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My Teen Tried Pot for the First Time Last Night

Question:

My teen went out last night and tried pot for the first time. He was at least honest about doing it when he came home (probably because he was sick). I am an educated parent. I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and I know what I should do. But it’s different when you are the parent. How should I talk to him about this issue? He’s still ill today, and I have not berated him or been negative. My plan is to support until he feels better and do some real talking in a day or two when he feels better. Is this a good decision?

Answer:

The fact that your son confided in you and “fessed up” about smoking pot is a positive reflection on the relationship you have with him. It sounds like you remained calm and handled the situation appropriately, given the circumstances. And yes, it is much different when you’re the parent handling a problem.

We would encourage you use this as an opportunity for a teaching moment with your son by following these steps:

  1. Stay calm!
  2. Give a negative consequence for the choice your son made to try marijuana. Make sure the consequence fits the behavior, such as being grounded from going out with his friends or having them over, or losing his phone privileges for a certain amount of time.
  3. Talk to your son about how to handle peer pressure and about what could happen in the future if he decides to use marijuana again (get arrested, get sick again, have an accident while driving).
  4. Practice ways he can say “No” the next time he is offered marijuana or is around others who are using it. Also explain that he’s broken the trust you had in him and that he will have to earn it back through using positive behavior and staying away from drugs. 
  5. Encourage him to continue to be honest with you, obey the rules, and be respectful.
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