Knowing your teens friends

(43 Posts)
Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 13:52:01

Just wondering how many parents out there would think it strange that my DS15 has never let us meet his friends and when he goes out we never know where he is or who with. He may say I'm going to ' jack's house ' but if we don't know Jack that means nothing, even if it is true. We know they smoke weed and I don't know if the extreme secrecy is driven by desire to use drugs in houses with less parental supervision.
Would other parents be uncomfortable with having pretty much no idea who their teens are mixing with other than knowing they are fairly local ?
We have encouraged him to invite mates round, we have TV for kids in separate room , Xbox , but he says no way would his friends want to come here. I've tried to entice them with pizza etc !
What can I do if he really won't bring them round ? I don't know any other parents of this age group as he has blocked me out so it is hard to know what is normal.

FrauMoose Sat 23-Nov-13 11:47:28

I don't think the parents who say, I'd lock them in the house, ground them etc have a clue what it's like.

My stepson began being interested in alcohol, tobacco and soft drugs in his teens. Both me and his father were recreational dope smokers in late teens/early twenties. For many people it's a phase they grow out of - although for some it is not. Weed is not more addictive than nicotine, and many parents seem very indulgent indeed about teenage abuse of alcohol.

(Skunk is however stronger than the stuff that was available thirty years or so back.)

I think working really hard to make sure that schoolwork gets done, and that money supplies for buying dope are restricted, and to keep dialogue open is the way forward.

Most teenagers don't want their parents socialising with their mates, other than the occasional smile or 'Hello'. It's normal.

SoonToBeSix Sat 23-Nov-13 12:01:55

I have a 15 year old dd , I she would never be allowed to go to anyone's house I didn't know. Just tell your son he isn't allowed to go and if he wants to see his friends you have to meet them and their parents first.
A general curfew but not knowing where you child is exactly is not enough.

Ragwort Sat 23-Nov-13 12:51:04

I think you are in a horrible situation and it is certainly not helpful when other people say 'just don't let them out'. I had a close relation with a troubled teen who would just climb out of the window when she was grounded; the parents stopped giving her any money so then she started stealing - they felt they had to go back to giving her money to stop the stealing, it was a viscious circle. When I went to stay with them they had to tell me to keep my valuables with me at all times sad.

I don't know what the answer is, you have my sympathies.

Claybury Sat 23-Nov-13 16:58:21

Thank you rag and Frau
Even if we decided never to let him out how on earth can that be enforced in practical terms? Would I never go out myself? Take him along on all my errands ? He's 16! Is that what people are suggesting ?!! Like looking after a toddler who can't be left ? I have deliberately worked hard to maintain a bit of a life for myself ( hobbies/ friends ) for my own sanity.

As it is we certainly don't have the freedom parents of teens might enjoy - we rarely leave him to his own devices for long and we avoid creating situations where teens could congregate in our house when we are out.

Golddigger Sat 23-Nov-13 17:04:46

If this had happened to me, I would have considered moving, perhaps to a more remote area.
But at 16, I guess now he would not go. Or if he did, would not come home.

On the plus side he is motivated by school. Is there a reason for this? Has he a specific career or goal in mind?

Charmingbaker Sat 23-Nov-13 17:44:39

I have a 15yo DS. For him and his friends drugs have been readily available for the past 2 years. We found out at the start of this year that he had been dabbling with weed. Talking my friends with DCs of similar age it shocked me how common it was. We did ground him far a period and made it clear we would not tolerate him using drugs whilst in our house. In reality I suspect he has dabbled with it since, but he doesn't stay out late and we've never seen him stoned.
One thing we did do when we first found out was make a conscious effort to have more family time. We try at least twice a week to do something together that he will enjoy. It might be football with DH, a meal out together or watching a film or boxset. I'll also try to get him to pop to the shops with me once or twice a week, even if it's just to get some soft drinks in. It's a good chance to just have a chat. It has made a difference, he has even been known to sit in the longe for a while voluntarily. We have always made it clear that the main reason we don't want him taking drugs is because we care. We also talk about what he wants for his
future. Interestingly as GCSEs are approaching he is seeing that several of his friends/ peers who regularly use drugs are underachieving and he wants to do well.
My advice would be to try and create some family time, even if it means sitting through films that you have no interest in and also talk about the future. What does he want to do next, is he on track, grades can fall very quickly, so make sure you are getting regular feedback from school that he is still on track.

FrauMoose Sat 23-Nov-13 17:57:35

The advice about moving to a more remote area caused a wry smile. I live in a big regional city but most of the small towns in the surrounding rural counties have a thriving drug trade/real drugs problem. Young people can't drink underage anymore - funding for activities for teenage/youth activities has been cut - so one of the major leisure choices for adolescents who don't want to spend the entire time doing homework and/or watching TV with their parents is getting stoned with their mates.

At least if you are in an urban area,there will be a few more sport centres, cinemas, other places where young people can meet up.

Golddigger Sat 23-Nov-13 18:02:51

I was thinking more remote than that Frau. Thinking more of a middle of a moor or something. I do realise that the idea may not have worked though. And may have brought with it a whole new set of problems.

Claybury Sat 23-Nov-13 18:26:14

Gold - you ask why he works for school. I don't know but thank god!! . Even though he's at a big city comp it seems the kids think it's cool to be clever. Being a druggie and getting good grades - having it all so to speak. No long term ambition just not wishing to look dumb.

Charming - you're quite right about the box set and we do that on nights when everyone is in - most school nights for an hour before bed we try to watch something together.

optimusic Sat 23-Nov-13 19:52:57

It isn't neglectful as someone posted. Keeping tabs on teens is very hard, and not as easy as some of these posts are making it out to be. Demanding to know where they are and refusal to allow the out doesn't work, instead it leads to lying about where they are.

It isn't easy. It doesn't help that some parents let their dc's and their mates smoke in their homes.

I know you say he goes to a therapist has it ever been suggested that you see someone alone and as part of a family? It can be very useful when things have broken down

FrauMoose Sat 23-Nov-13 21:50:42

Oh I'd also be aware of sterotyping 'nice' e.g. polite, well-spoken middle-class friends whose parents live in big houses as likely to be A Good Influence, while assuming that anyone who mutters and is shabby and isn't from an affluent area is 'undesirable'.

I discovered that the absolutely charming highly articulate boy I met via my stepson was the guy who my stepson was buying his drugs from...

NoComet Sun 24-Nov-13 00:46:48

I absolutely agree that the tightening up of underage drinking has been very damaging to young people in rural areas.

We drank in the local discos from 14 and pubs from 15. We couldn't afford to get drunk and the 18-26 yearolds (siblings, friends and fellow young farmers kept an eye on us).

Now DCs get pissed on cheap takeaway cider in the local
Park and the drug dealers know where to find them.

There were drugs in one pub in the next bigger town, but it was said our local rugby club had made it clear they weren't welcome in mine.

NoComet Sun 24-Nov-13 00:52:00

And nice DCs are certainly not always nice, most expensive school in the area expelled several boys for drugs.

flow4 Sun 24-Nov-13 09:11:24

Yup, I also think more rural areas can be more risky for teenagers. The situation starball describes is exactly what happened to my DS: instead of drinking in pubs with older men to keep an eye on them, as 14-17 year-olds routinely did until a decade ago, they hang out in parks and car-parks, and occasionally in someone's home if their parents weren't around, without supervision, and drink/smoke/take whatever is offered to them.

Teenagers get into awful situations because dealers wait until they're drunk to offer them other drugs, and there are no adults around to keep the dealers away, or to say to the teenagers "You don't want that mate, it'll make you feel shit tomorrow and you'll owe him thirty quid you haven't got".

That kind of situation is happening every night, all round the country, in towns and cities as well as villages in the countryside... But urban areas offer more alternatives: more choice of friends and different social circles, cinemas and other things to do, pubs and clubs they might get into, part-time jobs they can't be stoned for...

But in most villages after dark, more kids are getting stoned than going to scouts, and that's all that is on offer to teenagers from lower income families. sad

I have in fact recently moved away from a village and into town, and a key reason was to get DS1 away from the group he'd got into... It has worked for us... I half-wish I'd done it a couple of years ago... Though realistically I think that if we'd moved when DS1 was at his worst, rather than this year when he was ready for change, I might have lost him completely.

FrauMoose Sun 24-Nov-13 09:27:27

How many MN parents have smoked cannabis themselves?

Having done it myself quite regularly at one stage, I suppose the degree of my concern now would depend on how often it was done. Of my two stepchildren one tried it at the odd party, the other became a heavier user. I was not in the least concerned about the one who just wanted to see what it was like. With the other it was more problematic.

I suppose my feeling is that it can make people boring and apathetic. It's not cheap, so it's an expensive habit if pursued regularly. It makes clothes smell.

But I suppose when I did it - a long time back - it also did feel very pleasant at least some of the time. I was brought up in a terribly prim and proper and formal and joyless way, and there was a sort of relaxation and freedom associated with rolling up joints, inhaling etc.

I think it's quite natural that teenagers want to explore being and feeling different. However it's a pity if smoking dope is the only form of 'difference' that is available, or which they want to pursue. (I think the nicotine element is a huge problem, because that's so addictive.)

Oh shit I am sorry.

There is a brilliant mumsnetter on here called Maryz with real experience of what you are going through. There is a support thread in teenagers, I will go and find it.

I have no personal experience, but I grew up in a tiny seaside down (next to a bloody great moor) and the vast majority of people smoked weed. I relocated when dd was 10 to get away from it. We live in a fairly grim city now but she has not been exposed to half the drug culture she would have been if we stayed there (in pretty Devon). She says if she had stayed there she would have been going round the back of the cliffs smoking weed and skunk along with the majority of her old school friends. In remote areas there is little to do and because of poor transport links it's hard to get out. Just had to make that point.

Claybury Sun 24-Nov-13 21:12:37

Frau - my DS knows I've never smoked anything. He uses that as an argument saying I just don't understand. Can't win!!
I'm also concerned about the nicotine. Having found tobacco in his room he tells us he doesn't smoke tobacco. When pushed he said he just mixes it with weed. So he doesn't see that he's smoking tobacco. It can be the tobacco that you get addicted to rather than cannabis.

I guess it doesn't really matter where you live.....

NoComet Sun 24-Nov-13 22:52:26

Yes we got a letter from school a couple of years ago, with an official police warning about making sure your DCs were where coming home, going to friends after school not in the park getting stoned on dark winter evenings.

I'm very glad mine come home on the bus to the middle of nowhere.

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