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Teens and party drugs, what's 'normal' and should I worry?(18 Posts)
DD is 16. She's has a rough few years with friendships and mental health issues but the last few months has improved immeasurably. She never used to go out but since she has been better is spending more time with friends- they're all at school with her and seem a nice enough bunch. However, now that DD is feeling much better she is going out with her friends to parties. We are relatively relaxed about alcohol and let her take a few drinks and to be fair she never seems to go over the top. She's been quite open with us that at some of these parties there are drugs- mostly weed I think though she mentioned one friend took MDMA- and that some of her friends have tried it. She says she doesn't do it but to be completely frank I don't believe her, I'm not sure why but I just have a feeling. We don't have any other issues with her, she does well at school and is working well for her GCSE's. She is going to another party tomorrow with a school friend- we know the family and they're a good bunch, but somehow something doesn't sit right with me. Am I being OTT? Is this just normal teenager experimentation?
What do you mean OTT? What are you doing? You seem very keen to be a cool mum.
I don't think there is any such thing as 'normal' drug use as it is illegal. If she has suffered mental health issues in the past I would also be very cautious encouraging any drug use. Alcohol is also a depressant so all in all not great. Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. X
Given her mental health issues, and her age, I'd be worried yes.
Are the parents going to be at this party?
For the foreseeable, I'd only want her going to supervised parties.
It sounds like normal experimentation, at least normal as I experienced it back in the 00's.
The most important thing (in my opinion) would be for you to emphasise that you will put her safety first - she should feel able to call you if she feels unsafe or unwell and know that your first instinct will be to assist and not punish her.
The second most important thing is that there is no such thing as a drug without consequences. Overuse of alcohol or MDMA will put you in hospital and can kill you (alcohol more likely, but you don't need to make that distinction). Too much weed and you will feel dizzy and sick. Prolonged overuse of any drug will cause negative long term effects than can put obstacles in the way of your life. The takeaway is - the only totally safe drug is no drug at all, but moderation is the next best choice.
What I wrote came out completely wrong. Wrt her MH problems you understandably want to be gentle and supportive. However what is best for her, as Flickety says is definitely avoiding drugs and alcohol. Normal is not relevant here.
She's very young, and it's perfectly fine to insist on knowing who she's with and where and no sleepovers.
Err, no not keen to be a 'cool' mum at all, just trying to get it right! We've had several years of hell trying to get DD well and now she is actually socialising I don't want to come down hard and stop her doing so if I am being OTT- by that I mean should I worry about her going to parties where they may be drugs present or is this 'normal' one the teen party scene?
I don't want to frighten you but I would be so so wary of her taking anything at all if she has pre existing mental health issues. A friend of mine had a complete breakdown at 18 from smoking weed (skunk) and is still in a secure unit 10 years later. Is she aware of the risks to her mental health? I think lots of teenagers know about the risks associated with "hard" drugs like heroin but don't necessarily think weed is a big deal.
By the way I think it is quite normal for drugs to be around at teenage parties, it certainly was for me and still was for my youngest sister who came 10 years after me
I have made it absolutely clear to her that she can ALWAYS call me if she is concerned and we will come and collect her and won't be cross. It's not that I'm afraid to say no, she has curfews etc, but she has been better since she is spending more time with friends- I don't want to take that away from her unnecessarily. Previously she just sat in the house every weekend looking so unhappy and sleeping- in a way this was just if not more worrying.
Yes she does know all drugs are a MH risk- she is actually a lot more clued up than me!
You sound like a very sensible mother. Children do and will experiment with drugs and alcohol. Denial is not helpful. I would give her as much information as possible. I would really push the risks to her mh if she decides its a path she wants to take. They are significant. Also the risk of having a criminal record and the impact if she decides she wants to travel or work in certain professions. For me personally I would try to maintain open and respectful communication with her. She is fast approaching making her own way in the world. You can help her hopefully make good decisions.
I know she has all the info and I try to keep the lines of communication open but I don't want to be naive- teens can have all the info and still make bloody stupid choices - I remember it well
P.s I think it's only fair to say I have absolutely no evidence that she is taking drugs, no unusual behaviour or anything, it's just an uneasy feeling I have
OP - sounds like your dd has a good and open relationship with you. That's great. Maybe help her experiment in a safer way. Advise her that, should she ever become SO curious about a particular drug that she just must try, that she tries it at a "safe" party. By that I mean, house parties where only a few kids, all very good friends among themselves, are invited. Many times, the parents are home and the kids are invited to sleepover if they want.
Those huge parties where kids go to get high and drunk and to hook up with boys/girls are really not the place to try a drug for the first time, especially someone as vulnerable as your dd.
You have to balance trusting her and being there for her. On the side of trusting: she was honest with you, she seems clued up on risks, she says she hasn't done it, and she hasn't shown any indication of bad behaviour in the past. On the side of protecting her: you know she has been vulnerable in the past and could be more influenced by peer pressure to fit in, and you say you don't believe her, why?
What I would do is just remind her of the risks before dropping her off, not giving her a lecture, but being firm and then checking her out when she comes home for any sign of too much alcohol/drug taking. If you suspect she's taken some, don't confront her then, wait for a time you think you can talk to her about it.
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