hugs *and* drugs
D.A.R.E. to be cynical about what teens do when you're not looking
A witch wrote:
Are there any witches who are moms of teens dealing with their HS-age kids using marijuana? Because I’d love to feel not alone. It’s across the board - edibles and vape primarily, because that seems easiest to get at school - and it’s dispensary stuff, not illegal. It’s incredibly common at his high school. I feel like while smoking cigs and drinking was pretty common in my teen years, kids weren’t as bold about actively doing the drugs in school and during the school day. I wish he just doing it after school, or at a party - it’s the all day 24/7 that is so scary, like there are no boundaries of when it’s normal/ok to be bad. I went to high school with a lot of drug users and most of not all of them were dead by the time I was 35.
My sons are not quite at this age yet for me to worry about it (although I did recently have reason to warn my older kid against the perils of loose, unwrapped, unfamiliar-looking gummies). So I asked witches what they have told their older kids about using weed that feels comfortable and true to them. I think the following feedback is pretty resigned to the presence of cannabis in kids’ lives, especially in states where it’s legal, so if you’re more abstinence-only re: weed, this may not be the issue for you.
If you have had an exchange with your older kid about cannabis you feel is honest, realistic and made sense to you all (or someone had one with you when you were a youngster) let us know in the comments.
“I didn’t discover any of my kids smoking pot/using cannabis in high school (and I’m well aware that the key word here may be ‘discover’!) I DID during the pandemic. It was within the 1st year of the pandemic my 2nd son was doing college from his bedroom at our home. Late one evening, I carried a load of laundry up the backstairs and walked past all of their bedrooms to get to mine. I got to a certain point in the hall and, all of a sudden, smelled pot. Very strong, very obvious. And without even thinking, I said, very loudly, ‘WHY AM I SMELLING POT IN MY HOUSE?’ I checked in with each of my at-home boys, and of course, they denied it. (Weed was then and is still illegal where I live). The smell wasn’t stronger in one room than the other, so I didn’t know the story.
I freaked out (quietly). Didn’t know what to do. Went downstairs and texted my now husband. He has a lot more experience with pot than I do. So I told him the whole story, didn’t know what to do, etc. He didn’t get back to me. Seemed weird.
I realized later that I inadvertently sent those texts to my 2nd son, the one home from college, who I most suspected. He was on my mind, and I was flustered and texted HIM instead of my husband. D’oh! By this time, it was late.
It was about 2 pm the next day when my son knocked on my door and came in. ‘I just want to know,’ he said, ‘who those texts were for.’
He was indeed the pot smoker. Based on our conversation, I don’t think it was the first time he smoked at home. He got caught this time due to a combination of bad timing, and it happened to be windy in exactly the wrong way. I guess he always opened his windows, but the wind was strong and gusting In right about when I walked past that night.
I don’t know the ‘right’ way to handle any of this. I actually felt a lot of empathy for him. I mean, smoking pot is pretty much developmentally normal, especially for a college kid. He was stuck in his childhood bedroom due to a global pandemic. The bottom line, I told him, is that I didn’t want him to smoke in the house, primarily because I have younger kids and don’t want them to think it’s okay. (And yes, all of that brings up the ‘When is it OK?’ question, and I don’t have the answers. )”
“I have no advice. I want better advice. I’ve been very open and honest with my son, except when he asked me when I first smoked pot last week, and I was like, ‘It’s just not something I’m going to tell you right now.’ I tend to focus on telling him that research shows it’s bad for developing brains, so don’t touch it yet. Bleh.
I have shown my son all of my weed — flower, edibles etc. I want him to know what it smells and looks like. I also talk openly with him about how I use marijuana too. I told him that I really think he would end up in the ER if he took an edible and that with all of the current info on developing brains, it seems like a bad idea. But I never act like weed is bad.
Truly I find it all so confusing! Like are we supposed to have them be more scared of weed than alcohol? My parents always said never drink, never drink…but they seemed fine with pot. My approach is to be open and for them to know that I’m there for them no matter what happens.”
“I am a pretty free-range parent, and I don’t have a lot of rules. I have tried to be very open with my kids and reinforce that I will love and help them no matter what and that my number #1 goal is their safety. So, they have told me they don’t need to hide things or deceive me. They have told me that the kids whose parents try the hardest to control are the ones doing the worst stuff.
Now I am not dumb enough to think my kids have never done anything or that they tell me everything....they do not. But, like when my son went to prom last week, I didn’t say, “Are you going to drink?’ I just said, ‘Who is the designated driver?’ Because I assumed he was going to drink. I could get all worked up about it. Still, he would just lie to me like I did to my parents … and I was actually a pretty goody two shoes … and I still lied to them and stood out in the middle of a field drinking Strawberry Boone’s Farm.
So, we have just tried to be very open with our kids and figure they are going to experiment no matter what we say, but hopefully, they will listen to ‘Always call me for a ride ‘and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff like buy pills off Snapchat’ or whatever. It may help that I am not a drug lover. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel, but my husband loves him some weed....so they see both sides?
I don’t know; ask me in 10 years if it worked.”
“Yes. So common. My daughter told me she went on a field trip to the aquarium, and everyone was high. Including her. It’s extra layered for me with other addiction issues in my family, but yeah. Big problem. I get a little worried about fentanyl.”
“I caught my youngest hitting up edibles in high school. I don’t think it needs to be terrifying. Kids grow into people. You’ll adjust as needed, and so will they. I was annoyed because my kid got the weed from my ex-husband, and it really pissed me off because I don’t think he’s a person to trust for shit like that. I said, ‘I’m not upset, and I get it; I just ask that if you’re going to dabble into substances, you do it responsibly and understand what you’re taking and from whom you’re taking it.’
I’m not a believer in telling teens no or disciplining them through shame or grounding kind of shit. I operate under the belief that my kids may act like idiots but are not, in fact, idiots, so I’d rather ask questions and listen. I also like for us to make an agreement on how to operate from there. In this case, our agreement was that I would be okay if they did it as long as they talked to their therapist and psychologist about the effect of it in conjunction with their meds. I asked that they do their best to not let it get out of hand and stated that if I start to see signs of that, I get to say something and will help them seek any support/help they may need.
These days my kid does a lot of weed, especially since they moved out, but they rarely if ever, drink, and they don’t fuck with other drugs. They also don’t do it if we have family events, school, or work. I would say it’s more than I’d like, but it tends to be mostly recreational.
Why did I decide to go this way? I have a lot of insecurities about parenting and how to do it, so I don’t necessarily think I’m right. I developed this idea when I was a young mom, especially in my single mom days, that if I couldn’t be that perfect mom, I could offer the truth. Like if anything failed, the kids would at least know that I was honest and truthful and stood by my word. It was really all I felt I had to offer as a parent.”
“Kids need to be explicitly warned about where they might encounter fentanyl and what it can do. My husband’s (28yo) step-nephew died of an overdose (didn’t know his heroin was laced with fentanyl), and I’ve heard too many sad stories to not make it a serious point of discussion. I think alcohol, vaping, and harder drugs are of much greater interest to me. In high school, my best friend’s ‘cool’ dad said, ‘If you smoke weed, please don’t drive.’ That was his primary interest. It didn’t necessarily deter us, but because of his attitude, we were usually hanging out at her house and listening to music. Not just getting into trouble behind the mall, which is where I hung out when I wasn’t at her house.”
“Before my teen goes out to a party, I have a little talk with her where I review the different categories of ‘not what I want you to do (but basically understandable if you must)’ - have one drink, take one hit - versus ‘never under any circumstances’ - get in a car with an impaired driver, go off alone, take an open drink from someone, etc etc. It’s a fun lil routine we have where she puts on makeup, and I try to juggle ‘have fun!’ and ‘don’t do anything terrifying.’”
“I want to point out that if we could take a gummy instead of smoking and smelling like ass, there would for sure have been way more kids high at school in our day!”
“Once, during the pandemic, we smelled it coming from his room upstairs (he was a junior in high school), and my wife asked him if he’d been smoking it. He denied it, and we decided not to make a big deal out of it. Part of that stemmed from the different high school experiences of my wife and I. She was basically a teen alcoholic (she got sober at 21, several years before we met) who also used pot but didn’t really like it (it made her paranoid). I never drank or partied in high school. I’m not a big drinker or pot person (I went through some phases with both in my 20s). All this is to say that we decided to take a somewhat lighter touch.
We made it clear that we didn’t approve of his doing this, at least not at his age, but we didn’t want to make it into a thing as his grades were good, as was his general demeanor. He went on a camping trip with his friends after graduation and told us they took mushrooms (but always had one person who didn’t partake in case things went sideways, which luckily they didn’t) and smoked pot. Again we were not psyched but did appreciate the honesty. Later that summer, my wife was cleaning up his room as he was getting ready to go away to college and found a mason jar with a pot in it. We confronted him about it and had a reasonably productive discussion about it, but we were conflicted about what to do with the pot. In the end, we decided to give it back to him begrudgingly, but it felt like the best of no-good options. We had decided that even though we didn’t like it, cannabis was preferable to alcohol, especially given all of the alcoholism in my wife’s family. Was it the right choice? I have no idea. He goes to college in San Francisco, so he’s definitely using it there, but it doesn’t seem to be obviously impeding him, and we’re hopeful he’s more like me in being a dabbler rather than a devotee. We live in MN, where recreational cannabis is about to be legalized (we did get some thanks to a mistake the Republicans made to a bill last year that legalized 5mg gummies and seltzers). I have to admit that I do enjoy the occasional THC seltzer but do worry about the effects of THC on developing brains. We never found that perfect approach, but luckily, our kid never forced us into dramatic action.”
“My 17 yo smokes a lot of pot. I don’t know how much, but it’s not insignificant. I can’t do much about it because I refuse to fight with her like my parents did, which only made me sneak around. Not that she does it in front of me, and she knows I’m not thrilled about it, but my biggest concern for the last several years has been keeping her alive, so I’m not losing my mind over pot. She’s also come home very drunk a few times, and I had to take care of her once while she was tripping; that was not fun. I’m very happy that she’s going to college in the fall, and this won’t be in front of me all the time. The other side is that I skipped my senior year of high school and went straight to college, so when I was exactly her age, I was getting drunk all the time. Plus, I spent my junior year of high school getting drunk fairly often with my boyfriend, who was a freshman in college. So while I worry about my kid, she’s not doing anything different than what I did, just with a different substance.”
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One witchy thing
Me texting with a witchy friend on how she came to find a deceased worm named Legend in her 2nd grade daughter’s backpack: