Teenage son's partying requires strong parenting
BY AMY DICKINSON
Saturday, March 16, 2013
3/16/13 at 5:10 AM
Dear Amy: My oldest son is a junior in high school (almost 17). He has been a decent student, but we have had several issues since last summer regarding partying (drinking and smoking pot).
As far as we know, he is pretty honest with us regarding what he does. As parents, we have had many lengthy discussions about why partying of any kind is not good at his age. We do not condone it.
He tells us kids drink much more than he does. In fact, he says he really doesn't like beer but does like to smoke pot - not every day but on weekends with his friends.
He knows our stance on the subject, but he told me today that he cannot wait to go to a party this weekend and smoke pot.
We are at our wits' end. I appreciate his candor but fear that his behavior will catch up with him in a bad way. Is booting him out of the house the answer? I don't want to! - Tired Mother
Dear Mother: It seems strange that you would ponder booting your son out of the house before you would consider having a conversation with him that involves more than sharing your "stance" on partying. Your treatment of this topic sounds like you are educating him on the risks of high cholesterol.
The word "stance" implies standing. So stand up for yourself - and for him. Protect him from his own lousy judgment (he is 16!) and convey to him that you expect much more from him than to simply be honest about his poor choices. You expect him not to make these choices.
Smoking pot and drinking alcohol at 16 are still illegal in this country. This fact may actually compensate for some of your weak parenting, but have you emphasized this?
You could try to turn the page by saying, "Actually, honey, you're not going to be smoking pot with your friends. And if you do, we will find you and drag you home. And if that doesn't work, we'll call the police if we have to."
Get a backbone. If you won't stand up for your own beliefs, how can you expect him to have the strength to do anything more than weakly manipulate you? Some parents resort to random drug testing. While this may seem draconian, it can actually give kids an "out" when they're being tested by their peers. The experience of peeing in a cup might shock him into some awareness.
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