Cannabis dilemma - sorry a bit long - different than the other cannabis post

(22 Posts)
bargainmad Wed 04-Jul-12 10:51:35

My son is 17 very soon and is in danger of getting kicked out of college very soon due to a very poor first year doing A levels and dropping 2. He has no work ethic whatsoever and can't or won't motivate himself.

He is bone idle at home also but to add to this (and maybe the cause) he has been dabbling in cannabis for the last 3 years. We found out very early on so have always had our eye on the ball and limited any money. It is only in the last 6 or 7 months that we have had to get really tough and give him nothing (except the odd fiver for food when we are going out) as we got a call from one of his teachers to say he stunk of cannabis at college. I have no doubt all his dinner money or most of it was going on cannabis and I found all the text messages to prove he was doing it before college.

He has had a sandwich crisps and drinks every day since then and I am not backing down by giving him money. For all I know he sells these. We found an empty bag of cannabis in the house a few weeks ago after his friends were round - he admitted it was his but only because I threatened to go round and see all the parents - I don't know whose it was but I think his friends are sharing theirs with him.

We have given up asking him to do anything in the house as he can't have any money - if he did do anything he would ask for money. We are in a catch 22 situation.

I have told him he is not even getting a bus ticket in the holidays so I don't know what he is going to do. He said he is looking for a job - I am fed up of telling him finding a part time job is a job in itself.

He has wanted a Stone Roses since the concerts were announced 9 months ago and I told him last week if he jetwashed the drive and made it look like new (which would take him at least 6/7 hours) I would get him one but he said this was out of order he wanted the money to get his own on the day! Consequently he never did the job but bombarded us with text messages that weekend to beg and plead for some birthday money early.

He was the only one out of his group not to go.

I doubt if he will manage to get a job for the summer but if he did, our dilemma is that if he does get any money the cannabis issue will most definitely escalate massively. He hasn't to our knowledge sold anything yet but he has stolen from my purse on three occasions but been caught every time so everything is now under lock and key.

Anyone any ideas??

Maryz Wed 04-Jul-12 12:06:36

I don't know if you can stop him sad. We never could.

And in the end we gave up on restricting money too much, as he started dealing angry. At least he didn't call it dealing - he would get stock from the local dealer, split it into, say 10 lots, collect money from the nine to pay for it and keep the 10th lot as commission hmm. Which is, apparently, how the dealers distribute it.

He is now earning, and paying for his own drugs, but short of kicking him out we have never found anything he wanted more than cannabis. I believe he will only stop using when he finds something he wants more than dope.

Does your son recognise that cannabis is affecting his concentration, behaviour and motivation? Does he want to stop? Can you talk to him, or will he talk to anyone else about it? Have you a local youth drug centre where he could go for counselling? Do his friends who went to the concert using cannabis, and where are they getting their money?

The trouble, I have found, is that so many people tell them cannabis isn't addictive they refuse to believe they are addicts. He will happily tell himself that he doesn't need it, he is using it for fun, to relax, to escape from your nagging hmm, etc etc. But until he recognises it is ruining his life he is unlikely to give up.

Sorry this is so depressing sad.

bargainmad Wed 04-Jul-12 12:37:03

His friends are all decent lads from decent families - they are certainly not "druggies" and are all home by 11 pm every night. One has a part time job as well as college and I think the others get their money from their parents. I have been threatening my son for ages with walking round to all their houses and speaking to their parents - for all I know they might not know anything about the cannabis - the worrying thing is in a text from one of them it referred to strange dreams after taking cocaine.

Do you think I should speak to their parents Maryz? The local drug counselling people I speak to sometimes say they would definitely want to be told if their kids were doing it but my husband is not so sure.

My son can't be getting it every day as he has no money - he never comes in "stoned" or completely out of it but I always know when he has had some as I am so fine tuned to it now, so to speak. He doesn't even have a mobile at the moment.

The most worrying thing was when I found it he was doing it before college - that particular boy's mum didn't know anything about it until I told her!

Re the dealing you mention above - I think that is what one his friends is doing. The lad whose mum I told, told her one of them was pushing it on all of them - they would find someone else to get it from anyway.

Myself and my husband cannot live with the idea that any money we give him might go on cannabis - it drives us mental to say the least - so he is getting nothing. My sister was a chronic drug addict and is now a chronic alcoholic so I know exactly what my mother went through and I will follow him through the street if necessary if things get worse.

He is a closed book and denies he smokes it much so there is no point in talking to him. When I got the call from college I said he had better go and see a drugs counsellor but he said it certainly wasn't a problem and he refused to go.

I don't think it can be skunk Maryz - would he be completely out of it if it was?

Maryz Wed 04-Jul-12 12:52:40

My son is a decent lad from a decent family (as probably is yours); it doesn't stop them being stoners, sadly. It is very unlikely he is the only one in his group to be smoking dope, it just doesn't happen. I suspect their parents just don't know.

There is little point in speaking to parents unless you know them very well - they may know and be in denial, even if they don't know, their kids may lie to them, there is nothing to be gained for you and it will worsen your relationship with your son.

I have found that the more ds takes, the less noticeable it is - in the old days when he had a joint a week, he would be obviously stoned; later when he was smoking all day every day he would appear perfectly normal confused. Maybe he got used to it, and so used more and more.

I think you should find someone to talk to. There should be a local drug counselling/support centre near you. Go and talk to them, see what they say. Counselling really helped me - it made no difference to ds because he wouldn't go, but it made a difference to how I (and dh) reacted to it, and life at home has certainly been smoother.

Cannabis is a horrible life-destroying drug. Despite all the liberal lefties saying "a bit of dope never did anyone any harm".

The only real advice I can give you (and again apologies for the depressing "acceptance" that appears in my posts) is to try to keep the lines of communication open, try to keep him in education, see if you can broaden his interests at all (ds only got really bad when he gave up all his sport and his friends). And most of all look after yourself. You have to detach a little to stay sane.

Do you have other children? Because it can be tough on them too.

lazymum99 Wed 04-Jul-12 12:55:21

Agree with Maryz. Every penny DS1 gets through work or otherwise goes on cannabis. I'm hoping that starting university and meeting new people and getting new interests may mean he will cut down.
Restricting money doesn't work, they sell their stuff or pseudo deal.

Slightly different situation here as he was on much stronger stuff (serious opiate and valium addiction). He managed to get off these and has been 'clean' for 5 months after a horrendous time. But now smokes too much weed. For us this situation is more manageable although not what 'we' want.

bargainmad Wed 04-Jul-12 13:21:50

Lazymum99 - your son is obviously doing okay educationally if he is starting university? By opiates do you mean cocaine - that must have been horrendous - was all that before the cannabis?

My son will probably get kicked out of college. I know Maryz said to try and get them to stay in education but if they are doing the bare minimum and getting nowhere, what are you supposed to do? This may sound bizarre but in some ways I want him to get kicked out as it may jolt him into reality. He only has to get 2 grade Es to do his second year and he was struggling with that.

He has no interest in college, he only goes to see his friends, and he is not going to achieve much whilst he is there. He is doing English which is a joke as he never picks up a book or newspaper and doesn't do any homework.

I think some kids can smoke weed and keep everything else going quite nicely but my son definitely can't.

He hasn't sold anything yet but then again he doesn't have much as he uses my ipod, my younger son's bike, my younger son's x-box etc etc.

He has asked to go to a festival this year and I have said there's not a chance. I have heard it's the most skanky druggy festival going - Global Gathering - he would pick that one!

lazymum99 Wed 04-Jul-12 17:34:10

Cocaine is not an opiate and is too expensive for this age group mostly. It was codeine and morphine style stuff and it was horrendous. He did manage to deal with school work. he is extremely bright and does want to achieve academically but has underlying mental health issues which is why he was using the drugs. Then addiction took over. He smoked very little weed when he was on the hard stuff. He has been on his year off this year and got himself off the opiates/valium but is overdoing the weed. I hope it does not interfere with next year at university. He now makes little/no effort to get a job or do any chores. He plays on playstation most of the day and then smokes.

When we did stop his money he borrowed all over the place and sold stuff. I'm not entirely sure that he is not doing the type of dealing that Maryz describes.

Anyway, unfortunately there is little we can do. They have to sort their own lives out. When they want help we are there to pick up the pieces.

Bumbaclot Wed 04-Jul-12 22:04:00

"has underlying mental health issues which is why he was using the drugs."

Important distinction here. Drug use caused by mental health issues rather than drug use causing mental health issues.

"Cannabis is a horrible life-destroying drug."

Hyperbole?

My teenage brother ate a mars bar everyday and ruined his life. It was those bloody mars bars that did it. Forget the fact he's a hormonal teenager at a rebellious age dealing with whatever pressures/problems that may arise. Instead of dealing with issues, it's easier to play playstation, smoke weed, drink booze, gamble, eat junk food - whatever. People can do these things without ruining their life so maybe there's more to it than just blaming the activity. Actually forget all that, it's easier to just say "insert habit here" ruins lives.

Maryz Wed 04-Jul-12 22:23:53

Oh fuck off bumbaclot, your comments are not helpful to the many, many parents who are coping with their children ruining their lives by using cannabis.

No matter how many times you say "I know loads of people who use every day and it never did them any harm", for those of us dealing with it every day it is a real and scary problem.

Go and spout your shite somewhere else.

Bumbaclot Wed 04-Jul-12 22:54:07

I appreciate the passion Maryz but how about addressing my argument? Why is it shite? Have you ever smoked weed? Did it ruin your life?

Maryz Wed 04-Jul-12 22:58:38

You don't have an argument.

I have said all along, that for some people, especially those with various mh issues, cannabis is a massive problem.

You seem to disagree and think that posting all sorts of anecdotal evidence about milk and mars bars disproves that.

Do you really think that we have not tried to address our children's underlying issues?

Do you really think that cannabis does none of our children any harm?

Do you really think that posting on threads that cannabis is harmless makes it so?

And did you join this site specifically to post on this issue? Surely you can find somewhere to pontificate where people might be interested in what you are saying?

Just how do you think that any of your posts on here help anyone?

Just posting "your problem isn't a problem" is not helpful.

I don't understand why you can't see how annoying it is to be told that something that has nearly killed my son and has killed more than one of his friends is not a problem.

MrsMcEnroe Wed 04-Jul-12 23:14:02

<applauds Maryz>

lazymum99 Wed 04-Jul-12 23:37:56

Yes, in our son's case the mental health issues came first and he used drugs to self medicate but this has led to a serious addiction problem. To us it does not really matter what came first, it has to be dealt with as one. Addiction is a mental health issue on its own whether to drugs, alcohol, gambling or whatever. It is just often accompanied by other mental illnesses.
Maryz is the first to admit that her son had various problems before he found drugs.

flow4 Thu 05-Jul-12 00:34:55

Bumbaclot, bugger off. You have another thread to go and play on: this one is not about debating the ins and outs of cannabis use; it's for someone asking for support with a teen whose use IS a problem.

And yes, for the record, I have smoked it - regularly though my late teens and early 20s - and still do occasionally if someone hands me a spliff at a party. And no, it hasn't ruined my life.

But my 17yo son is different: he has done countless things he wouldn't have done if he hadn't been smoking so much skunk: he has dropped out of college; stolen over £1000 from me; got stoned enough to enter an ex-friend's house at night and steal her phone and be arrested for burglary; played with fire in his school building and risked burning it down; smashed up bits of my house when he's lost his temper; assaulted me; taken M-CAT several times because (he says) "it's a deng drug mum, I hate it, but when I'm stoned it just seems like a good idea"; climbed into a too-small cupboard 'to hide' and barricaded himself in our house and done other weird and irrational things; invited a convicted armed robber and drug dealer into my house when I was at work; sold all his stuff... I could go on...

I don't give a flying fuck whether the egg came before the chicken, and doubtless he has 'issues', but don't a lot of teenagers? And how can you tell if your own teen is going to be one of those affected until it's too late? Cannabis is a dis-inhibitor and makes him behave like an arse if he smokes too much; and it is a sedative and makes him unable to get his act together and get up in the morning; and imo skunk also makes him aggressive.

Like you, he doesn't think his cannabis use is a problem. hmm

Most of the adults he comes into contact with have no idea. They can probably smell it on him a bit, from time-to-time, but he's polite and even charming if when he's out and about during daylight hours... And most adults don't ever enter the 'twilight zone' occupied by disengaged youth sad

Bargainmad, I find it hard to 'walk the line' with money. Like maryz, my experience is that he steals if he hasn't got any; like you, I find it hard to bear the thought of him spending my hard-earned money on drugs. In the end, the 'compromise' I have found is that I no longer give him any 'money for nothing' - he has to earn it. He's lazy, so that doesn't happen very often... But I want to encourage him to work and generally 'make an effort', and I'd prefer him not to sit around all day every day, so on balance it seems worthwhile. In any case, he has a casual job, so can get money for himself sometimes, so it is simply beyond my power to keep him totally skint.

I don't think I'd tell the other parents, unless they're your friends. My friend did, and the other parents went into denial, and basically scape-goated her son, and his reputation was destroyed as they told everyone in the neighbourhood he was a dealer who had given drugs to their children sad

Bumbaclot Thu 05-Jul-12 01:00:39

"I have said all along, that for some people, especially those with various mh issues, cannabis is a massive problem."

So is it the user that's the problem or cannabis?

"You seem to disagree and think that posting all sorts of anecdotal evidence about milk and mars bars disproves that."

They're not anecdotes, they just use the same logic as some arguments here have used. Replace mars bar with weed in the last example, can you see the resemblance?

"Do you really think that cannabis does none of our children any harm?"

I don't believe it causes any significant harm. That doesn't mean they should be using it, it requires responsible usage. Just because you can drink a glass of wine every night without significant harm doesn't mean a child should.

"Do you really think that we have not tried to address our children's underlying issues?"

To me it sounded like the only issue was cannabis and it was cannabis that ruined his life. What other underlying issues might you be referring to?

"Do you really think that posting on threads that cannabis is harmless makes it so?"

Show me where I've said that.

"And did you join this site specifically to post on this issue? Surely you can find somewhere to pontificate where people might be interested in what you are saying?"

Why are you debating if you're not interested? How do you know people aren't interested in what I'm saying? I'm not saying they are, but you can't be so sure either.

"Just how do you think that any of your posts on here help anyone?"

Knowledge is helpful.

Jennylee Thu 05-Jul-12 01:23:33

My brother ruined his life with cannabis and will tell anyone that talks about it that it did . He thought it was fine he never listened to me . Then he started getting strange episodes ruined his mental health and got in trouble with the law . Now no one will give him a job with his record and lack of work history .he stopped five years ago when he ended up in jail. He came back a zombie traumatised and stays with my mum and dad has no friends. He started at 13 . Middle class nice parents thought it was better if he did it in the house as he was then safe . Thought if they gave him money he would not have to steal. He probably was self medicating undiagnosed aspergers syndrome. But that was one issue . Coupled with cannabis his life is fucked. This has made me very strict . My own son has had his money stopped . Kept in . I will not allow it pay for it it condone it. He sees the state of his uncle and still would be right there with the kids who accept him trying to fit in whatever it takes . He has aspergers too . I won't do what my parents did . I will do whatever it takes to help my son have a different outcome . My parents are wracked with guilt but they were trying their best . It's always better to try and then you know you did right by your child. Whatever the outcome turns out to be. But I have no answers maybe my son will still do it when he is older . I hope he matures enough to understand not to do it.

Jennylee Thu 05-Jul-12 01:31:05

Bum this thread is not really aimed at your points . It's about parents whose children's use is causing them problems . In their family where it is harming under their circumstances. The fact that you like it and it does not harm you is not relevant to these parents wishing to help their children Who are clearly , they know their kids clearly causing the children difficulty. You don't know their kids I don't know them. I know my d's when he smoked it was agitated paranoid and aggressive and looked awful. I saw that with my own eyes it is the truth. If only it just made people stoned and happy.

jomojomum Thu 05-Jul-12 08:24:04

My DS had a similar experience. He has aspergers too, as well as anxiety issues and started using cannabis (and other drugs on occasions) regularly at 16, probably because it helped calm him. He became completely paranoid, thought he was being followed all the time etc and started hearing voices. Luckily he was open enough to tell us and we got help from the child mental health service. With help he realised what the cannabis was doing to him and stopped it. He has been so much better since, but is still very sensitive to it and finds himself becoming stoned at parties from inhaling the fumes from others. He is now 21 and really getting his life sorted, but I dread my other children getting into it. Many kids these days have underlying anxieties which cannabis can amplify while appearing to be calming.

sashh Thu 05-Jul-12 08:37:18

OP

Get the parents together, you need to support each other. Tell them, if you didn't know your kid was smoking at another house you would want to wouldn't you?

Maryz Thu 05-Jul-12 10:07:05

Unfortunately my experience with telling other parents was the same as flow's - the other parents closed ranks, they and their children lied to the school, and my son (who admitted everything - he has Asperger's and didn't lie at all at the time) got the blame for everything.

The fall-out, especially for my younger children, was horrific sad.

Be very careful with other parents - their priority is their children, and they will happily hang your child out to dry to save their own.

I'm going to start a thread in site stuff about getting a support thread going for this - just working out where to put it. Come over and let me know what you think, whether it would be helpful or now.

Maryz Thu 05-Jul-12 13:17:07

Would any of you be interested in some sort of support thread about this, that we could direct new posters to? There seem to be a lot of parents like us around at the moment, and posting here always seems to attract the "cannabis does no harm" comments hmm.

If you are interested, you might have a look at my thread here and comment. Thanks.

flow4 Thu 05-Jul-12 23:56:06

Maryz, you said something elsewhere that is clear and true and relevant here, so I've cut and pasted... (Hope you don't mind!):
"You wouldn't go on an alcoholic support thread and post wine is good for you, or go on a sleep thread and say "oh, ffs, just put him to bed" or go on a thread about depression and post loads of links to sites which say anti-depressants are bad for you and you should just buck up and sort yourself out, or on to a home-ed thread and tell everyone to just send their children to school".
True, dat. I hope the troll(s) read and take note.

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