Don't tolerate teen son's pot smoking

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My son is a junior in high school (almost 17). We have had several issues since last summer regarding drinking and smoking pot. As far as we know, he is pretty honest with us regarding what he does. We have had many lengthy discussions about why partying of any kind is not good at his age. We do not condone it. He says he likes to smoke pot -- not every day but on weekends with his friends. He knows our stance on the subject, but he told me today that he cannot wait to go to a party this weekend and smoke pot. We are at our wits' end. I appreciate his candor but fear that his behavior will catch up with him in a bad way. Is booting him out of the house the answer? I don't want to!

--Tired Mother


DEAR MOTHER: It seems strange that you would ponder booting your son out of the house before you would consider having a conversation with him that involves more than sharing your "stance" on partying. The word "stance" implies standing. So stand up for yourself -- and for him.

Protect him from his own lousy judgment and convey to him that you expect much more from him than to simply be honest about his poor choices. You expect him not to make these choices.

Smoking pot and drinking alcohol at 16 are illegal.

This fact may actually compensate for some of your weak parenting, but have you emphasized this?

Try to turn the page by saying, "Honey, you're not going to be smoking pot with your friends. And if you do, we will find you and drag you home. We'll call the police if we have to." Get a backbone. If you won't stand up for your own beliefs, how can you expect him to have the strength to do anything more than weakly manipulate you? Some parents resort to random drug testing their kids. While this may seem draconian, it can actually give kids an "out" when they're being tested by their peers.