to ground my 14yo DS, even if he is telling the truth

(52 Posts)

I'm a fairly relaxed parent (I hope) without going overboard on the "not caring", my DS2 spends quite a lot of time "hanging around" with his friends. We live in a small town, where there are loads of teenagers harmlessly "hanging around" in the parks and sports grounds, there is very little trouble (in 12 years I've never heard of any violence), no gangs etc, although there is certainly an element that is into drinking, drugs etc. My logic has always been that a) we are well known to everyone and I would hear about it if he was doing anything he shouldn't and b) that I would trust him unless he proved that I was wrong to do so. I know that 1 of his friends but until yesterday I would have sworn that DS wouldn't do so. Last night I was told by a friend that he was seen getting into a car and smoking. I wasn't aware that any of his friends was old enough to drive. He still swears that he doesn't smoke, that his friends do and he sits in the car while they do so. (Obviously there are dangers about passive smoking). AIBU to ground him for a while, at the same time as having a long chat about the company he keeps and passive smoking?

dexter73 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:49:15

Tbh I would find it hard to believe that he hasn't tried smoking with his friends. My dd comes up with the old chestnut of 'X was smoking so that is why I smell of smoke' and I just don't believe it as it is the same excuse I used on my parents when they asked if I was smoking!

5madthings Fri 26-Apr-13 08:52:27

Err have a chat with him by all means but grounding him wont stop him from smoking if he is going to smoke he will.
I think at this age you cant dictate their friends, keep communication open and talk to him but dont go overboard.

Really sitting in a car and smoking or passive smoking with friends is not something massive on my list of concerns re my teenager. Obviously i would prefer it if he didnt smoke but i dont think.having friends that smoke means he is keeping 'bad company' and you risk pushing him away if you have an over the top reaction to.this.

He has always been VERY anti smoking, to the extent that he didn't want my brother to visit over Christmas as he "stinks of smoke" (he has actually given up, but that's a tangent), his clothes do smell of smoke as they would if he had been sitting in a car but I can't smell it on his breath and his fingers don't smell strongly. I can't make up my mind whether he is really smoking, but I still want to ground him for a bit.

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 08:54:22

TBf is he maybe telling you what you want to hear I used to keep my 15 year old friends fags for her because and I quote her dad would beat her up if he found out , yeah right they were mine, teenagers are not all bad and your son is just hanging out with his friends and you dont really know what they are up too, grounding him may be ok for a while but you can't ground him forever. tell him the dangers of 'passive smoking' and keep an eye on what they are all up too, that is really all you can do IME

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 08:54:31

I think it would be unfair to ground him for something you admit you have no evidence that he's actually done. And merely being in the company of smokers is not really enough of a reason to ground him either. If he goes of to university, he'll be around a lot of smokers - what will you do then?

By all means, chat about the implications of passive smoking & why exactly it is that you're concerned but I think in this instance you'd be being unfair to actually punish him, which is what "grounding" is.

If it's any consolation, some of the people in my DS's class smoke and he's been offered and said "No thanks". I believe him. And believe me, if your DS was smoking, you'd smell it on him.

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 08:55:20

but i dont think.having friends that smoke means he is keeping 'bad company' and you risk pushing him away if you have an over the top reaction to.this.

^ ^ this

HeathRobinson Fri 26-Apr-13 08:55:54

Mmm, I dunno, sometimes people don't look properly! I saw a friend's son in passing, in town a while back. According to him I went into a pub. Actually I went down the small lane next to the pub. (Shortcut to way home.)

Sallyingforth Fri 26-Apr-13 09:00:15

The car thing is a concern though. Under-age driving is a quicker way to die than smoking. I'd want to find out more about that.

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 09:02:51

probably older teenagers hanging about in cars, it happens with crowds of friends more than likely where they all hang about that it being under age drivers,iyswim I would ask about them though who are they

I'm not worried about underage driving (well I wasn't until now anyway *worried emoticon*) as the boy is actually 17, but then I worry that my 14 yo is hanging around with 17 yo's. Those of you with little children, make the most of it, it gets worse grin

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 09:07:35

I think the 17 yr old is probably just showing off his car sigh my friends son was a bit like this at 17 they all used to hang out in car parks not driving just sittingconfused and there was always younger boys going ooo look car grin

BarredfromhavingStella Fri 26-Apr-13 09:44:35

No I wouldn't ground him for this, just have a chat to him re smoking & possible consequences of it.

Will point out though that as a child I was VERY anti smoking, didn't stop me being a smoker from 14 to 25...

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:27:58

Yeah, agreed - being very anti-smoking is not really a good indicator of whether someone will go on and some. Most smokers were quite anti it at some point.

I do share your concerns, Just - I'm desperate for my DS never to start smoking. I just don't think grounding him in this instance is going to achieve much except piss him off and make him even keener to spend time with the people you'd rather he avoided.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:28:43

good indicator of whether someone will go on and some Huh? I meant....go on and smoke. Sorry!

I agree that many "anti" smokers go on to smoke, it was just that it was so recent that he was very vocal about it. Total turnaround in a couple of weeks seemed odd. Maybe we need to rethink our course of action.

Grounding won't do anything. Do you really think he's going to stop hanging out with his friends?
Also I wouldn't assume he's lying (not that you are). My friends could stink of smoke but weren't smokers themselves- their boyfriends were, etc.

A lot of kids go through a fierce anti smoking phase.....then all of a sudden they realise that it wasn't built on that much. Then they become more relaxed about it and might try it and then they might stick with it, or not. Most don't.

Not to be harsh OP, but I really don't think it'll do anything good.

Couldn't you make some sort of deal with him- if you let him try it once or twice a week, and not by using your money at all (e.g. if you give him pocket money, he can't use that) he might be v. grateful for the bit of freedom and feel guilty if he'd betray that. Just a thought. I'd def have stuck to that if my dad had discussed something like that calmly with me.
I know you shouldn't have to make deals with kids etc etc. But he's 14, not so much a child anymore!

* And actually, my parents were VERY strict in some ways, but not in others, where they were quite relaxed. When my dad "caught" me smoking in my room he was very calm about it and just asked me not to do it in the house, and lectured me a bit (he could get very worked up about other things, so I knew he cared). So now I'm at uni, they'll ask me, can you not do X around your family abroad, can you not bring X substance home etc and I'm happy to agree and stick to it because they were so reasonable before. It makes me stop and consider things.

I would believe him without question (I did) if it wasn't for a close friend telling me that he had seen him. Now I'm torn over whether he's lying through his teeth (as I would have done at his age) or whether my friend could possibly have made a mistake (but he's very sure). At the moment he's been told he needs to come home tonight so we can have a talk.

Oh I see, I hadn't read that your friend had said something else, sorry.
I'd say all that and I bet your DS will confess to it and you can move on to the discussion about whatever you're going to do.

I don't think grounding will help at all. It will just make him resentful and when he gets back out in 2 weeks no less likely to smoke again, just more likely to lie to you in future.

Basing this purely on me at that age, I would say of course he is smoking and the risks of passive smoking while in the car will be laughable to him.

Let him have a bit of freedom, with the ground rules that you always know where he is and who with.

TSSDNCOP Fri 26-Apr-13 10:52:21

Isn't is possible that he person reporting him made a mistake? You've discussed it, he's denied it. If a mistake has been made, it'd be really unfair and might stop him opening up to you about other stuff.

This episode would fall under the category To Be Seriously Discussed. I'd save the big guns for something a lot more serious.

I was a rabid anti smoker until I was 15. Then I turned into Bridget Jones. I've stopped again now <halo emoticon>

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Fri 26-Apr-13 10:53:47

"I can't make up my mind whether he is really smoking, but I still want to ground him for a bit."

why? confused

i think grounding him is a massive over reaction for smoking, especially when you dont even know if you think he was or not.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Fri 26-Apr-13 10:55:52

is wanting to ground him your reaction to the 'shock' of hearing he might be smoking rather than a logical reaction to it?

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 10:58:35

when dd was younger I was a grounder for everything blush It ended up her being quite sneaky about things so I had to rethink about it, and pick my grounding battles I was quite a loon strict about everything I feel sorry for her now thinking back

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