Help, my teenage son is smoking weed
When you confronted your son about the bag of marijuana, he gave you an intelligent reply and it sounds as if this is a boy you can reason with. He said he only smokes pot occasionally, so at least you know what you are dealing with.
If he’s suggesting that marijuana is better for his health than alcohol then he is right, but in a limited way. It’s possible to die from binge drinking and it can happen very quickly after consuming large quantities. You won’t die from excess marijuana but the impact will nevertheless be there over time.
When you’re 17, you can’t imagine the repercussions of a conviction on your life, the risk of triggering a mental illness or the possibility of long-term brain damage.
The information regarding the effects of cannabis on the teenage brain are extensive and you are right to be concerned.
However, be assured that this is fairly typical teenage behaviour. Statistics show that half of all New Zealanders have tried cannabis and that approximately one quarter of those who’ve tried it go on to become regular users, so your son’s experimental phase is likely to be just that.
Convincing your son to look far into the future is made harder by the fact that his reasons for smoking cannabis will be about how he’s feeling right now. Usually teenagers start their habit because of peer pressure and social acceptance.
There is an immediacy about their choice that makes your rationale for looking into the future so much more difficult.
So, when you ask, how can I stop this? I think you should do what you’re doing.
You’ve confronted him and opened up a discussion, which is a good start. Talk about the possibility of him becoming addicted or losing his way (although try not to be too alarmist in these discussions as that will widen the gap between your perspectives).
Make it clear that, regardless of what he does in his leisure time with his friends, studying and achieving his academic potential is essential in your home. If he’s the boy you think he is, then he’ll process your thoughts, focus on his bright future, and the marijuana will fade into the background.
I’m worried my bright son will end up ‘‘brain dead’’ like the pot smokers I’ve met before.