Tag Archives: drugs

Teen talk: alcohol and cigarettes

Scenario: Your high-schooler comes home smelling of alcohol or cigarette smoke for the first time.

This is the time when teenagers are experimenting.  From alcohol, to cigarettes, to smoking pot, to huffing….  Some want to try mind-altering substances to help relieve the stress of teenage life.  Some are intrigued by the feelings promised from drugs and alcohol.  Some are doing it because they want to look cool, others are doing it so they don’t look stupid in front of their friends.

Nobody wants to believe it’s their teen.  And truth is, not all teens are doing it.  But to a teenager, all teens ARE doing it, and that only adds to the enticement of doing it themselves.  And it’s something parents must address with their teens.

So how to deal?  Yell?  Scream?  Take the car, their privacy, their freedom, their cell phone away for a specified period of time?  What’s going to make them decide to stop smoking or drinking alchohol.

Truth is, nothing is going to MAKE them stop doing anything.  But your reaction is going to help guide them in their own decision making skills, giving them tools to decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue drinking or smoking.

Here’s what timetotalk.org recommends:

“The response should be measured, quiet and serious—not yelling, shouting or overly emotional,” says parenting expert Marybeth Hicks. “Your child should realize that this isn’t just a frustrating moment like when he doesn’t do a chore you asked for; it’s very big, very important, and very serious.”
Say, “I’m really upset that you’re smoking/drinking. I need to get a handle on how often this has been happening and what your experiences have been so far. I get that you’re worried about being in trouble, but the worst part of that moment is over—I know that you’re experimenting. The best thing you can do now is really be straight with me, so for starters, tell me about what happened tonight…”

Side note:  I actually perused the Time to Talk website, and found a ton of information vital to parents of teens.  They even have a free downloadable PDF of a “Parent Talk Kit” that gives many real examples of talkable moments, and how to handle each one. 

How would you deal if your teen came home smelling like alcohol or cigarettes?

Getting high on Digital Drugs

Is getting a digital high just as concerning as the real thing?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve likely been inundated with stories about marijuana – the fight for and against legalizing it, the closing of several dispensaries, the heightened use among teens, even blogs by yours truly. Parents, forget your concerns about marijuana for just a moment and pay attention to the latest way your child is getting high – probably right under your nose. See little Johnny over there with his headphones on? Don’t look now, but your kid is probably stoned. And guess what?

He’s doing it legally.

The scary part is that your child doesn’t even need pharmaceuticals to achieve that high. He’s buying it online from a dealer called “iTunes” or “YouTube”. That’s right, through “i-Dosing”, your son or daughter is getting high on (gasp) MP3s. This latest craze among teens is raising the ire of many.  In fact, Oklahoma is taking a stance against it by warning parents about the dangers of i-Dosing, which just might be the next “gateway drug”.

So what is i-Dosing exactly? Apparently it’s a droning sound that, when listened to, gives the same feeling of being blitzed from marijuana or cocaine. Imagine going to the World Cup and being surrounded by a bunch of vuvuzelas. You there? Congratulations, you’ve just gotten high.

Alright, let me just say it now – SERIOUSLY? What’s next, banning headphones? If my kid is rebelling by listening to an annoying sound through earphones, all I’m going to do about it is make fun of them for life. Really kid? This is your way of acting out? Ooh, there’s no controlling you, you rebel. I listened to it myself and it mostly just made my head feel like it was going to explode from how annoying it was.

For those of you wanting to get digitally stoned, take a hit.

You know my stance.  What’s your take on this dangerous practice?

Passing the Cannabis Cup

Sara’s son is 14 years old. He’s a bright student finishing up his freshman year of high school. He is active on the basketball team, is serious about his schoolwork, and is an all around good kid.

And he smokes pot.

“I don’t know what to do,” Sara told me over lunch the other day, after revealing that this news just came to light.

Sara had asked her son why he did it, and he couldn’t come up with a definitive answer. All he could tell her was that he felt more relaxed when he did, that time slowed down, that food tasted better, that the music sounded better — that everything seemed better. And while he made no promises that he would stop, he did promise her that it had never entered her home, and that it wouldn’t. He told her that he wasn’t addicted to it, and made the point that everyone else he knew smoked pot too.

“He doesn’t seem to think this is a problem, and has basically let me know that he doesn’t plan on quitting no matter what I say. And that’s the issue. I don’t even know what to say.”

What do you say? Marijuana, while illegal, is fairly mainstream. It’s an easy drug to acquire, and while the feelings it produces and the way it helps them forget their stress momentarily make it a desirable drug to continue doing, the substance itself isn’t addictive. And yet, marijuana has downsides that teens aren’t concerned with. It loosens inhibitions and can cause a teen to make decisions they wouldn’t normally make if they were sober. It can affect a user’s memory and learning skills. It can affect their reflexes and perception, including their ability to drive a car. And it affects a teen’s energy levels and cares about how they look, activities they do, and basic enthusiasm for life itself. And of course there are the longer term downsides such as cancer and lung problems.

These downsides are the very reason many parents are concerned. That, and the fact that while it’s just marijuana today, tomorrow it might be a harder drug like cocaine or acid.

Sara felt that if she came down hard on him, he would just do it anyways, and would also cut off any open communication that still existed between the two of them. And if she came off too light, she felt that she would be condoning this behavior. Not only that, Sara’s son knew that she had smoked it herself as a teen and had turned out just fine, softening any argument that she might have against the drug. It made her question if she even had an argument to offer at all. When she had researched ways to handle this, the answers were all over the map. Some specialists said that a firm stance needed to be planted – that all of the teen’s friends’ parents needed to be called, that punishment needed to be enforced, that time spent with pot using friends needed to be quashed while time spent with sober friends needed to be rewarded, and so on. Other experts said that honesty should be commended, that questions about how or why they do it should be asked, and ensuring that they know how much is too much. And more liberal sites plainly stated that teen pot use wasn’t a problem at all.

Is marijuana a problem? How should a parent handle pot use when it comes to their own teen?