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best way to approach finding tobacco (15yr old ds)

(24 Posts)
poppymoon Mon 24-Nov-14 10:16:37

checking pockets before loading the washer and the pouch of his hoody is full of tobacco crumbs. i'm asking for advice on the best way to approach this. we've had issues before whenever he seems to get in with a new crowd of friends and when he was 13/14, i stopped giving him any money and grounded him. obviously that tactic never worked.

his school work has been sliding over the last year but i really thought we'd finally got around to realising that he needed to put some effort in as gcse's are looming. he has no idea what he wants to do. he's a very bright lad and very sensitive. he's had problems with bullies in the past and been used by older lads at his school to acquire cigarettes and money. i really thought that had stopped but obviously i've failed again by giving him more freedom.

how do i deal with this without alienating him?

poppymoon Mon 24-Nov-14 10:31:51

just to add, i'm unsure whether its cigarettes or weed but my gut tells me its the latter.

HesNotAMessiah Mon 24-Nov-14 15:42:03

You also don't know if he's been smoking it?

If it's just in his hoody you could fear the worst and he's a mule for someone, or you could hope for the best and one of his 'mates' has popped a packet of tobacco in his hood, possibly while larking about having pinched it from another of the gang.

I'd go for assuming the best and just mentioning it on that basis... "I see your friends have been larking about putting tobacco in your hood again......" and wait.......

poppymoon Mon 24-Nov-14 17:02:26

i asked him if he was smoking any cigarettes, weed or both. none he said. he 'holds onto' cigarettes for friends so that they 'don't get into trouble'. i said that for now, i wouldn't be giving him any more money, not even for school lunches. he can take food with him. he asked how he would be able to go out without money. i said that for now, he wouldn't be. i said that holding onto things for someone else if he thought it was wrong wasn't a good idea. he said he wasn't a d*ck so wouldn't just say no to them. hopefully he will realise that by covering someone's ass and getting into trouble himself is actually a bit dickish. thats if the tobacco/whatever did belong to someone else.

i don't want to think the worst but as i said, we've been in a similar situation before but obviously its always someone else who is up to no good, never him......he has been used before by some older lads who have been in a lot of trouble with school and the police to obtain money or cigarettes (my elderly mom smokes).

last week i heard him on the phone saying 'the pub....yes, the car park is quiet. yes, i have about 20'.

i don't know if he was meeting someone to buy something and that was how much money he had or if he had about 20 cigarettes but either way, i'm not willing to fund it by dinner money, bus fares and pocket money.

cleo14 Mon 24-Nov-14 18:35:58

First things first, you have not failed! There's only so much us parents of teenagers can do. It's our job to guide, support and protect and a natural instinct for our minds to jump to the worst possible situation. I would be cautious of accusing unless you know for sure. If possible I would try and speak to him, highlighting the negatives of smoking both tobacco and weed (and the legal implications of the latter). If you are sure he is smoking I would agree that it's not your job to fund it. Good luck x

poppymoon Mon 24-Nov-14 19:15:26

hmmmm....should i relent and still give him lunch money tomorrow or make a packed lunch..........

cleo14 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:53:09

In my experience of jumping to the wrong conclusions and making things worse- I would just try and be as sure as you can be before making any decisions. As said, this doesn't stop you having the chats about the health issues of smoking. However it's a big bad world out there and unfortunately our teenagers are exposed to all sorts!x

poppymoon Mon 24-Nov-14 20:15:53

well the atmosphere at home isn't very jolly at all so i guess i've messed up in how i dealt/am dealing with it.

TheAwfulDaughter Mon 24-Nov-14 20:29:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

cleo14 Mon 24-Nov-14 22:06:58

Unfortunately they don't come with a manual hmm

poppymoon Tue 25-Nov-14 12:17:22

well he seemed surprised about being handed a packed lunch but he'd probably totally forgotten yesterday. he didn't make a fuss though smile had a letter too that he has a college interview next week and its thrown him into a panic. he's a good lad, he really is. i just wish he didn't try so hard to be liked and accepted by his peers as he's a prime target for being sh*t on.

Flossi53 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:39:04

My teenage boy is doing all the same things, smoking, not studying being aggressive etc. Hmm... no ideas

I've tried talking to him, reasoning with him, making deals but he's not interested.

So if anyone out there has tried and succeeded in any small way I would be very grateful if you could let me know.

poppymoon Tue 25-Nov-14 17:08:13

difficult eh flossi53 sad i understand that it will pass and he'll come through it ok but in the back of my mind, i'm so worried he'll make a bad decision - or several - and venture into even more risky behaviour.

Flossi53 Wed 26-Nov-14 09:21:59

Venturing into even more risky behaviour. He tells me that he and his friends are going to have a sleep over in the caretakers room at a block of flats where his friend lives!!!! Panic; we say no you are not going to do that because it's not a good idea and he tells us that it will be fun and safe and that they can get bedding from his friends flat etc etc and just 'jam'.

But they will of course indulge in smoking etc because if they weren't they could have the sleep over here in our house which is huge!/emo/te/11.gif

poppymoon Wed 26-Nov-14 09:30:59

oh bugger. not liking the sound of that. we've had a few 'staying over at insert name's house' but i've recently told him that there is no staying anywhere unless i have a contact number for a parent. oddly enough, he hasn't mentioned sleep overs for a few weeks......

short of never letting them out of the house though, what can we do other than ensure they are aware of our feelings of what is and isn't acceptable.

they really do think they are invincible sad

HesNotAMessiah Wed 26-Nov-14 10:35:40

Stick with the sandwiches and no money for a cpl of days then sit down and have a conversation about trust and honesty and personal responsbility?

That's all you can really hope for at this age, but often they don't appreciate how important it is to the parent in moving away from the parent/child to the adult/young adult relationship.

We had some major arguments about an 'incident' which went round and round about the incident. Really a case of Black/White, teen couldn't see the issue.

When it moved on to the reason we were so disappointed, that we could no longer trust teen and what that meant said teen suddenly became very aware of what they had done and very apologetic.

Lightbulb moment really, things have been so much better since then.

Flossi53 Wed 26-Nov-14 11:00:48

My plan is to say he can't go but suggest he has friends over here as we are going out and so we won't be bothered by them or them by us. Although will ask good friend and close neighbour to keep an eye out.

I'll let you know what happens and I think yes, I will ask for contact number of parent if he insists he is going.

Short of tying them up what do you do other than negotiate.

I need negotiating tips.

poppymoon Wed 26-Nov-14 15:10:43

no money was given again today. i know that a group of them are planning to go into town at the weekend to the christmas market. cynical me thinks that this is obviously why he's being so nice and not making a fuss as he thinks i will give him the money to go.

the thing is, i will have to trust him at some point to make good decisions about what he's doing. similar has happened a couple of times before though (a while ago) so obviously he still hasn't learnt any lesson from it and i worry that he will just become better at covering his tracks.

aaarrgghhh.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Nov-14 20:20:06

I know this isn't any help, but according to my DS, about half of the 14+ pupils at his school are smokers and weed is easily available from the school.

I agree with your thoughts about him becoming "better at covering his tracks". I know it's easy to say and hard to do, but IMO the best way you can help him make good choices is by being very supportive of him. It must be bloody difficult being a teenager these days - temptations at every turn! Talking and listening to him without jumping in with how disappointed you are (very difficult I know) and encouraging him to make better choices in the knowledge that he's loved and valued is probably the way to go.

If he's buying tobacco (or weed) he's acting illegally (I think - although it might only be illegal to sell l tobacco to minors) but he's not being immoral IYSWIM. Could you get him to tell you why he feels he has to keep in with the smokers? Or why he smokes himself? You might get nowhere, but you can't control everything he does, as you know and you will have most influence over him if he feels you will listen without being shocked or throwing a rager.

My sympathies . This sounds really difficult to deal with.

poppymoon Wed 26-Nov-14 20:49:30

thanks chocoluvva.

i agree. i think anything can be obtained at school these days. scary. i haven't spoken about it again, i've tried to made sure that any tension is minimised so that (hopefully) when i do start to talk to him seriously, he won't just switch off.

i just wish i knew why he felt the need to do stuff like this, to go to such lengths to be accepted by certain groups. obviously he denies everything and tried to blame others. as a teen, nothing is their own doing....

chocoluvva Thu 27-Nov-14 10:04:12

Do you feel guilty about it? I ask because I sometimes feel that my DC's problems are the result of me making parenting mistakes. (My two are frightenened (and sometimes just can't be bothered) to try their best and give up easily.)

Obviously my question might be irrelevant. Apologies if it is. But we all have our problems regardless of our parenting, especially during the teenage years. I really think this is a very difficult time to be a teenager - so many pressures and 24hour reminders of them/temptations.

Your DS won't suddenly become confident enough to be his own person, but you can help by boosting his self-esteem generally, not necessarily by directly telling him how clever/kind/handsome/whatever he is but by other things like asking how his day has been, sympathising with his problems, asking his opinions on stuff and listening carefully, taking an interest in his gaming/bands/sports/school subjects etc. I think you're right in not wanting to 'alienate' him. He won't tell you his (probably unfounded) fears if he thinks you will disapprove/not understand/be disappointed.

Is he part of any hobby/sports group? I know it's very difficult when he's 15 if he's not. But being part of a team or group that he enjoys would be great for his self-esteem and make his 'friends' seem less important.

Take heart, he's at the most difficult age IMO. Old enough to be subject to social pressures and have the wherewithal to 'do' stuff but not experienced enough to realise that it's fine to do your own thing and be your own person. Perhaps he doesn't know who he wants to be yet. You can probably help him by taking an interest in him as a person with his own developing interests, opinions etc. But you must be unshockable, and non-judgmental and resist the temptation to comment other than vaguely positively.

However, when he starts sixth form his social groups will probably change slightly as he does different classes and he will be more able to project the 'identity' he wants when he's a little bit older. Remember your final year of school? Or all the people who suddenly blossomed when they went to uni?

He'll get there smile

poppymoon Thu 27-Nov-14 12:28:41

yes. i do feel guilty. what have i done wrong or missed doing? we have always been very close but he has kept anything thats troubling him to himself (even though i can tell straight away if something is bothering him). i give gentle cues that i'm there to talk about 'stuff', any stuff, but its never really happened.

sadly he doesn't belong to any sport or hobby type groups. from an early age, i asked what he'd like to do and he tried a few things, martial arts, cricket but never stuck at anything. he seems to give up at the first hurdle, sensitive soul that he is.

when he was very young, he was bullied for being quiet and clever, mainly in the forms of name calling and exclusion. a change of school helped immensely but he still has some confidence issues, hence why he will seem to do whatever he can to fit in. anywhere.

chocoluvva Thu 27-Nov-14 13:07:07

I feel your heartache. (A few months ago my 15YO was crying in his bed after school - not like him - I still don't know what was bothering him so much). He's much more cheerful these days - relatively speaking grin but it's horrible when they won't tell you what's bothering them.

As we know, perfect parents don't exist though. And for all that we might repeat some of our parents' mistakes, their imperfections give us a lesson on the effect of their mistakes and an insight into how to do things better. smile. My mum certainly wasn't perfect but I feel lucky to have had her for a mum. So please don't feel guilty. Teenage boys aren't known for being communicative!

What's he into? Music, video games, reading, films, computing? Any relevant community groups?

Another thought and apologies if it's irrelevant - do you think he doesn't tell you things because he thinks you'll be worried/angry/go 'off on one'. My DC are sometimes like that..... I'm getting better at managing to not comment too vehemently on everything. Then when I do say stuff I hope it'll have more effect.

It's very difficult for quiet clever types these days. But his time will come. smile

poppymoon Thu 27-Nov-14 15:44:01

makes us feel so helpless to watch them hurting sad

he was really into xbox but seems to have gone off that now as its 'boring' and he'd rather go out and so 'stuff'. he enjoys film and music but never really wants to share any of that with me.

he doesn't tell me things because i suppose he feels i'd worry or be angry but i'm not (intentionally) like that. i'm a pretty placid person. obviously though, i know nothing and 'wouldn't understand anyway'.

i've been trying to get him to look for a part time job or something to at least give him a reason rather than just hanging around to see if anyone is about. we live in a rural village so he walks to the next village to catch a bus into the town where he says everyone hangs out.

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