Suspicion of teen drinking - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 11-07-2011, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So some backstory - DS is 15, will be 16 in January. We have only had him a year, he is adopted. Previous to living with us he smoked pot, drank, ran around with a horrible crowd. He stopped smoking pot about 5 months before we got him, and quit drinking before then. However, even though his bio family is full of alcoholics, he still doesn't think drinking is as bad as smoking pot.

 

A couple months ago he told us (with some prodding, we granted immunity if he told us) that he had smoked pot once with a girl to try to impress her. He said he knew it was wrong and that he wasn't going to do it again. He hasn't hung out with that girl again (it was a one time only thing).

 

Today he hinted around that there was something else he wasn't telling me. He said it was 2 months ago. I'm pretty sure, based on his nonverbals when I questioned it, that it's drinking. I don't think he got drunk persay, but I do think he drank. He will not come out and say it this time, he said that he would be in big trouble, but that it's not as bad as "smoking" or "having sex without a condom", which is something we have drilled into him.

 

I don't really know what to do. DH and I don't drink because we don't want to do it in front of him. We always talk about how at risk he is for alcoholism, and it's even been broached in counseling. I have stated over and over how I want better for him.

 

DH and I have just told him that we trust that he will make the right decision and that we want better for him than what his bio family had. What else do we do?

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#2 of 6 Old 11-08-2011, 04:00 AM
 
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When my kids, who are 12 (twin girls) are moving in a direction I dont think is healthy I started a new thing with them recently. Instead of grounding them from things, taking away priveleges etc. what I do now is keep them near me, in the home ... kind of like restriction/grounding but with a whole different bent on it from my perspective. We all take a step back and gain a bit of perspective. I keep them near me. For now, the best, safest place for them, the place they will learn the things *I* want them to learn in order to be a functioning, healthy, rational adult, to grow in that direction is for them to be near me, in the home, reading, or just taking stock, thinking. This is a long process for me ...and them, bc we've all learned some unhealthy habits in dealing with one another, with situations we face, etc. Your ds is just on the cusp of you still being able to have this sort of teaching authority over him. If you have a good relationship with him, in the long run he will understand why you do this sort of thing.

 

The things we do together vary really. We talk a lot at the moment. We play games together, read together. All this instead of them going out with their friends, even without watching too much of those tv programs that influence their bad attitudes (this is where we're at now, granted not as extreme as having a drinking problem but the same principle applies). I feel its about investing in them your time, effort, your willingness to change how you handle things. Its not restriction really, it might feel like grounding but Im finding that soon changes bc they end up enjoying our time together and dont miss those things that influenced their behaviour.

 

Does this make sense. Im not exactly sure how to impliment this sort of thing with an older teen who isnt my child but I think something about taking a step back... for everybody, including your ds, and taking stock can only help in the long run. For me, Im holding out until I see a change of behaviour in them, a change in heart attitude, for when the lightbulb switches on in their brains and REAL change occurs. They are still allowed to watch tv and hang out with friends, sleep over from time to time but not as often, the best place for them to be is by my side when I have something to teach them. I only wish i had realised this sooner.

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#3 of 6 Old 11-08-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisnic View Post
What else do we do?


Hello!

 

I think that some of what helps kids weather these storms is being in positive activities, feeling like they have a future, and being connected to people who love them.

 

So my advice, which might sound odd, would be to start by helping him find an outside of school activity that he really likes. I don't think it mattesr what it is. Guitar lessons, martial arts, rock climbing -- anything really. A positive hobby can be an anchor for a kid in the teen years.

 

Second, help him find someplace to volunteer. It will make his world bigger, show him new possibilities, and help him see himself as a contributing member of society. My 15 year old volunteered at the library last summer. Next summer, she plans to volunteer at the hospital. Our local botanical garden takes teen volunteers. There are tons of possibilities -- help him find one he likes. Nothing teaches a kid that they have something to offer more than actually making a contribution and doing REAL work.

 

Last, and I'm sure you are already doing this, spend time connecting and having fun as a family. Board games, spending time in nature, etc. I still read outloud to my kids, even though they are teens. I read a chapter of a book every night. Although some might see it as babish, it's a really nice time for us to connect. Your son may have missed out on a lot of normal kids thing before he came to you, and starting a family reading time might hep fill in some gaps. Starting with something like The Hobbit could be nice.

 

Good luck!  He's lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have him. love.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 6 Old 11-08-2011, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahh! You guys make me feel like I might actually know what I'm doing! lol. I am currently on maternity leave since our adoption went through a week ago - I'm here for another week and his dad is home another 3. So lots of one on one time and he hasn't gone to friends houses at all because it's been family time. We also have his younger bio siblings every other weekend, so the time he is actually able to spend a large amount of time with his friends is limited. We have been talking with him about the type of people he associates with and how he needs to find better people to be around. 

 

Also, he is homeschooled, and job shadows/volunteers for 2 different places during the week. Also he just started piano lessons. lol. We recently started taking him to the local community college to do his schoolwork during the week when he's not volunteering, and he really likes it. It makes him more focused on his studies (he wants to go to MIT).

 

Really, the difference in him in just a year is huge. Gigantic really. He failed the 8th grade and then a year later took the placement test for college (he has to score college level in all 3 areas to be able to take college classes before he is 16.) He scored one point away from perfect on writing, college level in reading and 7 points away from college level in math! He makes me so proud, he just has little moments like this...I have to be sure to focus on the positive.

 

He LOVES me reading outloud to him. Even at the doctors office, I'll ask if he wants me to read a book when we're waiting in the room and he says yes. We often read his stuff for school outloud too.

 

He very much cares about what I think, as well as his dad, and normally takes our opinions to heart. He needs a lot of comfort (honestly, he climbs into our bed most nights...we have discussed it with the therapist who said he's just telling us what he needs, so we have no problem with it - lots of cuddling time we wouldn't normally get) so we have to be gentle with him.

 

We are very very lucky to be able to be his parents. He is our world.

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#5 of 6 Old 11-10-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by krisnic View Post

 

Today he hinted around that there was something else he wasn't telling me. He said it was 2 months ago. I'm pretty sure, based on his nonverbals when I questioned it, that it's drinking. I don't think he got drunk persay, but I do think he drank. He will not come out and say it this time, he said that he would be in big trouble, but that it's not as bad as "smoking" or "having sex without a condom", which is something we have drilled into him.


I was thinking about how I would handle this information from my kids. I think I would assure them that every one makes mistakes. Humans do things and then realize later they weren't a great idea, we all end up regretting our actions from time to time. The important bit is to LEARN from mistakes and avoid repeating the same ones over and over. Some times it's enough to realize it was a mistake. Sometimes we need to dig deeper and figure out why we did it, or what events led up to it. Sometimes if we realize that we were trying to fit in, for example, we can work on those feelings in more positive ways, or if we realize that hanging out at certain people's houses is problematic, we can meet those friends in public (or make different friends).

 

We can forgive ourselves.

 

Doing something *bad* doesn't make a person bad. If you've done something bad, the important thing is to not do it again.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 6 Old 11-11-2011, 04:26 AM
 
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Wow, he seems like a wonderful kid and you are wonderful parents!

 

You've probably already done all this but... My dd's bio father has a family history of alcoholism, too.  Have you stressed that, assuming he has the genes for alcoholism, it will be very, very hard for him to stop drinking once he starts?  He won't be able to make rational choices about drinking as non-alcoholics can.  I keep stressing to my dd that most kids feel like they can safely experiment with alcohol with no repercussions (say, at a sleepover when no one will be driving), but for those with a family history of alcoholism that just doesn't happen.  A few drinks is all it takes...  Do you know any recovering alcoholics who could talk to him about this? ...about the uncontrollable urge they had to use alcohol once they started?  

 

Good luck...it sounds like you are making wonderful choices and giving your son the very best chances at success....

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