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Support thread for parents of teenagers with drug habits

(33 Posts)
Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 14:32:57

I have raised this before, but maybe you could have a look at this thread as an example.

A while ago here I asked could there be a separate area outside OTBT which would have the same purpose (support threads, avoiding derailing), but which wouldn't be deleted after a month.

I can't keep posting the same thing. There are more and more people with children with drug problems, almost always starting with cannabis. Every thread in teenagers or in mh is taken over by at least one "it does no harm" type poster, and the whole thread degenerates. I have avoided trying to help people for the last year or so for this reason - I am mentally exhausted by the argument sad.

I find it very upsetting that there is nowhere to go to talk about this. Being the parent of a teenage drug user is a very, very lonely place to be. You can't talk in real life, it's embarrassing, and people wouldn't believe you anyway.

I have suggested a sticked support thread - which is kept supportive and non-supportive threads are deleted - in teenagers, or an option of a thread in OTBT which stays longer than the month. Are there any other suggestions?

I support Maryz request. I havent had as much experience of it on here but after this morning I also think something needs done.

The comments being made are not another side of a healthy debate. They are cruel and misinformed at best.

As Maryz says, people (especially parents) need a support network which is free from the attacks similar to this morning.

Witco Tue 02-Oct-12 14:48:17

MaryZ, you hit the nail on the head earlier by saying that no one would talk about the harmlessness of the odd pint on an Alcoholic thread. Some of us are living with the results of Skunk every day and know first hand how destructive it is. We need somewhere safe to discuss this openly and help each other.

LauraShigihara Tue 02-Oct-12 15:02:29

I think somewhere safe to talk would be an excellent idea. I've been dealing with my son and skunk for ten years now and it is a horribly secretive family problem. One of the major issues for not discussing it is because of the terrible ignorance that surrounds cannabis use. That goes for real life, as much as on here.

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 15:07:14

I agree with that Laura.

And because it is illegal, it is even more difficult to talk about in real life. The reaction is either "oh, I wouldn't put up with that, why don't you (insert unfeasible and simplistic solution" or "keep him away from my kids" (followed by avoidance).

Here is the only place I have ever felt able to talk about it. And usually there are only about a dozen posts on a thread before it gets derailed.

EldritchCleavage Tue 02-Oct-12 15:09:45

I'm on the other thread, and pretty horrified. I support Maryz's request. In fact, this has application to a lot of things, including support for rape and abuse survivors. I wonder if we need a Support topic where people will be strictly and quickly deleted for goading, derailing etc. Posters are not starting these threads for some clever debate on basic premises, but for help and emotional support. Anyone who doesn't agree with their position can always start a general discussion thread in AIBU or elsewhere.

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 15:15:46

Yes, that's more or less what I suggested on the other thread.

I want an equivalent of OTBT, where threads are non-googleable (so the cannabis-searching fuckwits won't find it), and which will stay so that advice can be updated over time, and we can learn each others' stories and be able to support more (I have a head like a sieve and can't remember who is who).

And it should be supportive, so we can report (and say we are reporting) posts that are deliberately unhelpful.

So if, for example, someone comes along like on the other thread I could post "I am reporting X's post and asking to have it removed, so could everyone please ignore it so the thread doesn't get derailed".

Obviously if I'm being an idiot and it is a useful post, others could report me.

But on the whole we could stay supportive not confrontational, which is much more useful for people who are struggling with really emotive issues.

Similar threads for parents of self-harmers, partners of alcoholics, people who want to talk about depression etc would be useful.

And anyone who posts about having a problem with a teenager with drugs could be sent over to read it. There was a great, useful thread last week which the op had to pull, which meant that a lot of advice was lost.

Maybe I'm just being precious, but I find it exhausting posting the same thing over and over, but I just don't want to ignore desperate newbies either. I know how terrible and desperate they are because I've been there.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Oct-12 15:26:32


Thanks for this, and we do quite take your point about the other thread.

We'll note your request about a more permanent kind of OTBT, but the truth is that Tech's to-do list is so long at the moment that it would be a good idea to think of another way forward for now.

Perhaps (as several of you have suggested) a rolling support thread, clearly labelled as such, in 'Teenagers' (or another appropriate topic) would work?

We do work hard to keep unsupportive posts off threads that are clearly labelled as general support threads - so we could make a note to do the same with this one.

Does that sound like a possible plan for now?


Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 15:29:52

Yes, I'd be happy with a rolling support thread.

But we need to be able to actually say "I am reporting X, please ignore them" and know that it will be deleted quickly.

Or else every thread descends into a bunfight, which just makes those of us struggling with it feel even worse.

If people don't mind, I'll start one up tonight, when I've had a bit of time to think. Is that ok [power-mad-but-don't-want-to-look-as-though-I'm-taking-over emoticon]

If you state in the OP of the rolling support thread that if any such posts appear people should just report and not respond on the thread would that work?

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 15:37:27

Yes, that's a good idea. In fact, I might post the op here and see what you all think before I post it.

That way we could get something useful to a wide range of people.

wannabe, I know you aren't a parent, but your experience is useful to read (sorry about that sad) so if I start a thread as a "support of parents dealing with cannabis use" in the teenager topic, don't feel that non-parents can't contribute.

Thanks Maryz. It was horrible to go through. I can only imagine what its like for parents. I will be a parent of teenagers someday so I suppose its a learning exercise aswell as providing support where I can.

flow4 Tue 02-Oct-12 16:35:05

Yes to a parents-of-drug-using-teens support thread from me too.

I'm quite good at keeping calm and not rising to provocation, but I do find myself posting the same facts and research ("look here dearie, see, cannabis can be harmful") over and over again, which is a bit tiresome.

Also, maybe a bit of a side issue, but a couple of times I have made the mistake of posting on AIBU when really I just want to rant about DS - when he's gone off to get wrecked again but I don't quite want to say so - and last time I was totally flamed because of course the drugs are a missing detail and people don't know the background. Last time I realised what I was doing and hid the thread, but not before I was upset... So it would be hugely helpful to have a support thread where I knew I come come and not have to explain again and fucking AGAIN why I was over-reacting unreasonably so upset.

Rowan, back in July, HellenicGames said that kind of permanent OTBT would be available soon. Look...

HellenicGamesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Jul-12 23:29:35
Hello. Yes, we're looking at starting up a kind of OTBT Mark 2 that doesn't get deleted automatically.

We'll let you know when it's ready (reckon a month or so).

Thanks for your suggestions.

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 16:38:30

I noticed that flow - I was too polite to comment though grin.

I think it does help - I've been posting about this for a while and because I'm a bit, erm, opinionated, people now know where I'm coming from. If people don't know, they really don't understand.

If I had a euro for every time someone said "oh, just chuck him out" or "my child wouldn't do that" or "why don't you just ground him" I'd be a fecking millionaire.

I do sometimes wonder whether people really think I haven't just tried stopping him [baffled]

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 02-Oct-12 16:42:53

With my nephew, who moved in with us 3 years ago, people used to say "well why don't you just call the police?"

Well because everyone else had given up on him. My brother disowned him, he was living on the street until we took him in. He was 15 FFS.

and I love him to bits.

Yes, I heard "why don't you just do something?"

Yes, why didn't I think of that? Because I was just sitting at home eating cake whilst he was smoking £30 of skunk a day. Why didn't I think of helping him?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Oct-12 17:46:33


Thanks for that reminder of our previous thoughts on the OTBT2 idea blush - we will try to get you an update on that.

As always, we'd try to consider all reported posts as quickly as we can. Ultimately it does all depend on whether our inbox is on fire on any particular day, though.

We also couldn't promise to delete any post that expressed an alternative point of view (so long as it wasn't breaking the Guidelines in other ways) - 'I've smoked dope and it didn't do me any harm', that kind of thing.

What we have done in the past on similar support threads is step in when posters seem to be intent on using them to promote a particular agenda, rather than having a genuine exchange of views - or when people have been aggressively unsupportive.

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 17:50:23

But you see that is very difficult Rowan.

I bet you anything you like that if someone came on the "Brave Babes" thread and started saying that a glass of red wine a day was very good for you and that anyone trying to stop anyone drinking was a control freak you would delete it.

But because it is talking about cannabis, it's an "alternative point of view".

It isn't fair. And makes me not want to post any more.

EldritchCleavage Wed 03-Oct-12 10:39:24

Rowan, that's why I think the description of the section or thread is important. It gives the posts a context which would mean that people would know (or ought to recognise) that trying to argue the basic points on cannabis would be inappropriate.

LauraShigihara Wed 03-Oct-12 11:20:29

See, the trouble is, that as a parent of one these children, you are so incredibly vulnerable and it only takes one numpty to come along, telling everyone that drugs are fine, it's just like having a cup or tea, stop nagging your kids and it'll be ok and the thread is derailed, no one can talk properly and everyone just wanders off with their worries and fears.

I don't want to have to explain why having a child with a drug problem at a time when they are developing, taking exams, learning about the world, is such a bad thing. It should be already a given. I also don't want someone telling me that the situation that is bringing my lovely family to its knees, is trivial or that I am blowing it out of proportion. I already know that some people come through a drug habit unscathed - but some of them don't. And some families don't.

It would just be nice to have someone to talk to who says 'yep, been there and this is what I did' without waiting for the Cannabis Is Great brigade to wander in.

There is usually no tea and sympathy in real life for this kind of problem and it would just be useful to chat things over and listen to other people's worries without being bothered by the pro-drug nonsense.

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:31:25

Sorry, I didn't start a thread last night for precisely these reasons.

If it is in teenagers and googleable, the fuckwits will find it - unless mnhq make it clear that it is a support thread, not a discussion about the pros hmm and cons of cannabis.

And they do find the threads, every time, so I can only think they are at home stoned with nothing to do but google and post on these threads.

No-one does it on the alcoholic threads.

Over the last three years I have considered this about a dozen times. And every time I get upset and stop posting at all about the issue for a while. And yes, you could say it's just words on a screen and I don't have to get involved and I should just walk away.

But I'm sort of ahead of the posse a bit, and I really think I can at least try to help others by posting. I can't do that if the threads are continually derailed.

LauraShigihara Wed 03-Oct-12 11:45:19

I remember those early days when DS was mid teens and I realised the seriousness of what was happening and the utter confusion of where to go with it and who could I talk to. It would have been an utter relief to have found a safe space on here to discuss it all and pour all of those terrible anxieties out.

I rarely ever post on the teenager and drugs threads because of the inevitable derailing. I'm very thin-skinned about it and it would truly upset me if I was told what I was saying, my experience of drugs, was crap.

And I agree that on an alcoholic support thread, nobody is going to spout nonsense about alcohol or start any 'I have a drink twice a week and it never hurts me' bollocks.

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:48:41

So Rowan, can you come back and tell us what to do, maybe?

Because one poster derailing a thread undoes all the good the thread may do. So unless you are going to delete the "opinion" that cannabis is the best thing since sliced bread and we are all lying control freaks trying to ruin our kids' lives, there is no point in starting a so-called support thread about this.

I'll report this post so you can see it smile

LauraShigihara Wed 03-Oct-12 11:50:26

And I quite understand Mary why you didn't start a thread last night without any reassurances that it wouldn't be invaded, as per bloody usual.

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:52:49

Can't we simply have support section.

There are enough fecking boards on here. A "support" one, preferably non-googleable would take about 2 minutes to set up. The history one appeared within 24 hours.

And just have a line at the top saying "this is a section purely for non-judgemental support for people coping with various issues. It isn't a place for discussion of the pros and cons of those issues". Or something like that.

I know a few threads who might move there.

LauraShigihara Wed 03-Oct-12 11:58:02

That's true, the History topic appeared really quickly. If no one can google it, even better as the pro-drugs stirrers couldn't find it and we could just refer relevant parents to it.

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