not something to take lightly. My parents are addiction counselors, a career change they made after finding out that there aren't a lot of resources available for early intervention with teens. I don't know where you live or what your resources are but if he has already developed the lying and deception skills, anything but counseling or jail is going to be a waste of time. The road you are on is H.A.R.D. It hurts and there is very real pain for a mother to watch her child wreck his life. I've watched it and it almost destroyed my family.
    I will tell you that after 16 years of living with this, my family has come out stronger and more united than any of us thought possible.
    There is no quick fix here. There is nothing you can do that is going to change this in a week or a month or 6 months but I will tell you that there is hope for your son and your family.
    I will email RFML some resources that I have that may help put you in touch with some first steps. This type of deception isn't a "stage he's going through". These are real signs of trouble ahead and too many parents don't want to deal with the red flags and they end up with more severe drug issues or criminal issues. Take the steps NOW, not later.
    My brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6, when ADHD was first being diagnosed and he told me years later that pot (and eventually other drugs) gave him the same calming feeling as the medicine without the side effects. There is help available and now is the time to take advantage of it before he goes further down the rabbit hole. Most importantly, let him know how much you love him. Let the counselors do their job. You aren't his counselor, you are his mom. Love him and make sure he knows you love him but know that sometimes making sure he knows you love him means being hard on him. When my brother was 22, my dad packed my brother's bag and took him to a homeless shelter and dropped him off. He told him, "I love you but I can't allow you to live with us because you don't respect us. You steal, you lie and you hurt your mother and your sisters. I can't let you hurt them and I can't allow you to continue this under my roof. If you want to live this life, you will live somewhere else." My dad said he would not allow him to steal from us or endanger our lives with his drug use or the dangerous choices he was making and that he would never sleep another night under my father's roof and he hasn't. My dad loves him but because he loves him, he can't enable hiim to destroy his own life and the lives of his wife and other children. Find a good counselor and get the help your family needs.
    I don't know your background but I will be thinking of you and your son and your family and praying for you all.

  33. I think most 16 yr. olds are going to test their bounderies to see what they can get away with. So far the things you describe don't sound like he's on his way to becoming a criminal. You're on to his game now and he knows it. Make it clear that you have lost complete trust in him and he will have to work extra hard to earn it back. You are now his worst nightmare, because you will be checking up on everything. I had a similar rough time when I was 16. I got caught for everything and even was suspended from school for drinking at a school function. The worst part was getting the "we can't trust you" speech from my mom. After that it was call me when you get there, call me before you leave, waiting for me when I got home and interrogating me and my friends, smelling my breath, checking my eyes. It got to the point that I dreaded my friends asking me to go to parties that I just quit trying to get around my mom. I straightened up fast. I decided to wait until college to spread my wings and hopefully I was a little more mature by then. Anyway like many before have said, I seemed to turn out alright. Stay-at-home mom with four kids. Just starting to get into this teen stuff with some of them. My 16 yr. old is an Aspie, so not dealing with the typical teen issues with her, but my 13 yr. old daughter is going to be my challenge.

  34. I used to teach high school & teenagers are a different species, lol. Teenagers do stupid stuff bc a) they think they can get away with it or b) they want attention even if it is negative attention. Sounds like he's doing both. Time for some "commando parenting" which means YOU drop him off at work/school and pick him up. And he only goes those two places for the next month. That way he knows you guys are serious about his unacceptable behavior. Yes it's going to be a giant PITA but it will be worth it in the long run.
    Also I would let him take the rap for that possession charge just to make a point. That's just my opinion YMMV. Good luck & stay strong!!!

  35. I have two teens. One is my challenge, and one is moody. My challenge one has given me more gray hairs than I could care to describe. My other- well- she rides the drama llama every day to school.

    First and foremost, you take him everywhere. No car, no friends, no computer, no life. You drive him to work and back. I'm almost at a point saying no job for now- because you don't know who he is getting the pot from- you know where he is getting the money to buy it-. You take away the computer and disable internet and texting on phone.- If you can, put keylogging software on all other electronics in the house. (if he can't get onto his computer, he may try others in the house).

    Scour the internet- nevermind Facebook, TWITTER is where most teens tend to update. Facebook is what parents can find, they don't think we are smart enough to check Twitter. But we are! I find more info on Twitter- and it is fun to watch my drama llama squirm!

    Take away everything in room. Just a bed and ONE change of clothes per day. Justification: You want to fool around and blow your one chance-- guess what-- it will be like JAIL. You can either have JAIL here with mom and dad or JAIL with other people- take your pick. If and only IF he doesn't blow it, he can get things back ONE at a time.

    I've done MOM and Dad Jail for my challenge child. It was a pain in the ever loving ass, but it was worth it. Mom and Dad Jail sucks but it is an atitude changer. One change of clothes and bed. That is what you get in jail.

    Some will say, it's only pot-- it's natural, it's organic, etc. The crap dealers put into pot is just scary. Don't get me started on WET-- that is very dangerous.

    Also tell him that he may not be able to keep job due to drug charges. A lot of places do drug screenings pre and Post employment. You can t get another job if you have a criminal record. You can't get student loans if you have a criminal record. Some colleges have the criminal record on thier application. If the work doesn't do drug screen, make the child do his own drug screen at home. Walgreens sells home drug testing kits. Make it random days too.

    Step up and be the kick ass parent you need to be. You can either have your child or let the dealers get him. I've seen what the dealers do to kids and if you step up and be the bad ass parent you need to be- the streets, dealers or cops won't get him. Trust me = I see previously good kids selling themselves on street corners and selling drugs behind dumpsters. I speak to parents and they say things like "It was only pot, or it was only shoplifting" ONLY this or that will change thier lives forever.

    A new sheriff is in town-- time to kick the crap to the curb!

  36. Let him face whatever legal consequences are for the paraphernalia charge. It will teach him a lesson while he is still a juvenile and the effect on the rest of his life is less severe.
    For me, lying is the big issue. When you lie, you lose people's trust and have to work to regain it.
    Take away independent transportation. You/Dad or a trusted frient (yours, not his) takes him where he needs to go and picks him up at the time you specify.
    Grounded other than school/work/school activities. If he doesn't have a school activity, get him in some sort of youth organization, volunteering, whatever. He sounds like he needs a big dose of doing something for others. It will also keep him busy so there isn't as much time to 'hang out' and get in trouble.

  37. It surprises me that people are suggesting that smoking pot is "no big deal". Statistics show that it is the number one gateway drug to other, more dangerous drugs. Yes, many people have done it and (as they say) turned out alright...but let's remember that it is still an ILLEGAL substance. Having gone through this exact battle with my now 18 year old son, I can tell you that it is impossible to get a child to see reason if you do not convey the fact that it is: Number One - Against the law, Number Two - A mind altering drug, and Number Three - Will NOT be tolerated in your home. Whatever you have to do to get that done should be done. I never kicked my son out..I didn't want him living on the streets with the same people that were doing these things with him. How would that help? I did talk to our preist about it, took him to drug counseling, monitor his friends, do room checks, take him to and from where he needed to go until he understood that he could have more freedom if he just made the right choices. Also, most drug stores sell at-home drug tests which could help. It takes work, but that is what parenting is..our children are worth it!

  38. You are probably fully aware that this behavior is actually designed to get you to pay more attention to him and less to his little brother that gets so much of it already. I agree with several previous posts about taking away his car and ability to drive himself anywhere. Take away electronics and seriously ground him. It will be hard on you and your husband to have to go back to transporting him everywhere when you had just probably gotten used to have a more independent child around the house. But look at it as an opportunity to reconnect with him again. He's not going to be happy for a long time but don't let that deter you. Think of it as having a really sullen toddler again. Turn the radio off in the car and talk to him. Even if he doesn't respond keep up a string of conversation about anything......your day, the news, daily happenings in your town, etc. Turn the tv off at home and make it a definite point to sit at the supper table every night. Find family activities to participate outdoor concerts, street festivals to visit, plays, museums, etc. Even the smallest towns have things going on. They may be corny but even tho he will act like a total jerk about it now, he will appreciate it years from now.

    1. I agree with this ^. From what I can tell of the situation, it does sound like he doesn't think you would notice because of Wildman. Not a conscious decision, of course. Do what you can to let him know you are still watching over him. Love him, talk to him, spend time with him. Even if he's resentful or doesn't think it's fun, he will remember it later. Do what you can to let him know you are open to suggestions from him. LISTEN when he does communicate. Support every correct decision of his NO MATTER WHAT CONTEXT. Hold him accountable for the good and the bad. Support him through the consequences of his actions. He's flinging himself out there to find out where the safety net is. Prove that it is still with you in your home. I'd give more specific advice, but every situation is different.

  39. My brother was just like your son. When he got arrested for underage drinking at a party, he didn't call my parents to bail him out--he called his best friend's parents instead. My parents were furious, and they totally would have let him spend the night in jail. But my brother had to pay his friend's parents back for every penny they spent, so it was definitely a learning lesson. It didn't make him stop drinking (and he's an alcoholic at 36 years old), but he did learn to be more responsible about it and he never got caught again. He is a very functional and responsible man now, he just drinks excessively after work, much like my dad did when we were younger. But I digress...honestly, you have to be the jail warden for him right now. That's your job as a parent. Take the door off his bedroom. Take away all his 'toys' like a previous reply said. No TV, no car, no video games, no computer. And make him quit his job. If he can't be responsible and tell the truth about his work hours, he isn't responsible enough to have a job. The financial end of that will hit him hard--no job, no money, no life. As he straightens up and gets back on track--good grades, no lying, etc--then let him start having the privileges back, slowly, and one at a time. He's going to be miserable this way, and so will you, but you'll be doing your job as a parent and teaching him what it means to be respectful of your parents and housemates (something a few college roommates of mine were sorely lacking), and how things work in 'the real world.' Once he realizes what being responsible means, he'll probably quit the pot smoking on his own. I agree with previous responses, the pot isn't the issue here. The issue is lying about where his is or has been, and what he's been doing with his time, and using work as a cover up.

    My parents didn't want us to work when we were in high school. It was fully laid out that work and sports were a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Our jobs were to go to school and get good grades so we could get into college (and hopefully get it paid for). If our grades slipped, we had to quit our jobs, end of story. And if we got caught doing something like this, we would have lost the job, and the privilege of driving (my brother lost that one anyway for a speeding ticket). We had to pay for our own car insurance once we had our own cars, and we had to buy the cars ourselves. Same thing for video games--my parents never bought a single game or system for me or my brother. Those things are privileges, not rights, and we had to work for them. We would have had to do the same for cell phones had they been affordable back then. The only things we were given were a roof over our heads, clothing, school supplies, and food. We had to earn anything and everything else, including our allowance. Do the same for your son, and he'll learn the value of not wasting his time smoking pot and lying about where his is.

  40. My thought is this...(and please take this in the most non critical way) your son is dying for attention. From what you described, your younger son has a few issues that understandably need special attention. However, your older son wants your attention as well, even if you think he doesnt or if he doesnt ask for it. Start by trying to spend more time with him one on one. Take turns with your husband where one of you stays home with the younger son and the other takes your older one out. Ask him where he wants to go...(the movies, dinner, bowling, etc...) when you are alone with him try to lead him into a conversation about what has been going on. Dont try to force it or he will only clam up. This may take two or three outings before he really starts to feel comfortable. Once the conversations can happen, spell out your expectaions of him and tell him that he is becoming an adult and is expected to behave as such. Do not have this conversation in ager or it will backfire. Tell him you would rather him tell you that he has been smoking pot than lie to you. Tell him the consequences of what will happen if he gets in trouble again. Follow through if it happens. You and your husband must be on the same page or you will lose credibility with him. Then tell him, the more you trust him the more freedom he will have. But if he cant be honest with you then you have nothing. Most importantly, dont stop these "dates" just because he seems to be on track. He will enjoy the time you spend together whether he admits it or not.

  41. If this were my child rite aid/Walgreens or any pharmacy sales at home drug screening kits.. once a week he would take one and if he failed I'd start by taking his cell phone n everything out of his room but a bed pillow and blanket. He would have to call me from work the second he got there and right before he parents were very strict when it came to drugs...not saying I didn't ha e my ties with them but I pay the price for it as well....I wised up n found something more productive to do with my time...

  42. I have two small children, so I can only speculate on what I'd do (and in most likelihood, I'd probably lose my schmidt). But, I agree with the other mommas who have suggested taking away the car. Take away his phone. Basically, he gets to go to school and go to work, and then work really hard to start earning back some privileges and trust. I also agree with making it more about the lying (I was an honor student, pretty good kid, and still tried pot and did the whole underage drinking thing). I would let him know, however, that those things will NOT be tolerated. And mostly, let him know that you love him SO MUCH that you refuse to let him goof up. Good luck!

  43. As a 22year old who did the 'lying about my whereabouts, smoking pot, underage drinking' thing, and as someone that has worked as a guidance councillor for teenagers, my question is "why is he lying to you about where he's going?".
    I get that smoking pot is bad, and illegal, but realistically, most kids are going to do it at some stage, and I wouldn't get too upset about it. If you think its moving past being occasional or onto harder drugs, then its time to intervene, but otherwise, I think telling a kid not to smoke pot will make them want to do it even more. Interestingly, I'm now living in the Netherlands where pot is legalized, and here the locals barely touch the stuff. It's not cool unless its rebellious and something that pisses your parents off!
    I would really examine your relationship with him, even though he's done a couple of dumb things recently, he is reaching the age where he needs to start making his own decisions and deal with the consequences, and maybe he feels like you're not accepting of his need for freedom, hence the sneaking around thing. This was definitely what went on with me and my parents, and a lot of the kids I've worked with. We reach the ages where we feel we should be allowed to go to a friends house for a couple of hours after work, but we don't think out parents will let us, so we sneak around. I think it's a better approach to sit down with him, say that you will give him more freedom, i.e. a later curfew, but in return he has to be a bit more open about where he is going. I think that generally, if you come down on him like a ton of bricks, he will see you as treating him like a child and it will only worsen your relationship and make him even more rebellious, better to try treating him like an adult and hope he recognizes that.

  44. Smoking pot before school? Any chance he was trying to get caught? Maybe it was a ploy for attention, or a cry for help. Something to consider.

    For the other mama's who claim that pot smoking is no big deal, I agree as long as we're talking about adults. A 16 year olds brain isn't done growing and developing yet. Not the worst drug out there, but still a bad idea.

    I think he should lose his car for a while as a result of being dishonest. Good luck, and stay strong!

  45. You can try all of those punishments that others have mentioned: taking the car, setting curfews, etc., etc., but how well it works really depends on your relationship with your son, whether or not he's in a general "rebellion" phase, and who it is that he's hanging around and being influenced by. I have just spent the last year going through this with my own son and I can tell you it's not pretty (and have used all of those punishments). One thing is for sure - be prepared for him to "hate" you if you do anything besides let him do what he wants, but you can't let that get to you. I agree with many others that as hard as it will be, you need to just let him fall on his face and learn from his mistakes the hard way. Let him suffer the natural consequences of going to court and dealing with it on his own - without the help from mom and dad. And although many of us have certainly been there and done that with pot at some point in our lives, it is the gateway drug and definitely has the potential to escalate so don't turn a blind eye. Within one year, my son has progressed from pot to hallucinogens (regularly), despite my warnings and the risks, and despite him claiming that he "only wanted to try it" and "rarely does it." He turned 18 in December and we warned him that although he is now an adult and we cannot stop him from doing those things, he is not to involve us at all by bringing the drugs or paraphernalia into the house or we would kick him out. As of a week and a half ago, he's now been kicked out after we found another pipe in his backpack. I WISH he would have been busted by the cops so he could have learned the hard way sooner, because as his mom he only views the punishments as me being a big "B" and too stupid to know what he's doing.

  46. Ladies, this is D. I appreciate the advice you've all given. C. is getting ready to get the break down. I have to say that I do not agree that pot is no big deal and not really dangerous. How about if he gets behind the wheel? Dangerous! And I've done my research, pot can cause lots of health problems on its own, no to mention if he's not getting "pure" pot, like something bad has been added to it. I am gonna start driving him tomorrow (school's out today), so I'll know where he is after school. Yes, I did stuff I shouldn't have when I was his age, but I thank God everyday that nothing bad happened to me. God knows there were plenty of opportunities for me to get hurt/hurt someone else. My brother, not so lucky. Pot really screwed up his life for quite awhile. Thankfully, he straightened up eventually. He has offered to talk to C. if I want him to. I'll keep ya'll posted, thanks again! D.

    1. Pot smoking can be jarring to parents. I get that but...the real concern should be whether you think that your son has a propensity to addiction. Pot can be a gateway drug, for those individuals who seek a greater more dangerous high b/c they are addicted to feeling different than they feel while sober.

      I think that this is the key - besides the lying. Which to me sounds like the real issue.

      If you, or members of your family suffer from addiction - then yes it is a worry that he has tried pot. But you might lose his ear (in that he may not listen to you) if you make it seem that you believe using an illicit drug like pot is the same as using meth or popping Rx pills. He will see you as out of touch and being overly-alarmist. Just my humble opinion. Good luck to you and yours.

    2. Point of interest about pot these days: the current trend is to dip joints in PCP before smoking. Gives it some extra kick. Also put my nephew in the hospital with a complete psychotic break and possible lingering schizophrenia issues. He can juuuuust about function, at 18, with one of his brothers leading him around gently by the hand in a quiet environment. His mom always thought pot was no big deal, and enabled him every chance she got behind his father's back...and was *flabbergasted* to realize that maybe her son's dealer hadn't been trustworthy. Now ask me about 'shrooms, and how many dealers are willing to sell random toxic mushrooms to people instead of "the real thing". That involves massive kidney and liver damage and sometimes death. In either instance, that's a heck of a price to pay for some "harmless" teenage rebellion. Do the dealers always tell you what's in it? NO. Do they care what happens to their customers? NOT REALLY.

      D, I'm so glad you are taking your son's behavior seriously and really being the best mom you can be to a young man who clearly needs some extra time and attention, and probably some counselling. It's a hard struggle, but you are doing the right thing, and it is wonderful to know that your extended family is willing to help.

  47. Like many said, he goes back to zero, no car, no friends, nothing but work and school. He works for trust and maybe even his bedroom door back. As for the pot, the law says he can't. Part of the Social Contract - We don't pick and choose laws to obey. At 16, his judgement is questionable at best. Consequences need to be black and white. I liked the suggestion of random drug testing, "Think we're driving to Friendly's? Yeah, right after you pee in that cup." He broke your trust, lied, broke the law, and maybe there is more that you don't know about. As his parent (not his friend)stay strong!

  48. Keep talking to your son. Keep the lines of judgment free communication open. It's tough to be a teenager and being sympathetic to that will get you a long way.
    I would definitely take away the transportation though. There has to be some punishment for being arrested. I would also reduce his freedom for a time in whatever way you feel would be appropriate.
    I know now that a lot of the issues I had growing up and as an adult (i had a severe drug addiction for several years) was due to anxiety. Now I'm being treated for that and am mostly normal!
    I also agree with a previous poster about seeking some therapy, but make sure it's a family effort so your son doesn't feel alienated and that he alone is the problem.
    Good luck, and remember, this too shall pass.

  49. Call me Captain Strick, but let the kid get whatever the States Attorney and Judge hand out to him. When you are an adult, your odds of getting a break are slim to none. Yes this will be on his criminal record, but he will get drug tested by possible employers anyway. The truth will be in the results. A charge for a pipe is not too bad, especially since it is his first offense. A fine and court supervision. They just tell you the what the max is to scare the bejesus out of you.

    I would also consider trying to find some one on one hang out time for him. It is not anyone's fault, but kids tend to act out when they think they are not getting attention. Teens will be teens. They try things, they make mistakes. Good luck! (Sorry for any type-o's. I am on my phone and fat thumbing it!)

  50. I forgot one thing: Mom and Dad Jail- you have no door. You get randomly spot checked for neatness (easy to do when there is only one bed, one sheet, one blacket and one set of clothes.

    Everything is gone: dresser, closets, all toys, etc. In jail, you get three meals and a bed. That is what Mom and Dad jail replicates.

  51. I would suggest you sell his car. Tell him that you have found out about his lying and pot issue. While he is at school pick it up and take it to the car dealer. If he doesn't have a car then he can't be caught being places he shouldn't be. It will be an inconvience for you but what he is doing is already an inconvience. Also John Rosemond has great information regarding this issue. He cuts out all the "psychobabble" and just cuts to the chase. Actions have consequences.

  52. I think it was scientifically proven that teenagers are incapable of thinking of consequences. Something about brain development. Anyway, even if you explain it to him, he'll likely roll his eyes, sigh, say "I know mom." And on some level he does, but a criminal record is no big deal right? Look at how many successful people have records for way worse than possession.

    Do teenagers not get grounded anymore? When I was a bratty teenager I got caught a lot and got grounded a lot. It worked in two ways.
    1. I thought about disobeying my parents the next time.
    2. My parents knew where I was.

    My other thought is, could the additional care of his younger brother be makinging C feel somewhat neglected? Not that it justifies his behavior, but perhaps a counselor or therapy would help him and your family IF that is the case. I personally wouldn't recommend it just for a teenager who is bathing in hormones and testing a few limits.

  53. My younger sister went through some rough times with her step daughter that started before she hit 13. My niece has not had an easy go of things. Her biological mother was a partier--drugs, alcohol, men, etc., all paraded in front of my niece. Her dad (my brother in law) had custody, but he was not always responsible. Strange work hours, a love affair with drugs and just being an ill-equipped young dad left my niece to sort of bounce from place to place until she was 6 and my brother in law met my sister. My niece at this point had lived with neglectful, irresponsible parents (although my brother in law did try), had been molested by a trusted family friend and been treated as though she were an inconvenience and a problem by almost everyone. She started stealing around 6--from stores, from her dad, from my parents, from friends, etc--and hoarding things in her room (food, money, etc). She has always been way more sexually mature than her years and began flirting and using sexuality to try and get her way. She started smoking cigarettes around 12, pot around 12 or 13, drinking around 14 or 15. She was mouthy, rude, disrespectful to everyone and then lied to anyone she hadn't alienated about what was really going on. She was completely innocent and everyone else was against her and mean and abusive to her. She snuck out of the house to go party all the time. While spending the weekend with an uncle one time, she stole his car and went for a joyride. She was 14. She cut class all the time in high school, got busted by the cops for smoking and racked up fees and fines when she missed paying a fine and missed numerous court dates. When she ran away with her abusive girlfriend at 16, my sister (ashamedly so) was relieved that my niece, her stress inducing behavior and influence on her younger siblings were gone. My sister always worried about her, but did not have to deal with her destructive behavior. My niece ended up in another state, dumped the girlfriend, started sleeping with her boss, got pregnant, lost her job, moved in with her sister and then got kicked out for dealing drugs out of her sister's house. My niece, tail between her legs, appealed to my sister and brother in law for help, forgiveness and a place to live since she had burned every bridge and had no other options. The road since she came home has not been easy. it was difficult for her to give up her partying, her "April" time and her childhood. She still goes out too much and makes stupid decisions, but she is a work in progress. She loves her son (who is now almost 4) and would do anything for him. Responsibility came at a price and I think for kids who decide to take the difficult road, they have to completely hit bottom to realize how good they have or had it. As painful as it is for any parent to watch, I think that letting your near-adult kid deal with the consequences of their choices is perhaps the best teacher. you just have to be there and love them when they hit bottom and realize they have screwed up big time and actually need the wisdom and rules that you gave them.

  54. The "Love and Logic" authors have some really good advice for situations like this. As many have already said, first, a thousand times this: "Coming from a place of concern and trust will go over much better." Try to keep your cool and impose consequences that are related to the misconduct - not vindictively, just pragmatically. Can't be trusted to not do drugs? Sorry, but that means you don't get to use the car because mom and dad are still legally responsible for you if you drive under the influence, even if you paid for the car on your own. Can't be relied upon to be where you say you're going to be? Same deal - access to the car is contingent on being responsible enough to keep mom and dad informed.

    Unless his work income is in some way necessary to the family, I would also make him quit his job until trust is restored. He can do chores around the house instead (LOTS. OF. CHORES.), to pay back the energy and expense mom and dad are expending on his legal troubles. Taking some work of the parents' plate will give mom and dad back some time and energy and make it easier for them to hold the line.

    On the bright side, this really is standard-issue teen stuff - he is hardly off the deep end, here. Everyone I know did things like this as well, and we all grew up to be responsible adults. But I think we did so in part because when we got caught testing the limits, our parents came down hard and stuck to their guns. Good luck!

  55. As the older sister to a brother who started this path, I can say that there are probably bigger issues than the pot. My experience: parents were "busy", bro felt left out, so he looked for "friends" to fill the companionship. "Friends" intro'd pot, @ 14 he was caught @ school and he got off easy w/school suspension. "don't do that again" was said, maybe a "grounding" but when folks work a lot, that's hard to enforce. Mind you this was before facebook, but he had a pager, cell phone, etc. Parents sent him to counseling where he duped counselor into thinking all was well and folks were overreacting. (I didn't say he was stupid) Parents ended up divorced, he was 16, he'd do a semester living w/one then the other until he got his diploma. College was ok, but led to finding ways to make lots of $ running the cash for a drug dealer. Nice. Dropped out of college, lost his apt b/c he quit school (stipulation of apt), he bounced around from "friend" to "friend". Didn't have an address for a year or two, lost all of his belongings between moving all the time, "friends", etc. Ended up getting arrested for being @ the dealer's house when the cops were staking it out. He had $ on him that was truly his own, but long and short of it, he was on a path of destruction. Mom bailed him out, got lawyers, etc. He hid for a bit. I said "do you really want to live the rest of your life looking over your shoulder? MAN UP." He turned himself in, got his sentence, did his time. He's out now with a felony on his record. It brings him down, but he's making straight A's at college, got a steady girlfriend, is engaged, and a success at life now. He grew up a LOT during his sentence, and it wasn't easy, but it saved his life. The bummer is that he is so awesome now, but has this "record" that won't go away. Not that he doesn't deserve it, but the "system" isn't always fair and just. If it's a first time thing, I'd say try to get him off easy, with the understanding that he would be responsible for all costs, and that this is his ONE get out card. Make it plain as day that a 2nd offense = no help AT ALL and stick to your guns! My Mom continued to help my brother through EVERYTHING, almost at the cost of her sanity, and when she told him it was time for him to move on, HE DID. Look at him now. ♥ Tough love is just that - tough. I really hope you can get some family counseling with a good counselor that will help you figure out how to work together. Life isn't easy, but early intervention can do a lot. Don't give up on him or your family, but know where your boundaries are. Good luck!

  56. Maybe he feels like you don't pay him enough attention because of his brother. Show him that he is important to you, too, by making him bread for school or offering to help him with his school work or something like that. Just make sure that he notices your effort and does not just take it for granted. Ask him about his day, but try to ask specific questions, not just the general "How was your day?".
    And maybe you can prevent his going somewhere without asking or not telling you where he was by allowing him to go out after telling you for as long as he wants to on several days. Don't limit him too much, because then he'll just continue to do it without your permission, just limit him a little. And don't judge him for smoking weed or shout at him too much, then he will just stop listening to you. Try to make it clear to him why you don't want him to smoke, then if he does it again, you can limit his time out with friends. If he continues to go away without telling you and it doesn't get any better then maybe you should take him to and fetch him from school (if you've got the time for that), same with his job. That reduces the chance of him going somewhere else. Plus, even though he probably won't like it because it will make him seem uncool, it shows him that you care about him.
    Hope this helped.

    1. Feeling like he doesn't get enough attention doesn't make what he's doing any less illegal, and condoning behavior because of that just teaches him to make excuses. Do you know how much trouble he could have gotten into for smoking pot AT SCHOOL? It's called a Drug Free Zone, and he's lucky that he just got a misdemeanor.

      It's our job as parents to set the boundaries and the limits and keep them safe. It's not our jobs to worry that our kids feel 'judged' when they break the rules that can have serious and lasting consequences.

    2. C. was actually caught BEFORE school, across the street, behind a CHURCH DAYCARE building. Smart, huh? I bet the judge will be very impressed, NOT! We'll see what happens on 4/24. D.

  57. This may sound weird but show him some of this feedback from other parents. It may get him to look at the situation from your point of view which teenagers seldom do. It may open up a dialogue about his behavior and your responsibilities as his parent. You can let him know that the reason you are so concerned is that he is the most important thing in your life and you can't bear him screwing up to the extent that it negatively impacts his future. Let him know one or two things are non-negotiable and then discuss together where there may be wiggle room. Prepare him for the real world. Maybe he can stay out later or go to a friend's house further away but if school work or safety are compromised he loses those privileges.

  58. I would have a discussion with him to talk about his choices. In that discussion, focus on the lying. I agree with everyone else on not making the smoking pot an issue. I mean, it is, it is illegal, and probably telling him if he is caught again he won't get legal help from you would be nice (only if you stick with it) but the fact is, he seems to be stretching his wings and wanting to make his "own" decisions. So let him... once he earns the privilege back. To me that is the key. Lying and sneaking around isn't something "adults" do. That isn't responsible behavior. So I'd take away the car, any perks on his phone (texting, internet). He'd get to go to school and to work. He'd have responsibilities at home. After a specified amount of time if he was doing well and not sneaking around, then he'd earn something back. And little by little, by proving he can handle the responsibility, he would get it back. The key here is consistency (no bailouts and no "just this time"s), reminding him that you love him, not yelling but always speaking calmly as adults (since that is what he wants to be). Another helpful tool is to ask him what he would do if in your shoes. Make him really think about it. Because, as a parent, the worst thing my son could do to me is lie to me. I'd rather him come up to me and say, "Mom, I want to stay out an extra hour to have sex with my girlfriend," than to lie to me about it. And in my house, lying has the strictest punishment. No relationship thrives without trust. And he's lost yours. Time to earn it back.

  59. 1) Kids that can't be trusted to go where they say they're going shouldn't be trusted to drive themselves. Take away the car/access to the car, or at least as much as possible.

    2) Meet his friends. If he's going to someone's home, it's perfectly reasonable to find out where it is and who is there.

    3) His actions should have consequences. In the grand scope of things is smoking some pot the worst thing he could do? No. But is it something appropriate for a 16 year old to be doing, let alone on school property? Hell no. He should be the one paying for the lawyer and paying the fine.

    4) He has broken your trust and it's his responsibility to earn it back, not your responsibility to just give it back to him.

  60. Couple of points on each issue...
    1. The pot thing. While there are many who feel pot should be decriminalized, the fact is, even if it was legal, it wouldn't be for 16 year olds. But I would say treat as you would treat him being caught drinking underage. If you would ground him for underage drinking, ground him for pot smoking.
    2. The lying about staying late at work. Typical teenage stuff. Why does he do it, probably becaseu if he called and said "hey, after work I am going to hang out with some friends", you would tell him no. If he is working on Friday and Saturday nights, why not (after his grounding period above) just set in place a curfew with a caveat that you JUST want to know where he is and who he is with. The curfew part can be easy as many local jurisdictions already have curfews in place. In my state our license controlled it (teenagers could not drive after midnight). I would add to this that you let him know that if he is ever unable to drive for whatever reason, to call you and you will pick him up, no question asked. This last part is just for safety. As hard as it can be to not be pissed about your drunk or high kid who couldn't drive, you can't ground him afterwards for calling you. However, that doesn't mean you can't talk about it.
    3. The kid who doesn't go to his school. As long as the kid doesn't live 2 hours away, I don't see this as a big deal at ALL. A lot of my friends did not go to the same school as I did. Didn't mean I wasn't hanging out at their house, just that their house was 15-20 minutes away from mine. The only rule I would have is that you want the phone number and parents name so if say he is supposed to be home by 6:00 and it's 6:30, you can call to find out what time he left and be sure he wasn't in an accident or anything. Again, SAFETY rules.

    The last thing, you mention your younger son has ADHD and Aspergers. While understandably this takes a lot of your effort and energy, have you thought about how things might look/feel from C's point of view? While his point of view may not be logical, rational or realistic, it is how feels and that could be a major factor in his communication, or lack of, with you. While some people have said about finding a therapist FOR C, I would tell you there are steps to this. First try talking WITH him on your own. Not just a listen to my lecture talk, but a conversation with him that goes both ways. This may take a while, not just one sitting, and some of things he says could be way unrealistic, but listen to what he has to say and how he feels. IF he does not open up to you after trying this, then talk to him about getting a therapist for BOTH of you. With the ultimate goal of therapy to work on communication between the 2 (or 3, you didn't mention what role his father has) of you. And please, if any of you do not like/feel comfortable with the therapist, find a new one. Not doing this can cause way more damage.

    Ultimately, he could just be a typical teenager (which I suspect) but the goal should be to have better communication.

    I hope that helps.

    Oh, and PS, DO NOT listen to the people who have posted that you should let him go to prison to "Straighten him out". Your son is not even close to being at the point where he needs that kind of intervention. There is a reason why they have alternative programs for juveniles.

  61. There is much good advice here in the replies, but I want to add a little something. It might sound completely loopy, but please give it a try- it might just let him know how much you love him, without him feeling 'smothered'- and yes, teen can feel smothered by you even if you're across the room at the time!
    Here is the link to a great video:

    Her name is Amanda Gore- and though all her humor, she has a great story to tell. Please try what she suggests- it might make a difference.

  62. I am no expert but am a therapist and have worked with teens who became involved with the criminal justice system. Several people above gave feedback that I completely agree with: increase your monitoring of him and give specific, logical consequences for his negative behaviors (ie, he can only go to school and work transported by you or other trusted adult). He now needs to earn back your trust so give him specific ways to do that and do it slowly. Also, most of these behaviors are peer driven at this age, so in the future get info on who he will be with and where, and verify it with their parents. Your son will hate this but explain that this is what you have to do until he has earned back your trust. At this age, it is not likely that just a heart to heart with him is going to have any lasting effect. I'm sure you have a wonderful caring son- it is just the age!! Also, there were some who said jail may do him good- DO NOT depend on that as a consequence. Research show that incarceration only produces better criminals- he is more likely to pick up more antisocial behaviors while there which is of course not what you want. I would suggest finding a family therapist who has experience working with these situations and uses evidence-based techniques. I would not suggest individual therapy in his case- start with the family therapy and go from there. Good luck!! If you are consistent and follow through you will see good results :).

  63. I think everyone else has some great advice, so I will just say, as a parent of two small children, I am officially terrified of the teen years. I was a pretty good kid, and my parents still had their hands full. And that was before cell phones, Facebook, etc. I am terrified.

  64. I have a 14 and 16 year old. Up to the same schmidt! They both were caught twice, doing it together. And some other things that teenagers shouldn't have any business doing. Both of their grades are in the tank, also! So now, this is how their life goes.

    -No cell phone use
    -No unsupervised internet use. Meaning they cant do anything on their computer except homework.
    -No unsupervised friend visitation. They can come over our house, but the kiddos aren't leaving!
    -No facebook use
    -They aren't left alone at home anymore.
    -We both work at the same office. After school they come to the office with us till we're done :)

    I know this is extreme. But, really! What can we do? Teenagers will get into trouble any freakin way they can! You leave them alone for a second and they're plotting! Well, at least mine are! So basically they watch tv with their parents till they get so bored that they go to bed! HA!

    Needless to say, we have some very pee'd off kids. But until they change the tudes and admit to being wrong. (They say they did nothing wrong. It's a harmless herb and should be legalized,Blahblahblah) This is their life!

    I also have a 7 month old and NO TIME for Bullschmidt!

  65. Why does he have to be feeling unloved or neglected? Maybe he's trying pot cause it makes you feel good? There doesn't always have to be some underlying psycho babble problem. Kids experiment! Most of us did! He has a job, goes to school. Sounds like you haven't had much trouble with him in the past and you obviously keep close tabs on him.

    Just tighten the reigns a bit for a while, he'll get over this stage :)

  66. Just to offer an alternative to some of the advice I see here: I do think smoking pot is a big deal because it is illegal. Until it is legal, your son can go to jail if he's caught again - for a long time. Lying is also a big deal. We had a child like this in my family, and it took going to jail to turn things around. Sometimes actually serving a day or a week in jail helps the kid see "Oh, wait, this is not where I want to go with my life". I DO believe that kids [and adults] should pay the price for their mistakes. If you keep working so hard to make sure he doesn't pay any penalty, he may never learn. I had a sister in law who was still getting arrested for drug use when she was 40 and her parents were still bailing her out and paying for a big time lawyer to get her off - and she's a complete horrible mess of a person. When she got caught the first time at 14 - how different would her life had been if she'd learned her lesson THEN? I've been clear with my kids: If you do the crime, then you do the time....

  67. "the Wildman (his 10 yr. old ADHD, Asperger's brother)" I think this sentence says a lot.

    I was abandoned (Literally left on my grandmother's doorstep) by my parents and raised by my grandmother. I began smoking when I was 12, and I began drinking in high school. My HS campus had an open lunch and I would walk to a friend's house a few blocks away and drink at lunch and go back to school drunk. We would also drink at school. I had a friend who would steal liquor from her parents, bring it to school and we would drink half a 20oz bottle of soda and refill it with the booze. I was never in trouble with the law, but I was going down an ugly road.

    My point is..... I was neglected. I would do anything and everything to get attention and bad attention was better than no attention. I am not in your home, so I do not know how every day interactions work, but maybe your kiddo is not getting enough positive reinforcement so he is seeking any attention possible.

    Deal with the lying. Trust has been broken, so it must be earned back. You or dad needs to take him to school and to work and come home, no where else. This will fix the weed problem because if you know where he is, you know he is not getting high. Declare martial law at your home. No closed doors and check pockets, and backpacks before leaving and as soon as arriving. He needs to know you mean business.
    Have some one on one time with your kiddo. With a special needs sibling he may feel he is getting the shaft. Have a movie date, go out for ice cream. Dad needs to take him camping or fishing or whatever man thing they enjoy. Remind him he is precious and loved.

    Good luck!

    1. Amen! That sentence was what stuck out for me too. The behaviour so far sounds like what most other kids will do/try/excell at before finally growing up. I'm not saying "don't punish", but punishment without knowing the root cause for the behaviour and without discussion will push that kid farther into resentment. If these parents want an honest relationship with their kids they have to lay down the ground work first. Let's be honest is work for both of them.

  68. You have gotten some very good advice here. I will say as a parent of teens and a teacher of teens-- keep the school informed. Let the school resource officer know what is going on. Let the guidance counselor know.

    As a teacher, I would contact parents if the kids were messing up and fooling around in class. Imagine the students' suprise when Mom, Granddad or even parole officer (yes, parole not probation-ex cons in my class!)came to the classroom and would just observe. My roughest toughest gangster would "yes, ma'am" and "no sir" when the PO would come to class. ALl these visits would be unnanounced and EXTREMELY effective.

    And quite frankly, I would not worry about the other school/other town Facebook part. Kids put whatever town they want in the Facebook, same with school. My town alone has three high schools- where you go is dependent on what street you live on.

    To close, I will share something from the movie Jurassic Park and how it relates to teenagers.

    In one scene the game warden is speaking to Jon Hammond and the doctors about the velociraptors. The game warden says "they are very smart creatures. They systematically check the fences for any weaknesses--and they remember."
    Teenagers are like this-- they do check the fences for weakenesses and they do remember.

  69. Most of this has been said already, but:

    1. Why does he still have his car again??? My parents would have been all over that. Both of them worked, neither had the time or inclination to tote me from place to place. But they did it because it was a consequence of my actions.

    2. Consequences are good things. As adults, they happen all the time. As a teenager, your son should know they exist...even if it means they affect him long-term. Having an attorney is a good thing. But getting him off scott-free will only add to his ego. ("I got away with it before...")

    3. I understand you are busy with your younger son. Autism is unbelievably demanding. But guess what? So are teenagers. The needs are different, but the amount of work is the same.

    4. If you insist on letting your older son keep his car, give him some more responsibility. Have HIM take your younger son to therapy. Have HIM help with shopping. Have HIM pick up dinner. Sounds like he has a bit too much freedom and not enough perspective.

    5. OMG, find a therapist! Not someone who's just going to medicate him -- he sounds like a normal teenager who has issues that make him "act out." But if he isn't talking to you or the other trustworthy adults who are already around him, find him one!

    6. Whatever you do, don't wait for it to blow over. It won't.

  70. I love the advice on FB from Grandma K. Get counseling...for you. She mentioned AA and NA but those would be best for him to attend, without you, if he's willing to go.Even if he's not an addict now he can learn a lot about what the consequences are for continuing down this road and there are fantastic male role-models there. Al-anon, while geared toward families of alcoholics, would be a good place for you regardless that it's smoking pot. There's also a Celebrate Recovery group that people go to for all kinds of issues and/or additions. My sister attends one, as well as sees a counselor, to help her deal with her daughter's addiction- and if I lived close to her I would be attending with her...not going it alone is IMPORTANT!!! I lived 12 years with an alcoholic spouse and never sought help until the last year...Al-anon changed my life, and saved our marriage. Shortly after, my husband started AA and while things didn't change over-night, they did change and he's been sober for 10 years.
    If you are unfamiliar with groups like these, they are not what you might think. They are filled with good people that are accepting, non-judgmental, and always there for you.

    Unfortunately, for the last 4 years we've been dealing with our teen son's addiction. It has been the most horrific, painful experience I have ever dealt with. I found myself falling back into my enabling patterns, which I never, ever thought I would do. But HE IS MY SON and I never found the parenting book that prepares you or even gives you a clue to what kind of pain you go through while watching your child self-destruct.This time we hopped right on getting counseling for our entire family (through our church-so the cost was reasonable, although your insurance may cover some counseling) and we have plenty of people to talk to. (although,for me,it's still painful and the fear for him or what can happen to him or others tends to linger near the surface just waiting to catch me off guard and bring me to tears now and then)

    All that said, I rebelled as teen and never became an addict. Only by the grace of God did I make it through though because I was very self-destructive. Although I would have probably hated my parents trying to stop me, I wish they had--with love though, not screaming or losing their schmidt. (oh how many times I've done that!!) But the frustration, the lies, the's hard to understand or accept.

    So...get some help(counselor), set some boundaries and consequences(counselor can help with that), STICK to them!!, and if you are a praying mom...pray(I read "Divine Prayers for the Despairing Parents" by Susanne Scheppmann). And be sure to keep your marriage healthy- it takes a toll on it even when you are working on it(counseling went a long way in helping us with that also).

    No matter have to make your choices, and so does he. Sometimes the choices you make for yourself speak louder than the words you'd like to scream at him.

  71. For those of you commenting that experimenting with pot is no big deal... it can turn into a big deal. There is another blog I've followed for some time now by a mother who lost her 18yo son to drugs. She has written before how she wishes she would have taken his "experimentation" with pot at age 14 more seriously.

  72. Trust and a strong bond is key. My brother and I were both "troubled teens". Like some others have described here, my mother stood in judgement, kept on me like a hawk, had a no nonsense approach, yelled, grounded, took away everything I owned etc...
    Honestly, what I needed was to be able to trust my parents. Being a teen in the awful world of high school is incredibly scary and confusing. The one place you should feel safe and understood is in your own home with the people that gave you life! All I ever felt at home was judged and disliked. Children who grow up in this "zero tolerance" atmosphere grow up feeling like they must hide who they really are to be accepted, because if the people who know the real them think they are bad, they must be bad.
    As parents, we should look at ourselves, are we perfect every single day? Do we never make mistakes? There is a difference between an occasional slip up, experimenting, testing boundaries and a full blown problem. I would try an exercise in building trust, not just you trusting your teens, them being able to trust you. I would explain that the first time is a mistake, the second time is a choice. If you decide it is safest to take him back and forth to school and work for a bit, great! What an awesome opportunity to spend some extra time together building trust and an equal relationship (at 16, it's only 2 years until adulthood!) It is better to communicate in an atmosphere of trust (where they listen because they respect your opinion) to teach your kids to make good decisions on their own , instead of teaching them to just obey because they are intimidated.

  73. From personal experience with a rule-bending, law-breaking stepson, let the natural consequences of his actions happen. Don't bail him out. Don't push for less punishment. Let the judge decide what is appropriate for the law broken. Bailing him out or making the consequence "less" FOR him will only make the problem worse. Trust me. I've lived through it....still am. It's not pretty.

    And for the love of cute little puppies and kitties, take the car away and drive him to school and work and pick him up. He LIED about where he was and what he was doing. That is a perfectly acceptable consequence for that action.

  74. As the mother of a 16 y.o. girl who is currently in rehab for pot & alcohol addiction (yes, pot ADDICTION), I strongly recommend not trying to make things easier on him. That's what my husband and I have done for the last year, and obviously it only made things worse. Pot is not the "harmless" substance people (users) make it out to be. In fact, its potency is much more than that of the pot we tried 25 years ago. As someone mentioned above, it is often laced with other drugs/chemicals/what-have-you that our kids don't even know about. A local doctor told us that he sees people in the ER weeks after they have used with health issues from other substances they did not even know they had been exposed to. Pot is a gateway drug - I don't care what anyone says! The more you use, the more tolerance you build up, leading to harder, more damaging drug use and addiction. Your son would have no reason to lie about where he is or who he's with if he wasn't doing something he knows you would never allow. Keep talking with his manager. Illegal, my ass. He's your son. He's a minor. You have every right to know his work schedule and whether or not he was there when he tells you he was! Drug users are masters of deception. Don't let this get out of control. I promise you - you don't want to be where I am.

    1. Thanks for your words. I do not want him to be an addict. I do not want him to end up in prison (can you imagine what they'd do to a young boy like him?). IT is incredibly serious and I want HIM to understand this.

  75. My husband comes from a family of 5 kids. The middle child was born with quite a few medical issues. The time taken from the older two created jealousies and resentments that are just as strong today as they were 20 years ago. Now the younger two, my husband included, were the drop out, pot smoking, useless teenagers. My husband turned his life around and now is the sole support of our family. His youngest brother, is still a bum and now a drunk.

    So you see, it can go either way, but some of your son's issues may just stem from a deeper feeling of being set aside when the younger, special needs brother was born. And saying "we already have our hands full with your brother" to your teenage son is only going to further the resentment.

    I can almost guarantee that this is an underlying issue. It is an issue in most households with multiple siblings and a special needs child.

    Best of luck.

  76. I know what a hard, scary time this can be. But rest assured that if you have put good stuff into his upbringing, good stuff will come out in the end. Just don't stop now.

    First, he needs to know what he has a right to expect from you. If he is allowed to take advantage of you and your husband, that behavior will play itself out in future relationships, as well. He has a right to expect food, clothing, shelter, and education from you, or arrangements for these things made by you, until he is 18. EVERYTHING ELSE is a privilege that can be taken away, and probably should if it's enabling him to get into trouble. And while it is to your benefit to have your attorney friend help you navigate the legal system, your son should definitely have to compensate him for his services, or I guarantee you no lesson will be learned.

    This may seem counter-intuitive, but even though your concern is 99% about him, it's a good idea to play up how he is inconveniencing you, your husband, and his brother. Kids are often flabbergasted by someone else's need to "control" their actions. But if you explain that his participation in illegal activities puts you in a position to have to deal with law enforcement, lawyers, school officials, etc. in a way that infringes on your time and finances, he will see what's in it for you and why he owes it to you to stay in line. (And while his friends are probably as harmless as he is, somewhere down the line there's a dealer...)

    The part where he realizes how much you love him is when he sees you stand behind him: to friends, family, a judge...whoever else thinks it's their job to come down on him. You don't have to defend his actions, but you can hold back complaints of disappointment or shame, and show that you are on his side no matter what.

    Later, as consequences are being paid and people are speaking freely again, have a realistic conversation with your son about what's in it for him in the long run to stay away from illegal activities. About potential consequences of being a life-long drug user, even if it's just the stigma of being labeled a "pothead" or the lowlife drug lords he's supporting with his purchases. He still may not be listening, but your words will stay with him for when he's ready to hear them.

  77. This is coming from a mom of 3 who is 32 & finally straightening herself up for the third time. I had the parents that said "it.'s just pot" smoke at home. I was the cool kid, everybody hung out at my house. That turnded into harfer drugs. When my friends brought around speed, of course I did it. That turned into a 2 year meth binge.
    i can admit today (even though prescribed) I have a pill habit.
    I believe if we would have delt with underlying issues back when it started. I wouldn't be dealing with this today

  78. I think that pot is a big problem. I don't buy this everyone's tried it..well, because I never did! I was shocked at how many people think it's no big deal and should not even be addressed. Address it. Say you will not allow it or any other drugs.. not only in your home but in your life. As in you will not support an addict of any kind in any way shape or form. I do agree with one thing though. The dishonesty is a BIGGER problem. No relationship of any kind can survive without honesty. I would address this problem first and pin most of the consequences attached to the lies and sneaking around. I think the #1 best suggested consequence is the taking away the driving privilege. I realize that it's going to be a lot harder on you but it solves a lot of problems. You'll know where he is, you won't have to worry he is driving high, and it provides a consequence he can't ignore. It may take some extra help to make it so you aren't tempted to give him the keys back because you are overwhelmed. If there are trusted friends of yours or family members who you can call as "back-up" you may want to put that into place as well. Be prepared for him to hate you... but tell him that you love him. Let him know what you expect from him moving forward and that if he cleans up his act he may be given more freedom but if he continues to act out there will be more consequences... and mean it!
    Also, make sure you take your attorney friend's advice to heart. Yes you helped him this one time with his legal trouble (I do agree he should have to pay you back for that) but stick to the fact that he will not receive help if there ever is a next time. And if God forbid there is a next time STICK TO YOUR WORD! He will have to come up with the money on his own and take whatever the judge dishes out. because 1 time is a mistake after that it is a choice.

    Also, I feel that I must bring this up. My husband grew up with a younger brother with special needs. This had a huge effect on him. While in many ways brought out some of his best qualities; it also caused some issues for him with his parents.
    1.) He never got as much attention as his brother (for obvious reasons) and at the time he was just too immature to just say he wanted more attention and time from his parents.
    2.) His brother seemed to be getting away with so much. He resented the fact that his brother many times had little to no consequences for his actions and that he (my husband) seemed to be required to be more understanding and take on extra responsibilities to pick up the slack.
    It may be wise to check into your family dynamic and see if some of your sons issues are stemming from that.

  79. My heart breaks for you. Please know that sometimes kids rebel as part of their growth and I don't feel as though it is a direct result of parenting or what is being done at home. If you are able to take the car away, then do so. However, at some point you have to give it back so that's not necessarily solving your concerns, which is that he learns to make his own GOOD choices. Perhaps some professional counseling for you and for him to help each of you get through this phase. Or...force him to watch an "Intervention" marathon with you :)

  80. I'm not a parent, but I was the daughter of parent's who had a special needs child. I wonder if perhaps the teenager is acting out/breaking the rules as an attempt to seek attention from his parents. Perhaps he feels that they don't notice him/care about him because of all the time/effort/attention that's going to the 'Wildman'. Which is not to excuse the behavior at all. I just think it's a good avenue for the parents to explore with the teen.

    I agree with a lot of the other poster's about seriously limiting privileges, but it's also possible that the parent's in question don't have the ability to take on driving the kid to/from approved activities. So perhaps the teen gets to keep the car but if he is going anywhere other than home/school/work he has to take his brother. This should limit his ability to get into trouble, and if jealousy of the brother's needs is an issue, might help him understand his familial situation a bit better.

  81. Kate, not *the* KateMarch 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    What he's doing doesn't sound much different than things I was doing at roughly the same age. But there were some ground rules in my parent's house, and the consequences of breaking those rules were really tough (at least it seemed that way to me)

    The biggest thing for my parents was no lying. And he lied, and got caught - so now should be disciplined accordingly.

    Here's what I would do / would have had done to me, updated for modern technology:

    1. No car. Period. You'll drive him to school and work, and pick him up after. No getting rides from friends, etc. One month.

    2. Grounded to the house for two weeks. That means, school and work only and at home, no TV, no phone, no Facebook, no friends, etc.

    3. Call the mother of the friend he said he was with, and let her know that your son has been saying he's with her son. Chances are, her son has been saying he's with yours. You both need to know that you've been lied to.

    He's going to hate you for this, but once he's over being angry, you can explain to him that you have a zero tolerance policy for lying and a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence. Going forward, you expect that he will use good judgement if he wants to have access to your car, or have the privilege of riding in a friend's car. Make sure he understands that he will always receive this punishment if he lies to you, but show him compassion in his wanting to try these things out. Emphasize the dangers involved with drugs, tell him horror stories about drug use, alcohol, etc. Make sure he gets it in his head that he is not invincible, and make sure he understands how much it would break your heart if anything were ever to happen to him. Then decide what your policy on drinking/pot use is going to be. My mother's was that until I was 21 I was not allowed to drink, period. This was flawed because then I lied, vicious cycle... My husband's parents had a policy that if he was going to drink, he needed to either call them for a ride or stay over. I think that was too lenient, there must be something in the middle.

    Good luck. I've got two young boys (2 and 6) and I swear I have fear every day that one of them will wrap themselves around a tree. It is so very scary.

  82. You may want to put the ball in his court, after you administer the consequences. Yes, you're going to have to remove a lot of privileges (car, job, freedom to come and go). But this kid is pretty old to be treated like a toddler getting put into time out. There needs to be a serious, non-angry conversation where you explain that you are very worried, that your first concern is to keep him safe (no car, no job, no freedom) but then the ball goes in his court. Straight up, ask him what his plan is to earn your trust back. How will he show you that you can trust him to make good decisions? Get HIM to tell YOU that he's going to abide by the curfew. That HE will make it possible for you to check up on him, so that every time he IS where he says he will be, you will trust him a little more. The more it comes from him, the better the chance of avoiding a balls-out power struggle. Plus, if you treat him like a basically good kid who made a big mistake, it leaves the door open for him to ACT like a good kid who made a big mistake.
    Wishing you strength.

  83. Ok, not trying to be judgmental here but the first mistake was trying to get a lesser charge. He broke the law. And he did it knowingly, willfully and willingly. You should have let him face the music on it. He needs to learn that his actions have consequences. And yes, I have a son he's 4, when he is 16 and he does dumb shit like this this is what I will do to him as a favor for him because if I don't he's going to get hurt bad later in life. Your son is 16. Owning a pot pipe is a Misdemeanor. He's a Juvenile, once he's 18 you can seal his record and he'll go through his adult life with no marks on his record at all. The marks will all be in his memory where hopefully he'll be a little wiser.

    And yes, he may 'hate' you for a little while for it. My father was a cop and when I was a teenager pulling dumb stunts that I got caught at and punished for I 'hated' my parents but as an adult I am so so thankful my parents made me pay as a teenager because now I am a little wiser for it. My parents took away my car when I got a speeding ticket. My parents grounded me when I broke curfew. My parents let me spend a night in jail when I got caught breaking into an abandoned warehouse (Trespassing). My parents let me pay a fine out of my own money when I got caught shoplifting (I was lucky, I could have gone to Juvenile Prison). As an Adult I don't steal, I don't trespass, I don't speed. I'm not perfect by any means but if you want to teach your teen to be a human being you need to teach him that his actions will have consequences not just now but in the future.

  84. Take him on a tour of your local county jail. Yes you can totally do that, weird huh? Very rarely poor choices affect only one person...they usually affect several. Maybe if he sees the consequence first hand he'll think a little more clearly. And by the way, you are awesome for doing something about this. It seems like a lot of parents these days make excuses for their kids that it's something they'll grow out of but the fact of the matter is, teenagers need parents! So good job and good luck!

  85. I didn't read all the comments, but I wanted to highlight this part: "We already have our hands full with the Wildman's issues and now we have to worry where C is, what he's doing, etc." My brother has Asperger's and while my other brother and I turned out pretty well (I think!) we sometimes felt a lack of attention and I think my non-Aspie brother especially is now acting out and rejecting a lot of my parent's lifestyle and traditions (which hurts them, but thankfully he is being totally safe and very mild in his rebellion) because he got overshadowed in my Aspie brother's issues.
    So with that, I would suggest things like taking away his car privileges, not only as a punishment, but as a way to force yourselves to give him attention. He may not want to talk about things at first, but I think just by spending time together, you may be able to slowly bring back the trust that YOU need after his lying, and the trust that HE needs that he can tell you what he's doing with himself when he has the privilege of using the car again.

    I say this on my credentials as a sister, not as a mom; I only have a toddler and a fetus so I'm a ways away from dealing with this first hand as a parent.

  86. I'm 35, with a 5 and 7 year old child. I recently sat my parents down and asked them how they made it through my troubled years (which were ridiculous and involved pot, and worse.) They admitted it was super stressful, but they new I'd turn out okay as long as I never got into the big 3: Crack, heroin and meth. Most people grow up and come back from the rest. I also take my kids to the downtown east side sometimes to hand out food or toques to the homeless (I live in Vancouver, Canada and it's pretty bad down there) so they are familiar with the effects of the big 3 and drugs in general. Also they're doing charitable work, and learning not to judge people. (The people down there, while being sad and messed up, are exceptionally kind and we've never had a problem.) The pot is not a big deal, at all. If you're concerned about the "gateway" effect, take him to hand out meals to drug addicted homeless people. Let him see where it can lead. You don't even have to say anything, he'll put the message together on his own and it will be better than you telling him. The curfew stuff.. well, congratulations, you have a teenager. Punish the child, certainly, explain about about mutual trust, but remember that we become functional adults through making mistakes and learning from them. I hope I remember this when mine are teens, I can only imagine how stressful it must be from the parents side. (I remember my mom almost having a breakdown.) Best of luck, but if they're loved, safe and well-raised (and it sounds like they are) they usually turn out okay.

  87. The best piece of "advice" I am qualified to give you is - REMEMBER YOU DON'T HAVE TO HANDLE THIS ALONE!! It really does take a village to raise a child, and I'm sure there are plenty of people in your son's life who care enough about his present and future well-being to help you. Contact his school, his manager, his friends, his friends' parents, everybody and tell them what's happening. Get them involved to help you keep tabs on him, to help him have a reminder of the principles and values you attempted to instill in him from a younger age (i.e., don't lie, don't break the law - bottom line is that pot and/or drug paraphernalia is STILL ILLEGAL, until it is legal it's not okay for kids to be doing. By the way. What kind of message is that to send kids? That you can break this law and it's okay, but you can't break others? Why on earth should they listen to you and obey your authority then??).

    It may sound like being stalkery-ish or "invading privacy" or something, but really - who among us doesn't act better if we know other people are watching? And hopefully, doing what's right because other people are watching him will turn into a habit strong enough that he will do what's right when nobody is.

  88. D. here again. Just wanted to clear a few things up. C. was living with my dad and his wife (for a variety of reasons including him not wanting to be around his little bro)when he was caught smoking pot. I made him move back here because of it. Dad was giving him too much freedom (like letting his 18 yr. old girlfriend stay overnight). Also, in this state, if he has a license, he HAS to have car insurance, even if he doesn't drive/have his own car. He is working to pay for that insurance. I don't know how we can get out of that. I thought of turning in his license, but I don't know if that will cause him problems later with getting it back/getting insurance. Also, in this state, even just the trouble for "just" the pipe will on to mess up his chances later for jobs,etc. He was caught smoking pot before school that day. He was failing two of his classes and one he kept sleeping in. He played it off of course, but now we know why he was doing so poorly. I'm really worried how he plays this off as no big deal. I've done alot of reading on this and pot is not the same as when I was younger. It's more potent and often, things are added to it, some of them very dangerous. I also didn't realize it could cause elevated heart rate and high blood pressure, both of which are health issues in our family. And as for his "father" or sperm donor, he said it was just because he's so smart and he's just bored, nevermind that it's illegal you genious! His father has been absent most of his life and I married his stepdad when he was 5. A. has been really good to him. C is a smart kid, but his school work went downhill a long time ago, laziness, I guess. Then he started smoking pot and started failing classes. He did manage to barely pass exams at the last minute, but couldn't do it with chemistry last semester, so he'll have to repeat it to graduate. Sorry, I'm rambling! The Blur and lack of caffeine have gotten to me and I keep forgetting the points I meant to make! Kids fry your brain, just like drugs do!

    1. Given the extended information you just provided, I would move in the direction of Family counseling for you and him. It sounds like C has a lot of, for lack of better word, crap in his life. I suspect there are a lot of emotions going on inside him that need to be dealt with.
      I agree with you about doing your best to help your son stay out of the justice system. All the crap he is dealing with now should not effect his life in 10 years when he will most likely be past a lot of it. There is validity to "aging out". I'm not saying blow it off and act like it didn't happen, but neither should you go to the other extreme. The fact is, he is only 16 years old and that is still a kid. His brain has not even fully developed yet (which really explains a lot about teenagers when you think about it) and there is a reason why you are not considered an adult until you are 18.
      And my last point, I swear. Of course you are not going to be your son's best friend, but neither should you be a prison warden, you are a PARENT. You clearly love your son very much and as a parent, it is your role to help him in the best way possible. Since he is a teenager, don't pre-determine his fate (i.e. treat him like a criminal), but help him get through the emotional roller coaster he appears to be on BEFORE the horror stories everyone keeps posting about happen. Because the fact is, what leads to drug addiction and downward spiral in life is not determined by our actions when we are teenagers, but rather the inaction of dealing with the actual problems, treat the things you have found out about as symptoms. For example, if I am losing weight because I have cancer, all the ice cream, chocolate and cheeseburgers in the world are never going to cure my cancer.

  89. This sounds totally calloused and jaded but: natural consequences could be something that helps.
    If he makes decisions that cause negative consequences, he must be the one to deal with him.
    You can and should show genuine sympathy and concern, but bailing him out will only make it that much easier for him to come to you to "fix" things in the future.

  90. He's probably got other issues for the reason behind his acting out. If he gets into trouble you CANNOT bail him out, he will think he can do whatever and not have to deal with it himself. He could end up dead my dear. Seek counseling for not only him but yourself. It's almost impossible for parents to step aside and lets their kids learn by their mistakes when they are so grave. You have to know whether or not you are enabling him or doing what is right by him, and not what makes you feel better. If he has a drug problem it is not something you can fix, he has to do it on his own. He'll more then likely have to hit bottom before he'll want to change. Hang in there and if you are concerned for his safety get him into an institution. Don't think that giving him money or things will help him, he will use it to get drugs and cause him more problems. You have to know when you are actually doing what's best for him or telling yourself its what's best to give yourself an excuse to enable him so that you don't feel bad for him going down hill.

  91. I am the daughter of an alcoholic and married to a drug addict (now in recovery for nine happy - but at first tumultuous - years) with three children ages 11, 8 and 5. I worry that they will go down the path that may be built into their DNA. So I'm coming at you with my own baggage.keep that in mind...

    You just found out about your son's misbehavior so you really can't tell if this is just "teenage" stuff or something that could turn...chronic. We all know people that used pot in high school and are fine now - parents, co-workers, coaches. That doesn't mean it's not dangerous and illegal. What I can tell you is, if it continues to worsen and you suspect addiction - seek help ONLY from parents and other people who have been in this situation. People who have not experienced drug use or addiction in their house will never understand what you are going through. Do not try to label him and do not try to compare him to other kids his age. Always love him. Take care of yourself and your family because this is a problem that affects the entire family. I know what it's like to check pockets, sift through trash, drive past places where someone said they would be and they weren''s not a great feeling. Good luck to both you and your son.

  92. I'm the mom of a special needs 8 year old and a perfectly normal, rotten 16 year old! lol
    My son sometimes feels he gets "lost" in the shuffle since we spend so much time, energy and effort on trying to help our daughter - she has learning disabilities as well as pretty serious health issues - so double whammy. I can tell when he is needing more attention bc that is when he starts acting out.

    I personally don't think it is "no big deal" as some of the previous posters have (I did not read all of the responses). Yes, so a lot of people do it - a lot of people don't. I did not. My husband did. We are in agreement - it is a very big deal and our kids know how we feel about it.

    When my baby brother was 17, my parents kicked him out of the house - they told me it was bc he broke curfew. I let him come live with me. He was in high school and worked full time. I found marijuana and pills in my house (along with "dealer's tools") - so I called the cops. He spent one night in jail. It created a lot of issues with my parents bc they thought it was perfectly fine to send their drug-dealing kid to live with me - the "responsible" one. I was 26 - not really equipped to deal with a teen drug-dealer. He turned in his supplier and was on probation for 2 years. His record is now sealed and he has an awesome job, daughter, etc. He told me recently that if it were not for me, he would be dead in a ditch somewhere.

    Kids need boundaries is what I am saying. Boundaries and consequences. I am not saying I am perfect by any stretch of the imagination!!!!! Good luck!

  93. I have to say, I am really surprised at the number of comments about not freaking out about the pot usage, and practically sweeping it under the rug. I'm 25 years old, and while I was never a troublesome child in high school, I did smoke pot on occasion in HS and college. I have to say, I got nothing from it, and I wish I never had done it. I had to wait 5 years to apply for some government jobs I wanted because that's when they look most in depth to your drug use. I also tried Robo Trippin (cough syrup) in college (dumb idea)... All of this is stored in a computer and can be pulled up by any government agency now when they need to do a background investigation or renew my security clearance.

    I honestly have no problem with people smoking pot as long as it doesn't interfere with school/work/life... but it's really not worth the hassle later on. Nor is it worth the money!

    My parents were pretty strict with me. In college I went a little crazy, ended up drinking all the time and my first semester of my freshman year, I was put on academic probation. My parents stopped paying for my school and I was on my own. I ended up coming home to take care of my mom when she was diagnosed with stage 4 creast cancer, and I STILL haven't finished college at 25. I do have a great job, am married and had my first daughter in October 2011. I turned out just fine. But I do regret some things I did when I was in HS and college.

    If my parents hadn't been as strict as they were, and I wasn't afraid of them, I probably would have tried more than pot and cough syrup.

  94. Job is a priviledge. My son is 17 and can't find a job. He is an Honors student, no trouble, dually enrolled at High school and the local college and still can't find anything. (18 and up around here!) If hard working students can't find jobs, imagine how difficult it will be for someone with a criminal record. Why should someone who willingly did what he did get the honor of keeping a job? There are no jobs in juvie!

    It goes without saying: No car, no keys, no job, no electronics, basically a self imposed house arrest. I would not plead down to a lesser charge either. You do the crime, you do the time. He knew what he doing when he lit up, he knew what he was doing before he cut class, he knew what he was doing when he lied about his work schedule, he knew what he was doing when the cops showed up.

    I would change the work hours to tough FREE community service: working in a soup kitchen, cleaning animal shelters, picking up trash, dealing with the homeless. I recently read an article where a parent made their own child wear a sandwich board on a busy Miami (?) intersection that said : I thought pot was more important than grades - or something like that. Dad made him stand out there for a whole day. Dad stood next to him that whole time. The dad said something like he wasn't going to let a teaching moment slip.

    Here is your moment as a parent. Don't let a major teachable moment slip. Teenage boys can be hard headed. Sometimes you need to get them where it hurts.

  95. One last thought on this subject: I saw a good student, with a full ride scholarship to a good four year university blow it-- over pot. Yes, 120,000 scholarship down the drain because of pot. The scholarship was rescinded because this student had pot. At the time, the kid thought they wouldn't get caught. At the time, the kid thought it was only pot.

    The scholarship committe didn't think so. 120,000 later, this students name is off the list. Now I wonder if this kid will even finish high school. My heart breaks. Here was a good sweet kid- who did their best and tried hard in classes turn around and get involved with a hot mess. Now he has no scholarship, no free ride and a record. I say to this kid "Was it worth it?"

    120,000 free ride-completely gone-over pot. 120,000 taken away - all that they worked for- gone. A chance to change and get out of your environment- gone. A chance to get out of a vicious cycle- gone.

    All because of pot.

  96. I know this sounds bizarre, but what about scheduling some time with him to just hang out? Take him out to breakfast or ask him to do things with you. You sound like a totally great mom, but could he possibly feel a little left out if there are a lot of issues with Wildman? (I totally don;t know if he feels that way - it was just my first thought.) Maybe time with him that is just relaxed and intentional would help. I so hope things get better for you!!!

  97. As for cars/insurance. You can just let the insurance lapse and let the car sit in the driveway. Just because you own a car, doesn't mean it needs to be registered/insured. Take the plates off, hand them in, and tell the kid that he no longer can drive until he gets his act together. You (as the mom) keep his license. Put it in a safe deposit box until he earns your trust. And then only then, can he get a job pay for tags/insurance reinstatement. I'd rather give the DMV the money instead of some dealer.

    Sounds like this is NOT the first time with pot-since he was living somewhere else. The older girlfriend has to go as well. He's underage, she isn't-- that is illegal-end of story. If she is supplying the pot, she has that charge as well as indecent acts with minor, etc. Yes, consequences stink, but let the charges go. If you let them get lessened now, he will think its ok until he gets caught with something serious.

    Yes, the charges will hurt his chances for employment, and college. But with teenagers the long range planning skills absoluetely suck, so a kick in the pant reality check will make them think about that.

    And yes, pot is very different now. It is laced with all kinds of crap. It isn't the feel good kum by yah bonfire stuff anymore. It is highly addictive.

  98. So at one point in my life I was just like C. So, this is coming from the point of view of somebody who has been there, got in over her head, proceeded to hit rock bottom, and then fought and scraped and forced her way back out....

    Despite my parents intervening, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Some kids have it easy, they do something stupid like this, they try to ignore their stupidity, but eventually they learn before anything bad happens. Those kids have it easy. Others have to learn things the hard way and for them to do that they have to come to the answers on their own. But before you lose hope, here are some things I wish I could have done or had people force me to do/realize when I was just starting out down that path....
    1. Volunteer hours. Make him cut back at work and replace those hours with volunteer ones at a local rehab center or homeless shelter. It will force him to see (and hear) first hand where drugs can get you in life.
    2. Actions = Consequences. 1st offense = no car for a week. 2nd offense = no car for a month. 3rd offense = no car for the remainder of the school year/summer. If they complain about getting to school or work without a vehicle, tell them that's what public transportation is for. And if they can't use public transport, then they can call a cab and pay for it out of their own pocket. A good way to ensure this sticks: Open the hood of their car and disconnect and remove the battery. If they try to replace it, disconnect and remove the distributor cap.
    3. Should he continue down this path, take an evening and bring him to a local Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Make him sit through the whole thing and listen to those stories from the people whose lives were ruined by drugs. Make him talk to some of those people about how it happened, where it started, etc but don't hover and monitor the conversations. They may be able to relate to him in ways he's not comfortable discussing around you, but their insight into the dangers of drug use can change his life.

    The most important thing I can tell you from my experience is that parents are not the easiest people for teenagers to talk to, and I'm sure if you look back you'll remember that. Sometimes there are just things you don't want to discuss with your parents, so as much as you want to duct tape him to a chair and demand answers you can't. You have to remember that teenagers are like sand, if you grip them too tightly they'll slip right through your fingers, if you hold them gingerly they'll stay with you, and if you apply just the right amount of pressure and stability then over time they can transform into something solid and beautiful that can stand alone. And that's the goal, isn't it? To guide them as well as you can, but still let them make their own decisions so that eventually they can stand on their own and keep making the right decisions.

    Good luck!

  99. I agree with most of the previous commenters - pot is not your major issue here - the lying is. I think it is time to strip him of priveleges and get back to basics. If he has a car and driver's license, I would take his keys, license, etc. Drive him to and from school, to and from work, to and from his scheduled activities, etc. He needs to start earningyour trust back. His paychecks should be kept under your supervision for a period of time so that you know where his money is going (not to his pot). He is going to be mad for a while, but in time as he matures he will appreciate what you are doing. In the meantime, you need to get him some help and get to the root of the problem about why he felt he needed to lie in the first place. He obviously has some trust issues, maybe some anger issues. I know my niece (15) has dealt with anger issues with her parents over her brother (11) and his Asperger's. She has had anger over the time and attention that has been given to dealing with his diagnosis, tantrums, etc. over the years and she has felt ignored and neglected. There moay be some underlying things going on here that he is dealing with. But you need to protect him while you deal with healing from whatever is going on.

    Most of all - reassure him that he is loved and everything that you do from him from here forward is for his own good and is not to punish him but to help him get on the right track so that he can have a good future.

  100. Wow, what a hot topic!! D, you have a long road ahead, but don't you worry - we all have long roads ahead of us and we don't always know what is coming around the corner! One thing you can take away from so many comments is that many people have experienced difficulties (as teens, with teens, around teens) and there are so many factors and circumstances that affect the situation. I grew up with a special needs brother (who lives with me now that we are adults) and I've never been high in my life (unless you count the morphine after surgery a few weeks ago!! That was interesting!!). I've never been bitter or resentful that my brother required more attention than me, and I've not sought addictive or illegal substances to deal with my supposed anguish. That's kinda bullschmidt as far as I can see - blaming the situation. We all make choices and we all have to live with those choices. As a parent, I am always trying to help my kids make good choices (as you do as well). I try to give them infomation (doing drugs can fry your brain; alcohol is illegal at your age; driving requires attention and caution; etc.) but I cannot be there every moment to make sure they make the best choice. Sometimes, they make choices I wouldn't make, but they turn out to be the right ones in the end. I think C is making a lot of poor choices. I think you will do your best to try to guide him on another path. I think showing him these comments from interested readers is a great doorway to have discussion on what you agree with and disagree with. I don't think sending him to jail will solve anything, but bailing him out of trouble with no consequences will certainly make things worse. Kids lie to their parents. We lie to our kids (why yes, darling, there is a Santa Claus). I think what C is lying about is a problem and there should be consequences for that, too. What is clear is you are concerned enough to still be trying to help him. It may be a long road, but definitely worth the trip. No one knows where it will go, but you son is worth the effort. Every time. Even if it doesn't work, he is worth it. Good luck!

  101. Again, thanks everyone! Your response has been awesome! I appreciate it so much! :-) D.

  102. all i can say is don't ignore the pot. my son was caught at home by his dad. grounded from everything. next up: pulled over for underage drinking (not driving). and finally nearly beaten to death by "friends" who were out of their minds on prescription drugs.
    It took the ER doctor saying "I can't believe he doesn't have a brain injury" to make him realize he was in trouble.
    And six months later, I still don't believe he's really at work all that time either. But he is 18 and I'm not going to throw him out on his own when he's proven he can't handle it.

    Good luck!!

  103. The most important part is that you are actively involved in solving the problem, asking for help, and standing by your son. Too many kids go that route only to have parents look the other way and just hope it goes away. I agree.. driving, a job, freedom... all those things are privileges, and looks like he is not earning them, so driving him where he needs to is a great idea. That ways he has to stay where you put him. I say he also pays for his own legal fees (pays you back when he earns it at work). Talking to an uncle that went through it is also a great idea. Anyone he respects and loves laying it out can really help. Luckily, he is only 16, and has time to get his act together before applying for school or a job. People that can turn around look good. If he is charged and found guilty... of anything... help him face his new obligations (community service, etc) stand behind him, but make it clear this is his consequence, and he needs to face it like a man. No whining. A conviction may be best, if that's what it takes to wake him up. Most of all, don't forget yourself and the rest of your family in this. Make sure everyone has someone to lean on, to talk to, someone to support them while you all support C.

  104. I know I am pretty late to the party here.

    First off, if pot is an issue for you, then you need to make him aware of the expectations. While I tend to agree with you on various points regarding potency changes and other safety issues while under the influence, using these as reasons why it is a problem will turn his ear off (especially if mentioned during a lecture). Also, using the 'it is worse now than when I did it' will make you sound like a hypocrite. The fact that it is illegal and not allowed in your house is enough of a reason. That alone should be grounds for punishment, which have been quite well covered.

    Secondly, I am not sure why the 'friend' going to a different school district is a problem, I met people from all over the county when I started working in high school, and after school would be the best time to hang out when our work schedules didn't conflict. If you are pretty sure they are up to no good, the driving C to and from school would be the best solution (hide his car keys they usually were in my mom's purse, which she had on her at all times, it generally worked for me).

    Thirdly, the reason he was at your father's is pretty telling - some form of counseling or spending time with C will probably help quite a bit. I am pretty sure the falling grades aren't so much laziness as other issues he needs to be working out.

    Finally, be very careful in how much you work on the legal issues around being caught with the pipe. Don't let this be a 'get out of jail free card' - there may not be legal repercussions this time, but he needs some form of consequence - paying the legal fees, or working for your lawyer friend to pay them back, etc.

  105. I haven't read through all the responses, but the plain fact is that right now, pot is illegal. I too used to smoke pot and I'm not gonna lie, if it was legalized tomorrow, I'd get me a H-U-G-E stash...just sayin. Pot is illegal...plain and matter how you feel about it.
    When I was younger and came home late or broke any other rule (lying included), I lost my car priveleges...if my parents didn't feel like taking me to work, they would check my mileage before I left for work and when I came home from work. There had better not been 1/10 of a mile longer than there should have been or I lost the car for a week or 5.
    You know your child and what action will best punish him. All kids are different. All 4 of mine have different punishments for different infractions. I take away whatever will teach them a lesson and make them learn. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Roxie! I totally forget about the mileage meter trick! My parents did that to me once! I think I'll use that!

  106. While I'm not a mum to a teenager, I am a college administrator - which makes me the lady your kid gets to talk to about whatever poor choices they may have made once they step foot on university property. In my view, many of the commenters here have it nailed right on the head - the pot is certainly not a brilliant moment (and regardless of his or your thoughts, it is bottom line illegal), but the bigger issue is lying (I've told many a pot smoker in their "verdict" letters: tell me you were indeed toking and got caught. we'll tackle that one issue together. try to tell me you weren't when all my reports say otherwise and your consequences just doubled and you get the meaner version of this meeting).

    I don't know where you're at in talking with your child, but there are things I ask every one of my conduct cases, and it might be worth asking your son the same:
    1. Do you understand what was wrong about this situation? Don't explain it to him, have him explain it to you. Have him outline exactly where he thinks he got out of line.
    2. What led you to make the decisions you did to get to where you're at now? Have him back-peddle, to before any of what he perceives as his missteps took place. And have him walk you through it in his perspective.
    3. What could have happened differently to lead to a more pleasant outcome? Don't let him off the hook if he says something snarkish like "if I didn't get caught". Lead him back to the outline he gave you in #2, and ask where in that line things started to turn and what part his choices played there.
    4. Ultimately, he made the decisions he made because he wanted to in some form or another. Work out the pros and the cons of each choice you made (pot, lying, etc). I have my students make a physical, written list. It's a good way to close out the discussion.

    Lastly, and really this is the important part for you: work out what his consequences are from YOUR end as the parent and outline them for him clearly. Once he has completed that - you have to let it go. I'm not saying forget that it happened or give him all the trust back. I'm saying, remember that he is your son first and foremost, and that he's not defined by this one incident, so you shouldn't treat him as if he will forever be tainted. It will do nothing but strain your relationship. Some of my favorite students are kids I met after their first week in a conduct case, who learned from the experience, and now visit my office to say hi and show me a silly you tube video.

    Best of luck. Not a fun conversation.

  107. Let me preface this by saying that I am not (yet) a parent, but I am a therapist that has worked with kids/teens/families for the past 10+ years in a variety of settings.

    I would echo a lot of what the other readers have said.

    #1 - Counseling - Family and individual. I would stay away from medications. But C needs someone to talk to, you need someone to talk to, and the two (or 4) of you need someone to talk to together. Ask the school social worker for a recommendation.

    #2 - The legal stuff - As much as kids need consequences (more on that in a sec), I think you made the right choice with getting C a lawyer and hopefully helping him to avoid legal consequences. These can have many damning and really long-lasting detrimental consequences (like not getting into college, not being able to rent certain apartments, not getting certain jobs...). He's 16 and 16 year olds screw up. It's not an excuse; it's a fact. But he doesn't need jail, and given the information you've provided that explain a little about why he is acting this way, being "scared straight" won't work, it will just lead to a bigger grave the next time he is caught - and if this is your only approach there will be a next time.

    #3 - Consequences - Kids need them. And yes, they are a giant pain for the parent to execute, and yes you have your hands full with his little brother, but really that's your job. Taking away his car, following up with his boss, etc as other readers have advised is one way to go and is certainly reasonable and effective if you can stick with it.

    One family that I worked with had a really creative approach to a similar situation that I thought I would share with you. In exchange for the help avoiding the legal consequences, they instituted Smith-Family-Court, and all of the consequences that would have happened had the kid gone to real court were put into effect, but without the record looming. Kiddo had to pay a "ticket," perform community service, attend a certain number of AA/NA meetings, get a chemical dependency assessment, pass random drug screens, maintain grades and school attendance, documentation of work hours, early-ish curfew, etc. The parents and a few (adult) family friends would do drop-ins to make sure that he was where he was supposed to be and the teachers were in email contact with the parents to report when something was amiss. Most notable and very helpful was a "family time" requirement. Kiddo had to spend at least 14hours per week with the family - playing games with his siblings, just talking to his parents, whatever. All of this was written into a contract at the beginning as the terms of his probation, and whenever he messed up, "court" was held and additional consequences were assigned. At one point he *really* messed up again and lost the privilege to have any privacy - bed was moved to the dining room, mom picked out his clothes, no electronics, an arrangement was made for him to be escorted between classes at school and eat lunch in the social worker's office so that he had zero socialization... If he ever felt that the parents were being unreasonable, he could as for a "review of the case," where he and his parents would present evidence to three parties (one reasonable adult that he picked out, one his parents picked, and me) and we would "rule" on the matter. It took a lot of work and dedication from both him and his parents, but after awhile it worked. The "terms of his probation" expired, but he actually still abides by them, uncoerced. Last I checked, the "family court" was still in effect, for him and his younger brother, and he was even allowed to be the "reasonable adult" that his brother used for an "appeal." Obviously not an idea that will work for all families, but creative and effective for this family.

  108. Hi:

    Sorry to say that I have no really sage advice. But I do have a TV recommendation (stick with me please)...
    If you can, get a copy of Adam Hills' "Inflatable" show. He's a comedian who springs to mind for two reasons: 1) he has a really terrible/funny story about a Scottish forensic pathologist (or a somewhat similar job) that may open the door to a conversation about drugs; and 2) he discusses the importance of being an "inflater" as a person, which may enable you to talk about the type of person you want to be... and he may feel able to talk about who he would like to be?

    Good luck!

  109. I'd say both the lying/sneaking around and pot smoking are big deals. (One is dangerous and disrespectful; the other is getting him in trouble with the law and could have major life consequences further down the road if he gets caught again.)

    If he won't obey the boundaries you give him, then you cannot trust him with those boundaries. I would make the boundaries smaller until you can trust him. If that means him quitting his job or paying you to come get him each night, or losing car privileges, then I'd say that's what you need to do.

    Depending on the circumstances, I like the suggestion some people are making about counseling for him and maybe the family. It might help and it would give him an adult to discuss these things with that he doesn't have to prove himself against. I hope things get better soon!

  110. I will say this: I am totally not qualified here, but what I see here is a lot of "Tell him this, tell him that, explain to him this, show him that, do this to him, do that to him." I wonder, would it be so bad to go for a walk with your son and ASK him what is going on with him and ASK *HIM* what he wants to do about it? ASK him where he wants his life to go, ASK him how he wants to get there. ASK him what you can do to help him. ASK him how he thinks his current behaviour is going to affect his life in one month, one year, 5 years... etc. Get him to think a little beyond the here and now, but get him to do it himself.

    Your son is 16, he needs to KNOW right now that he is not a complete F**k up and that HE is in charge of HIS life and HIS consequences. He is becoming an adult and that means taking control of HIS life. Ask him to write down his life goals, to draw his life map and to figure out what he needs to do next. Then, make sure you are giving him the support (not restrictions) he needs to follow his life map. Check in with him regularly to make sure he is getting enough help, attention and support.

    And finally: keep him busy with things that help him along his life map. Engagement keeps young adults away from dangerous activities. Our grannies were right: idle hands are the devil's workshop. But also engaging activities (i.e. volunteering, sports, hobbies, etc) build self-esteem and give kids the tools they need to follow their life maps with deliberation.

  111. Show him some before and after meth pictures - they are widely available online. I can barely stand to look at them, but it might be good for a 'fearless' teenager to check them out and see what happens to normal people (of MANY ages!) when they travel too far down the road of drugs.

    Best of luck to you! Please post an update letter later this year and let us know what worked/didn't work.

  112. If he isn't harming himself or others, which it doesn't sound like he is, I would concentrate on figuring out why he might be acting the way he is. It may take talking to a neutral third party to see some things about your relationship that you can't.

    My brother and I both acted out in high school doing similar things as your son because my mom didn't trust us. My dad wanted to be supportive of my mom so he always backed her up. It got to the point that my mom would drive around looking for my car to see if I was wherever I said I was. If she didn't find my car, I'd be punished. It took a good counselor to identify we had a trust problem and work with the entire family. Neither of us were "bad" kids. We got decent grades and were generally the responsible kids amongst our friends. When mom didn't trust us, we started to not trust her. We didn't tell the truth because we knew the answer would always be no and the punishments would always be severe.

  113. Thank you again to everybody for your advice! And thanks Lydia and Kate for putting my problem on here so I could get some help! Ya'll are the best! C. and I have talked and he has a whole lotta rules that he's got to go by. He's not allowed to stay at work late unless a manager calls me. I am watching his odometer to make sure he isn't going anywhere but school and work. He is subject to drug testing without warning. Still working on the therapy thing, there aren't too many in our area. Anyway, please keep us in your prayers! Thanks again everybody! :-)

  114. I'd take away the car and he can only drive it to work and back. I hope he's paying the insurance on the car and the insurance is only in his name and not you or your husband. I hate to be frank, but if he gets into an accident and the insurance is in your name - you can be sued for everything you have. My parents made us pay for our own insurance and would not put us on their policy for this exact reason. As soon as my brother heard that from my parents, he shaped up or knew he would lose his keys to his car. I wish you the best and I'm glad that you are enforcing rules. My next step is that if rules aren't followed, the car and the job go.

  115. 1) I fully support doing what you can to make sure his legal issues relating to the arrest don't have an impact on his career or college prospects, but I would stop there. No matter what your feelings about how big of a deal smoking pot is, he still did something illegal and got arrested. That shows poor judgement and he should experience consequences for that. One option: he helps pay for the attorney and your time and effort, either with the money he earns or through trade (work for you, the attorney, or even community service). Even if the attorney is a friend and isn't charging you, this can still apply. Explain to him that he is almost an adult and you are expecting him to act like one by facing consequences.

    2) I highly support the use of a therapist, but I don't agree that it should be a family therapist. In my teenage experience I know that therapists needed to feel like a truly safe place in order to be effective. It's particularly easy for teenagers (in their me-against-the-world mindset) to decide that the therapist works for the parents, and the therapist becomes useless, just another adult to fight. Invite him to help select a therapist (from a list of suitable professionals). Let him go for a trial session and if he wants to try someone different, let him. And (this is the hard part) agree that he has the right to witness any communication between you and the therapist. No talking about him, only with him. This doesn't mean that there shouldn't be family sessions, but they should be with his knowledge and collaboration. If he wants you to back off, back off and find a separate family therapist.

    3)Cars and jobs are not a right.

    4)Every serious discussion begins and ends with an I love you.

  116. Wow, this sounds like a massive overeaction to typical teenage behaviour. The kid has a job and you don't mention anything about him doing poorly in school. If he's still achieving well, and he's able to do well at work, I'd keep the lines of communication open, have a frank talk about drug abuse but back up and let the kid live. If I'd been grounded for getting high at school, I wouldn't have stopped getting high, I would have gotten better at hiding it. Therapy for getting caught getting high? It's not like he was snorting lines here... The reactions here seem all out of proportion to the crime.

    1. I do not feel like I am overreacting at all. POT IS ILLEGAL! And he was failing Chemistry and Algebra 2 while he was living with my dad and smoking pot when he got the chance. I have seen what pot can do, firsthand, what pot can do, with more than one person close to my life. I don't want my son ruining his life with it.

    2. I'm assuming you live in the US...where "pot" is illegal...unless you have headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cancer, glaucoma, an eating disorder, or just a really cool doctor who will give you a medical marijuana card? Maybe it's different in your state. How much trouble is a paraphenalia charge anyway? I have to say I would be shocked if it were more than a fine. How could it be when you can buy "paraphenalia" legally at the mall?

      I think instead of going straight for "never do this ever" there should be an open discussion about the negative effects of smoking, how driving while high is never ok, etc. Just look at how "never do this ever" works when you're talking to teens about sex. Honestly, your new rules and random drug testing (!!!) make it sound like living with you might as well be living in jail.

      You say he has a job, and goes to school, then he goes to a friends house (after telling you he's going there?) after school? That's not an offense in my book, why does it matter if the friend doesn't go to the same school? Lying about where he's going after work is an issue, but not one that's going to be solved by inflicting prison worthy rules on him. And failing two classes while not living at home doesn't seem like it's the drugs fault. It seems to me that the drugs and the failing classes are both symptoms of whatever was causing him not to live at home and the stress of having to live at grandpa's house instead of at home with his parent(s).

      Idk, I knew a LOT of people as a teen who smoked marijuana, now as a 30 yr old, some of those friends still do, but ALL of them have good jobs or careers, and are responsible functioning members of society.

  117. He's 16, take his keys, make him quit his job, and ground him. Nowhere but school and home. Or, you could always just let them take his butt to jail. Tough Love.




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