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
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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