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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.

JeanSeberg Fri 22-Nov-13 13:53:27

Does your son smoke weed too?

Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 14:02:24

Sorry wasn't clear, yes he does. He's sees a drug counsellor for this but weed is a big part of his social life at the weekends as far as we know and he has no inclination to stop despite our best efforts to educate him. It appears to affect his mood pretty adversely. If anyone on here thinks they have a way to stop teenage boys doing this I am all ears.

JeanSeberg Fri 22-Nov-13 14:05:45

What happens when you ground him, withdraw screen time etc? What does the drugs counsellor suggest? When did the problems start?

Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 14:14:42

He's pretty careful to be obedient so as not to get grounded - he adheres to curfews although these are much negotiated. I think his desire to go 'out' is so great that he wouldn't risk breaking curfew.
Screen time not an issue. He works hard for school and organises his homework well etc.
The counsellor doesn't really talk to me - confidentiality etc.
problems started gradually at age 13 with onset of puberty. We found out about the weed one year ago.
Others drugs have been used occasionally too. He has no pocket money for this reason

NoComet Fri 22-Nov-13 14:14:49

Mine would be locked in the house, no shoes, no phone and no money, but I am not nice.

willyoulistentome Fri 22-Nov-13 14:17:49

Mine would be locked in the house, no shoes, no phone and no money, but I am not nice. < THIS!!

JeanSeberg Fri 22-Nov-13 14:20:26

So he smokes weed and yet there's no consequences for this?

What am I missing here?

NoComet Fri 22-Nov-13 14:21:43

xpost, seems you aren't being soft either.

As to friends DDs can get anywhere without a lift so I do tend to know where they are to start with.

Doesn't stop them walking, getting lifts or taking the bus to see other mates once dropped off.

I'm trying to collect home phone numbers mainly because DD2 is a bit useless at having her mobile charged and in credit.

DD1's friends parents I know.

ribba Fri 22-Nov-13 14:36:22

I wouldn't be happy about not knowing where my DS was, even if I hadn't met the kids he was with. He's obviously decided it's none of your business who he sees and as he's working hard and following house rules I'm not sure there's much you can do, other than continue to offer invitations and hope it's a phase.

Can you do a bit of digging with parents of friends and see what you can find out? Are you friends on FB, does that give you any clues?

Do you do anything together? is your relationship generally pretty good?

Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 16:35:55

Digging not easy - as I say I don't know any of the parents. It's quite a wide social circle of teens. No other parent has ever called me either.
He unfriended me on fb years ago.
Relationship is v poor as you can tell. We do nothing together. He has managed to create a situation where we are not involved in his life. I know it's odd but I'm trying to gauge just how odd. It's hard to probe when you get one word answers.
He never accept lifts from us but we always offer.

Re the drugs, as I say I welcome any advice from someone who has been through this. With respect unless you have it is very easy to say "lock him up". If it were that easy !!

Ragwort Fri 22-Nov-13 16:40:42

How does he afford to buy 'weed' - can you even buy it legally? <no idea about these sorts of things>. Is it legal at 15? confused.

A relative of mine had a teenage child with serious shop lifting/theft issues, in the end she had no alternative but to involve the police - is this an option for you?

ribba Fri 22-Nov-13 17:11:43

Are his friends kids at the school or do you not even know that much? Is it worth talking to the school just to get a sense of who he hangs around with?

Does he have hobbies/ other things in his life other than hanging out and smoking? Has he got ambitions? The more he has in his life that makes weed less central the better.

I'd be trying as hard as possible to keep the communication channels open. Is there anything you can do to engineer some time with him? Shopping for clothes maybe? You might get more out of him on neutral territory.

Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 21:19:38

Ribba your advice is good but sadly he has dropped most of his hobbies. We have tried in vain to get him to resume some sport but he won't have it. His friends are from his school or a neighbouring school. He wishes to get good GCSE 's , he cares about that.
The channels of communication are open sometimes, however there is little trust as we know he lies to us, (as do all drug users. )
My DS tells me drugs are rife at their school, I have been in touch with school but unless they find it on the premises they can't do much about kids weekend activities.

Claybury Fri 22-Nov-13 21:20:29

Rag yes it is illegal. !

Helpyourself Fri 22-Nov-13 21:31:03

It's not so much strange as negligent.
I assume there was a first time he tried to walk out the door without letting you know where he was going?
That was your opportunity to point out that he is your responsibility and you'll not be letting him out without knowing where he was and with whom.

webwiz Fri 22-Nov-13 22:48:17

I know all of DS's friends (he's 16) I'm known as "spy mummy" by my DCs because I normally know how everyone they know fits into a bigger network of people (small town). I can't imagine what it would be like to have no idea who DS was mixing with so not normal in my world.

Sorry you're having this problem OP it sounds very difficult to deal with.

Eastpoint Sat 23-Nov-13 04:55:38

Thank heavens he is still motivated to do well at school.

You say he is seeing a counsellor, do you belong to any support groups, Amy Winehouse's father set up Frank and their website has links to groups such as ADFAM who can put you in touch with local support networks.

Kazzyv Sat 23-Nov-13 08:49:49

School still seems to be important to him. Does he have a subject teacher or someone he respects at school that could talk to him. Tbh I always ask my DS 17, where he is going but if he says a name I don t know I don't stop him going out. I had similar drug issues last year- but good relationship with my DS as he ended up bringing everyone back to our house ! After about 9 months of this he bombed his AS exams and this year because uni is important to him he has cut ties to his old mates and only smokes weed v occasionally at parties.
I would try to keep lines of communication open and be there when he needs you. You can't lock up a child of this age as suggested above and it seems he respects you enough to stick to house rules so that is a positive.

flow4 Sat 23-Nov-13 09:57:31

Clay, it is very common among certain circles of teenagers. It was one of my biggest ongoing battles with my DS1, a few years ago.

Some parents certainly do not ask at this age, and some ask and happily accept lies. I once discovered that my DS1 (then 15) and two of his friends were not where they had said they were - the address was a false one - and after I had picked them up and given them a bollocking, I let the other mothers know. They clearly thought I was totally mad. One said to me blithely "Oh he never tells me where he is, so he's not lying!"

I do think drug use is part of the reason for secrecy, I'm afraid. I also think you're already doing the few things that you can do about this.

(I also stopped all money, but there is always someone with a fiver to buy a few cans or a bit of weed. Grounding is not possible: if they want to go out, they simply go: mine climbed out if the window without his shoes, the last time I tried it. Involving the police is counter-productive, IMO. If they don't take action (which they probably won't, unless you have actually got hold of the drugs and insist they arrest your DC) it reinforces to your DC that they can get away with a lot of drug use. And if the police do take action (which they will for 'hard' drugs and dealing) then it gets your DC a police record that will affect future jobs and a fair bit of kudos among his friends, and pushes him further into the company of people you want to keep him away from).

I never found a way to guarantee I knew where he was. In the end, I settled for always having a second emergency contact number that was not his mobile. I 'trained' him to give me this by calling all his contacts if he didn't give me one, which was of course embarrassing. But I rarely had an emergency, so I don't know whether some of the numbers were false too.

They do grow out of this need for secrecy. At 15, they seem desperate for independence, and they're afraid you'll stop them, so they don't tell you. At 18, they have much less to prove, and they have more independence. My DS now tells me where he's going, without prompting usually, and always when asked.

I would caution against encouraging him to bring friends home now, tbh. It was my preference too, and I did at first, and he did occasionally... But I overlooked the fact that it is only a good idea if you're sure he has 'nice' friends. Now your DS has got in with a druggy group of teenagers you don't know (as my son did) it is, simply, too risky. I had things stolen, and ultimately I was burgled. After that, I put a total ban on friends in the house for a while, and a permanent ban on anyone I hadn't met and approved.

This was the worst, most stressful period of my DS's life for me, so you have my sympathy clay. The good news is, so long as he stays interested in academic success, and/or other positive activities, he will probably grow out if it and get back on track, as my DS seems to have done. smile

Claybury Sat 23-Nov-13 11:21:59

Flow thank you for your post. I can see you understand. I , like you, have found contacting other parents totally unhelpful. One told me ' not to worry too much' when I said our kids were smoking weed. One saw my son stoned when he as 13 and didn't think she needed to tell me . I found out much later and was so shocked at her attitude. I wish parents would stick together more. Or maybe they avoid me because my son is bad news in their eyes. I just don't know.

Some of the earlier posts confirmed that I'm in a bad situation which I know already ( why else would I be posting?) but seemed to be judging me as a negligent soft parent. I never imagined I would be in this situation! My other DC' s are not like this. I have a great relationship with Dd14 and know her friends.
When you have a bullying secretive withdrawn teen life is very hard. His father and I are together, he is a firm and loving dad and is v much involved but we are both struggling with this.

I have spoken to a tutor at school who has talked to him about drugs individually . I have been to DRUGFAM support. I don't give him money so I guess he either has generous friends or he is involved in low level dealing. My DS tried to grow his own weed ( I found it!) so maybe a friend has been more successful in this. Who knows.

Having a teenager can be the first time in your life you realise you can't always control things in your life.

Kazzyv Sat 23-Nov-13 11:35:22

Clay bury - it seems you are doing everything you can. If he knows you are there when he needs you and to provide support when he asks I am sure he will turn the corner and grow out of this phase. My son has changed beyond all recognition in the last 6 months, and his best friend who was a real pita from when he was 13 has now become a pleasure to know. They do change and improve !

Kazzyv Sat 23-Nov-13 11:35:55

Clay bury - it seems you are doing everything you can. If he knows you are there when he needs you and to provide support when he asks I am sure he will turn the corner and grow out of this phase. My son has changed beyond all recognition in the last 6 months, and his best friend who was a real pita from when he was 13 has now become a pleasure to know. They do change and improve !

NoComet Sat 23-Nov-13 11:37:02

Have you read any of Maryz's troubled teen threads, she is the expert on these things.

My DDs, DD1's and many of DD2's friends live in such isolated places it's impossible for them to go anywhere without a lift. They get very little opportunity to get into trouble.

They also get less opportunity to learn to be independent too. I worry what will happen to DDs stunningly beautiful private girls school friend when they meet boys and booze at uni. DD1 is a bit more street wise going to a ordinary mixed comp, but still has never been to a teen party.

Eastpoint Sat 23-Nov-13 11:38:30

I am glad you are getting support from DRUGFAM, I don't have any advice for you, just sending you support from afar.

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