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Q. We just found out our son, who is in the 8th grade, has been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol off and on since the 7th grade. When we found out, he agreed that he wouldn't use drugs any more until he is 18. I think we should take him to a place where he could see what happens to people who use drugs. Do you have any idea where we can take him to see this?

A. It is unlikely that a treatment center would allow you to "tour" because of confidentiality issues. You might be able to arrange a visit to a jail, but there are better ways to make an impression on your son. And, by the way, alcohol is illegal until age 21 and marijuana is illegal for anyone. So, agreeing not use until age 18 doesn't really cut it.

He is very young and in exactly the most vulnerable age for going "off track". First, you need to take your son to his doctor for a complete examination including a drug test to determine is he is now clear of drugs. Depending on the results, you may need to involve him in counseling or treatment. Let your doctor help you decide.

Then, he will need your close attention. It's not pestering ……it's parenting! Restrict his unsupervised time until you feel confident that you can trust him. Get him involved in a community service project where he has adult supervision if you can't be with him this summer.

He needs to know that he's run up against the wall as far as your rules are concerned. You can redirect his energy, though it will take a lot of your time and attention. You can do it! Good luck - he's worth the trouble.

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Last Updated 06.17.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy