Friday, 6 November 2009

Day 6 A.D.

Finding out for certain that your son has been smoking pot is not unlike having a houseful of kiddos with swine flu: A parent worries and stresses, plans to prevent, and prepares for the worst, then once it happens, the energy shifts. Now it is time to take action and do all the things that need to be done.

Over the last 6 days there has been very little talking. There has been no yelling, no lecturing. There have been no temper tantrums (by parents or son). Everything has been communicated through actions.

My 17 year old has been following me around the house a bit. He just seems to want to be with me.

This evening he started to talk. He said he was feeling anxious and a little stressed. We actually ended up lying on the floor, facing the ceiling and talking.

He is wondering when some of the consequences will be lifted...he is starting to ask questions: What do the clothes I wear have to do with smoking pot? Why can I not see my friends? Why are you meeting me off the bus? Why can't I ride in the car with friends? He says he has stopped smoking pot now and he wants to return to his B.C. (Before Confirmation of drug use) life. Why do I have to see a therapist if I have already stopped smoking?

Ahhhhh, finally, an opportunity for me to teach him. No lecturing, just answering questions.

So, here are some simple short points I wanted to be sure to make:

1) When a boat hits rough waters on the ocean, the sails are pulled in, the cargo is sure to be tied fast. We hold on tighter until the storm is over and the sails can be opened again. We are in rough waters right now, and we are pulling in. Not because we don't think that we will get through the storm, but rather because we know that if we take these steps we will get through to the other side with less damage. Dad and Mom are the captains. We are in charge.

2) Stopping drug use is easy. Living life off drugs is hard. Our job is to help him to live life now. The therapist offers expertise we don't have. We need the resource. We are doing things now to help him live his life without needing to smoke.

3) The consequences are not punitive -- they are constuctive. What do we need to do to help you get through this? We are not out to get you. We are in this together. We are on your side.

He stayed on his back for over an hour. We talked, I listened. He was quiet. Most of the time. I was quieter. I was just there, beside him.

And I decided that I had to be the one to out-wait him. He had to be the one to get up first. I wanted to symbolize that I was not going to leave him. I wanted him to feel that although we have 8 kids, he is special enough for me to give him this gift of time.

Quiet, solid, still. I need to offer him what he needs. He needs to be willing to reach out and take it.

I think he is getting it.


  1. I really respect how you are dealing with this. I don't think there is anything else you could be doing.

  2. Your calm in the midst of the storm is inspirational! One of the most difficult things for our generation of parents is so many of us smoked when we were younger. For some parents this means they are nonchalent about their children experimenting, as they did, and for the kids it's a case of 'you did so why can't I?' What everyone forgets is that the weed is far more poisonous than it ever was, and often leads to harder drugs - crystal meth etc - which are highly addictive and ruin lives. I never tried pot or drugs of any kind because I was fearful it would exacerbate my tendency for depression. How do I get my kids to understand that they have the same weakness, and to stay well clear? Especially difficult when they're teens and hell-bent on doing it their way.

  3. Not to mention that it's illegal and if the kids get busted it can have huge, huge consequences on the rest of their lives. There's a lot of drug use in our teen community and my daughter is scared stiff of having to deal with it. Consequently she won't go to any parties. I keep telling her that she can go to certain parties (if I know the parents, if parents are going to be there etc) and it will be an opportunity to make some sensible decisions on her part, but she won't. I'm worried that she'll go off to college having never been to a party before.
    The decsription of you and him lying on the floor brought tears to my eyes. I bet you had to resist the urge to lean over and wrap your arms around him.

  4. It is so fortunate that you can have this open communication. It wasn't so easy with my own at 17, and now he is 18 and chooses to smoke pot. Having been a "stoner" in my day I have been down that road of telling him the true down side of it all. He understands. He is an intelligent person, so much more than I ever was or ever will be, and knows his limits. But still, I wonder and worry. At this point it is social use and not a daily routine. Much like having a glass of wine or a cocktail. But that is just my take on it. Keep on with the beautiful relationship you have with your son. Sounds like you'll make a difference in his choices, whereas I feel my son already knew what he was doing. He actually researched before getting high.

  5. Chic - Thanks for your kinds words. I really do feel the support.

    Vege - I don't know how to get kids to understand. 3 out of 4 of my older kids did understand. Why is this child different? I don't know. (And it's easy to sound calm over the blog-ways. I am calm with my kids, but I have not been sleeping well... I seem to process at night.

    Expat - Yes! The whole 'this isn't only my rule, it is also the rule of the larger community in which we live!' is critical. He actually brought that up so I didn't have to.

    Immersion - We are trying to keep the relationship - that is what it is all about. That's not to say that you don't have a relationship with your son. The truth is that our our kids are their own people -- they have to be. What they do is not always a reflection upon us.

  6. Hey a good sleep aid (apart from the obvious glass or three of fine red) is ginger milk - 1 cup of milk, 1/4 t ginger powder, 1 t golden syrup or honey (to taste) Put in microwave and heat until frothy. Somehow it works. But wine does too. take care xx

  7. I am in awe of your parenting skills. Mine have not been tested in this way, but I'm afraid I would fall far short.