Is Your Smart Teen Smoking Pot? Do they Believe it’s Safe?
Good teens making bad choices and ways to help.
We are regularly contacted by parents when they hit their wit’s end — not only because of behavioral issues of their teenager, but they find out they have been smoking pot (marijuana).
Whether it’s on a regular basis or for recreational purposes, the fact is, since marijuana has become legal in some states, many teens assume this means it’s a safe drug for them too.
Some parents are confused to how serious it can be. Not only for their health, but it’s having ramifications on their future too.
Is your teen being scouted for an athletic scholarship? Or are they considered for an academic one? Maybe applying for a job where drug testing is done.
Today the majority of colleges that are handing out scholarships are hiring third parties to monitor up to 4 years of social media background on their potential student. How will your teen stand-up to a Google rinse cycle? Are there any images or content of them at parties with substances? Remember, it’s not only about your GPA or athletic ability anymore — it’s about your online reputation. It’s equal to your offline character.
If you find your teen is actively using marijuana, you have won half the battle because you know what’s going on. This is a great benefit as many parents are in the dark. But what are the next steps to immediately take?
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids advises that the following actions can help:
- Be clear that drug use will not be tolerated, and set the terms of any ramifications to follow, such as grounding or earlier curfew. It is critical to then implement any such repercussions, in order to underline the severity of the situation.
- Provide opportunities to re-establish the bond of trust, such as supervising homework and chores but also recognizing a job well done.
- Be responsive to the child’s efforts to correct the behavior, as a punishing attitude alone can jeopardize or damage the emotional bond between parent and child.
- If a friend is involved, consider contacting the parents. First, it will send a message that drug use will not be tolerated. Second, it can help the other parents to take measures to prevent their children’s drug abuse. Third, it creates a dialogue around drug use between concerned parents.
The following are some ways parents can determine if their child is using marijuana:
- Understand and watch out for the physical and psychological signs of marijuana use, which includes side effects of use, severe reactions/side effects of marijuana toxicity, and withdrawal symptoms.
- Learn about the behavioral signs associated with substance abuse.
- Consider searching for potential hiding places for marijuana and related paraphernalia.
The physical and psychological signs of marijuana use are the same as the side effects the user will experience. Most often, these effects are temporary and may only last up to a few hours. For this reason, parents may not have an opportunity to notice the physical side effects of marijuana use when children use marijuana away from home.
Some children may use marijuana at home or return home before the effects have fully worn away.
It is important to know the physical side effects, which range in severity, but can include:
- Red eyes
- Increased blood pressure
- Dizziness and headaches
- Laughter without a reason
- Nausea or vomiting
- Panic or anxiety
We’re not condoning teen’s smoking pot, but we also recognize that sadly it’s becoming a new normal. Parents need to intervene before it escalates. This is not your generation’s marijuana.
If you’ve exhausted your local resources for help, such as therapy and other avenues, it may be time for residential therapy.
It’s important to find the right school or program for your teen. Not a program that populates an element of addicts or hard-core gang members. It’s likely your son or daughter is a good kid starting to make some bad choices — probably trying to fit in or struggling with other emotional issues that’s driving them to escape their feelings. It’s important to determine why.
Don’t get sucked into the programs that are punitive or primitive. We believe in finding the right fit for your individual needs. Building them up to make good choices.
Read our featured article about why teens believe marijuana is safe.