Anyone randomly drug test your teen? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In the past month, many (actually, most) of the 16 year olds in our neighborhood have been found to be regular drug users. My oldest is 16 and we are talking about many of his friends here. My ds has admitted to smoking pot. The parents have all been in contact (most of us are good friends) and are working together to get a handle on the situation. The drugs being used are mostly marijuana, some mushrooms, alcohol with some ecstasy and prescription drugs thrown in. A few kids are doing coke. I've known many of these kids since they were small and they are truly good, smart kids - they just seem to be making some bad choices. Most parents are doing random drug tests, and this was suggested by our pediatrician as well. I'd love to hear from any of you that have experience with this. Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 09:48 AM
 
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I came to this forum specifically to post about drugs and my 15.5 yo ds. I haven't had him random tested, but like your ds, mine has admitted to using mj. I know he has friends who do, I read their myspace pages. Scary. And scary how easy it is for them to get. My ds doesn't have a job, the only $$ he gets is what I give him which isn't much.

I guess my question to you is that if you and your son have an open communication and he has admitted to you that he's tried mj, what is the point of the drug test? You know what it will say already, don't you? I do, that's why I don't bother. Unless it's just to see if he's tried other stuff as well? But then, why not just ask him?

I don't have any good solutions either, so I'd love to hear how you're handling it. Never thought I'd be this mom - yet here I am.

to you too, it's a tough place to be!
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#3 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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MJ is generally less harmful than unfiltered cigarettes. Mushrooms aren't that bad either. A big habit of doing either, or using the other things you mentioned, would be very worrying though. I plan to teach that drugs are for use in certain situations to treat or achieve certain things, not to be taken lightly or done regularly. This said though I have never and will never use any of them myself, and DH tried pot once and honestly didn't like it. I wouldn't test, I would hope the open approach to education would lead to a honest communication.
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#4 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 10:17 AM
 
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I suppose the relevant questions are:

- what would you do with the information?

- do you currently have a trusting relationship with your son? how would random drug testing affect it?

I'm not sure what the random drug test would be 'for': is the idea to test whether he is being truthful? To get more information? What would be next?
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#5 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The situation here is that one of ds's friends was selling mj and mushrooms. His parents found out about it, searched his room and found (among other things) a list he had made of his customers. This was a long list which included just about every teen we know. The "sellers" parents called the parents of all the "customers". This led parents to search their own kids' rooms, text messages, etc. and more info was gathered that way about who was doing what and how often. None of these kids admitted anything until it became clear that the parents already had proof. I asked my ds about it after the phone call, but before searching his room, etc. He did admit it when asked, but he had already been tipped off by the seller that the s*%t had hit the fan, so he knew we already knew. I already had him scheduled for his sports physical a few days later so while we were there we discussed it with his ped. I took him that day for a drug test to verify what was in his system.

At this point, it is clear that many of these kids have progressed into dangerous territory...chronic mj use, alcoholism, coke, oxycontin, ecstasy. This is pervasive...there doesn't seem to be a single kid we know that isn't abusing some substance or another. Right now it's like a ghost town around here because just about every teenager is currently on "lock down" until the parents figure out how to handle whatever is going on with their particular kid. Once school starts again, these same kids will be right back in the same situations they were in before. The ped. recommended random testing, and ds is for it - he says it will give him an excuse to say no when offered drugs. I guess "I can't, my parents test me" is easier to say than just plain "No, thanks."

DH,ds and I are still working through this. We want to trust ds, but he had no problem lying to us for about 10 months before we found out. Also, he is starting to drive now and I feel that it is stupid to put him behind the wheel when we have reason to believe he may be impaired. Right now, he's lost all priviledges such as driving, cell phone, going out, etc. I've also taken away his bank card so he can't make withdrawals on his own. (He works so he has a decent cash flow). We are thinking of returning priviledges one by one with proof of responsible choices on his part--testing clean. Clearly, if he tests positive for anything he would lose them again. I'm sure trust will build again over time, but right now we're feeling like he duped us for a long time and we need to learn from our mistakes too. This whole situation makes me so sad.
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#6 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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My parents... when my brother was about 16... started randomly testing his urine for alcohol when he came home at night. (He's 34, a successful engineer who owns his own business now). They were truly at a loss about how to handle the situation. He, I think, was lying about drinking and they were worried he was driving himself home under the influence. He would have to wake them up when he came in but if he'd been drinking he'd find ways to disguise his breath. So... the pee tests. It was a hard situation all the way around. After awhile he started peeing in a cup BEFORE he went out and then warming it under the water before handing the sample out from the bathroom to them so they'd think he'd just done it. (You can see he's a smart guy).
He forgot one night and so they discovered his trick.

Anyway... I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. Just wanted you to know that it's been done. My brother is fine now. I'm not exactly sure how either of them (parents or brother) feel about the situation in hindsight. I know my brother was very angry with my parents and it may have even spurred him on to drink more... or lie... or whatever. I don't know if my parents think NOW that it was effective. I only know that they were lost and worried. My brother isn't a big talker, especially about feelings. I was away at college at the time so I missed most of it. Just know how distraught my parents were. I see my mom tomorrow... maybe I'll ask her if she regrets that decision or if she would do it the same again.

I really feel for you. My ds is only 2... and of course, I'm hoping to avoid the situation altogether... but I know it happens in even the nicest, most open families. Good luck!

Oh... and as far as what THEY did with the info... they were just doing it as a preventitive measure, thinking that if my brother KNEW he could be tested he'd not take the risk. I think they also used it to judge whether or not he had a serious problem... thinking that if he STILL drank even when he knew he could be caught he must have an addiction. But, like I said... I think the testing may have actually spurred him on. Anyway... if he got caught he was punished... car taken away or whatever.

Good luck again. Please know that lots of kids experiment and it's normal and my brother is fine. BUT that obviously isn't always the case. Some kids get into serious trouble and really need help.
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#7 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, artgirl. We have a standing order at a lab for random drug tests whenever we choose to bring him in. Not sure if we'll use it, but it's there just in case. We've researched home tests and do understand that we need to go into the bathroom with him to watch him pee in the cup and test it immediately. There is also an at-home alcohol test that uses a saliva swab and gives results in about a minute. We have friends that have invested in a breathalizer for their daughter to breath into when she gets home. It's pretty hard to know what to do. At this point, I feel like he's proven that he can't be trusted. He says he doesn't want to do it anymore, but he may well be just telling us what we want to hear. I think that the fact that he wants the random testing to help him say no may be a good thing. At least until he feels he is able to say no for himself, rather than for us.
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#8 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3boysmom View Post

The ped. recommended random testing, and ds is for it - he says it will give him an excuse to say no when offered drugs. I guess "I can't, my parents test me" is easier to say than just plain "No, thanks."

Also, he is starting to drive now and I feel that it is stupid to put him behind the wheel when we have reason to believe he may be impaired. .
That's interesting. It sounds like because drug use is really pervasive among his friends, he feels like he would need an 'out' in order to decline drugs. If he's telling you testing and having you guys play bad cop would make this easier for him, that may be a reason to go for it, but definitely explore it further with him. "I can't - I'll get caught" may make saying no easier, but he needs more in his arsenal. What if his friends developed a technique to get around the tests, like artgirl's brother, and responded by sharing it with him, telling him there was nothing to worry about?
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#9 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:25 AM
 
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3boysmom,
I think it IS a good sign that he's willing to do the tests and that he can use that as a reason to say no. I think peer pressure at that age is INCREDIBLE and sometimes a kid actually WANTS the parent to interfere so that they don't have to look bad/wimpy/scared/uncool in their friend's eyes.
I will really be pulling for your family. I remember all too well how stressful that time was.
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#10 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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DH and I have always had very open communication with my DSD. Nonetheless, we *trusted* she was a normal, curious teen. We *trusted* that she was living in the moment, feeling pressure to conform and weighing her friends' tellings at least as valid as her parent's words.

Over a period of five years, we tested her three times and for specific reasons. She understood why we were testing and it settled, without doubt, without drawn out discussion, whether she was living life within agreed-to boundaries.

She had the perfect "out" when peer pressure was applied - parents who might test and concern she'd be *dead meat* if anything came back positive.

DH's family has a long history of addictions. His two sons have inherited the tendency. (I did not have a hand in raising them.) DH and I felt that if we could get DSD past the young teen years without her going down that path, it would be unlikely that she would make those poor choices when she was older. It worked.

For the flip side - DH and I visited the father of one of DSD's friends when we heard that she had been taking hard drugs (not from our daughter, but from a reliable adult who was hesitant to approach the girl's father). Instead of testing her, as we suggested, he spoke to his daughter and was reassured that she was O.K.. Since, his daughter has been in-and-out of drug rehabilitation, twice.

Both DH and I made stupid choices as teens. My parents were clueless because there were no outward signs of trouble. I was the #1 student at my high school - winning all sorts of local and national academic awards, I did volunteer work, I was respectful, I obeyed the rules of curfew, I spoke openly to my parents on all sorts of topics ... and, by the grace of God, or sheer luck, I didn't kill myself by risk taking and, eventually, wised-up. So, when I became a parent to my husband's daughter, I knew that sometimes more than observation and conversation was needed to be sure of what was going-on.
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#11 of 63 Old 08-10-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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I’m posting after only reading the OP….
Wow I could have written your post! I have done random tests on my son (16) and 2 out of the 3 have come back positive for pot and nothing else. I don’t feel I’ve violated my son by doing these tests and well frankly he has given me reasons to WANT them done. Also, DS had to consent to having the blood drawn so it’s not like he didn’t have a choice.
Now I’m going to go and read everyone’s responses and maybe respond again LOL!
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#12 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 05:18 AM
 
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I haven't read the replies, but my first thought was: They've already admitted to doing it, so what's the point of the test? What will you do if it comes back positive?

I have to say that in absence of an extreme circumstance (imminent danger to himself or others) that I can only imagine your relationship being harmed by random drug testing, and can't see anything positive coming out of it.

I know some may disagree with me on this, but given his age I think it would be more productive to focus on making smart choices, using drugs responsibly and safely, being careful about who supplies them, discussing the possible legal, physical, and emotional consequences of drug use, and above all, letting them know that you are always going to be there to help and guide them in any way they need it. If they're in trouble, I want them to know they can call me to help them out without fear of punishment or shame.
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#13 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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I think it would be more productive to focus on making smart choices, using drugs responsibly and safely, being careful about who supplies them, discussing the possible legal, physical, and emotional consequences of drug use, and above all, letting them know that you are always going to be there to help and guide them in any way they need it. If they're in trouble, I want them to know they can call me to help them out without fear of punishment or shame.

:

Tell me, how does a kid commit a crime and do drugs "responsibly" or "safely"?


Maybe I am the only one..but if my kids commit crimes then yes, I will punish them. That doesn't mean I won't guide them or help them, but there will be consequences for illegal drug use in my home.

And, again, could just be me...but sometimes people do things that they should be ashamed of...like driving under the influence. That to me is shameful behavior.
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#14 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are an extremely open family...we talk about everything. Our kids are all very aware that illegal activities are not ok with us. Even more important, they know that treating our bodies and minds with respect and making responsible choices is the expectation in our family.

I realize that the teen years are a time of testing and trying to figure out who you are, the kind of life you want to lead. At this point, we realize that ds has made some poor choices. We want to figure out how to best support him as he strives to learn from his experiences, move past his mistakes, and make better choices in the future. Since ds has betrayed our trust by lying to us for several months about this, drug testing may be a good option to give dh and I factual information about what ds is up to, as well as give ds a way to opt out of this stuff in the future.
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#15 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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I have tested him.. the cops have also random tested him..

NOT GOOD.
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#16 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 02:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LotusBirthMama View Post
:

Tell me, how does a kid commit a crime and do drugs "responsibly" or "safely"?


Maybe I am the only one..but if my kids commit crimes then yes, I will punish them. That doesn't mean I won't guide them or help them, but there will be consequences for illegal drug use in my home.

And, again, could just be me...but sometimes people do things that they should be ashamed of...like driving under the influence. That to me is shameful behavior.
I have an entirely different viewpoint about this. First of all, I don't punish my children. So right there we are going to be approaching this differently. I can't think of a single person I knew in highschool whose drug/alcohol related behavior changed by being grounded. They just got better at lying.

As far how to do something that is illegal responsibly? I don't live my life based on what is legal or not. I do what I think is right for me and my family, and I want my children to learn to use their best judgement based on what is happening for them at any given time, not on whatever the ever changing screwed up idiots in charge happen to say is okay. So yes, drinking/doing drugs responsibily will be a huge discussion in our house in the upcoming years. I think there is a big distinction between smoking a joint at a friend's house and smoking crack. I think there is a big difference between having a beer when at home watching a movie and drunk driving. There is a big difference between taking mushrooms when out camping with friends and taking them at a concert in a big city. There's a big difference between buying a bag of weed on the streetcorner and buying from a friend you know well who grows it himself.

I don't subscribe to the Just Say No campaign to end drug use, and I don't subscribe to abstinence as a way to prevent teen pregnancy. I think both are completely useless at best, and probably do more harm than good since they mainly serve to put a wall up between teenagers and the adults that could be guiding them. The vast majority of teenagers, no matter how they are raised or how "good" they are, are going to try drugs/alcohol/sex at some point. I much prefer that I be of use in guiding in them in making smart, responsible choices when they do, rather than having them lie to me because they are afraid of being punished. They are in far less danger when they call me to pick them up drunk or high from a party than if they get into a drunk/high friend's car to get home.

My primary job as their parent is to keep them safe. And I can only do that if we have a completely open and non punitive dialogue about anything that is going on in their life.
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#17 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I don't have a teen, so I won't comment on the discipline issue here, but . . .

I would really look into how useful a drug test would be in your situation. Will it actually give you meaningful information, or would it be more like a discipline ritual? For example, one random urine sample might test positive for marijuana which could mean your son smoked pot once at his friends house a week or two earlier. Or, you could have a test that was completely negative for all drugs and your son could have used meth or heroin the week before . . . I mean, when I was a teen I hated pot, and used much, much harder drugs that would not have shown up on a test two days later.

Also, it doesn't take a wiz kid to pass a drug test. The internet is full of helpful information for people who need to pass drug tests. Plenty of chronic pot smokers pass piss tests simply by drinking lots of water.
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#18 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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I completely agree with Oceanbaby. I find her post very well written, and I do think it is possible to do certain drugs and drink responsibly.

I would not drug test either of my teenagers. I think it's a violation of their privacy, and, to me, there's something about it that goes against having a trusting and loving relationship.
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#19 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 03:50 PM
 
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I have a perspective on this. I have a daughter, 18, who smokes marijuana fairly regularly. She is working 2 jobs, one as a bank teller, one at the same place she's been for 2.5 years and manages their office on weekends.

She graduated from HS with a 3.86 GPA, and is starting college this fall, with her eyes on our U of O's college of business. She is the most responsible, clearheaded child I have ever met, more so then most adults, and certainly more than I was at her age!

I have a beer several nights after work with dinner. One reason- it goes well with dinner. Another reason- it relaxes me.
How hypocritical would it be of me to "punish" her for having a bong hit before bed a few nights a week, or with friends watching a movie? NO she does not drive under the influence. Yes she has smoked on our property (but not in the house). I certainly did it at her age, and also graduated HS with a high GPA, was extremely successful in college, etc.

BUT...it can go both ways. We have people in our family who have struggled HARD with addiction, and I have seen the damage some drugs can do.

I do not worry about occasional, or even fairly regular, marijuana use. I would worry far more about teen drinking, as alcohol is a far more dangerous substance (both in toxicity and impairment).

My daughter and I are really close, discuss quite a bit about her life, and I have told her that smoking pot will become a problem if you allow it to be habitual- that is, if you feel like you "can't" go to sleep, relax, socialize, etc without it.

The bottom line, I guess, is that I experimented as a teen and came out fine. I tried LSD, mushrooms, coke, etc...smoked pot a lot, drank occasionally. I learned some stuff from that all, and moved on with my life. I have shared my experiences, and what I think about it all, with my kids. Any "punishment" would be hypocritical on my part.
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#20 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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MJ is generally less harmful than unfiltered cigarettes. Mushrooms aren't that bad either. A big habit of doing either, or using the other things you mentioned, would be very worrying though. I plan to teach that drugs are for use in certain situations to treat or achieve certain things, not to be taken lightly or done regularly. This said though I have never and will never use any of them myself, and DH tried pot once and honestly didn't like it. I wouldn't test, I would hope the open approach to education would lead to a honest communication.
As a former raver, and a former regular user of mushrooms (in high school...we picked them ourselves in Texas) I have to say that I saw more than one occasion where kids purchased dried mushrooms, ordinary grocery store variety, that had been dusted with PCP. So, no, mushrooms aren't that bad, IF and this is a big if.....the person knows exactly where they came from.

I also smoked a lot of pot in high school, and I was given joints at parties that had been dusted too. Drugs are dangerous.....pot in and of itself isn't all that bad, but people aren't always trustworthy when they are giving you drugs. Kids would also dip their joints in formaldehyde in the science lab at school.

Misti, mom to DS (12), DS (9), DD (3), and Mr. Man (October '10)!

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#21 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But what do you do when your teen engages in patterns of behavior that you believe to be harmful? No matter how openly you talk, the bottom line is that they may still make choices that are harmful. As a parent, it is very difficult to find the line between respecting their privacy and still being their parent and guiding them toward good decisions - especially if you have reason to believe that they may be headed down a dangerous path.

No matter what your beliefs about drug use, what do you do when it becomes obvious that your child is endangering themselves (and possibly others)? No one in this house is expected to be perfect (or even close to it) but we do feel that it is our job as parents to provide support and guidance. Right now we are trying to figure out how to do that. Our biggest hurdle is that we feel that we can not trust ds at the moment to be truthful with us. He is only 16, we need real information about what he is doing. We also have two younger kids in the house who look up to and adore him...his actions affect all of us. This is really hard.
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#22 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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No one's personal philosophy about drug use will matter if your child is found in possession, or under the influence, by law enforcement or other authority. To guide them into thinking that there is a "responsible" way to break the law is, IMO, oxymoronic.

Just yesterday, my daughter and I were shopping at a local market and ran into the boy with whom she had gone to the Junior Prom. Last she knew, he was continuing his academic excellence in his freshman year of college. We spotted him stocking shelves - summer employment, we assumed. But, no - stocking shelves was now this boy's "life". He explained that campus officials (where he attended college) did random checks and he was found with pot. As a result, he was expelled with no chance of return -- the college has a "Zero-Tolerance" policy. He tried to get into a local college for this coming semester, but once they saw the reason for his expulsion, they said, "No, thank you."

I'm sure people will b*tch and moan about invasions of privacy and make statements about the innocence of pot smoking. But, none of those words will change the fact that this boy's life was derailed as a predictable result of breaking law and campus policy.

When my daughter asked him, "Were you parents mad?" He said, "My mother was furious!" My daughter assumed he meant that his mother was mad at him. But, no - his mother was mad at the school!

Perhaps, some will post that his parents are to blame because while they were advising him how to do drugs "responsibly" they failed to advise how to evade detection and the best lies to tell if caught?

In response to a prior post - random testing precludes most tampering. Spend more ... get more. About $10 will get you a single test for the 10 most commonly used drugs and an adulteration check. The adulteration check will let you know if the urine has been diluted, is not the proper pH and temperature, or contains masking additives or oxidants.

My experience in raising two through teenage years is that children will either live-up or live-down to your expectations, depending on where you place the bar. If you don't expect much, that's exactly what you'll get. Make clear that you expect your children to respect their bodies and obey law and you've already doing something meaningful to ensure they do.
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#23 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 09:49 PM
 
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No one's personal philosophy about drug use will matter if your child is found in possession, or under the influence, by law enforcement or other authority. To guide them into thinking that there is a "responsible" way to break the law is, IMO, oxymoronic.

Just yesterday, my daughter and I were shopping at a local market and ran into the boy with whom she had gone to the Junior Prom. Last she knew, he was continuing his academic excellence in his freshman year of college. We spotted him stocking shelves - summer employment, we assumed. But, no - stocking shelves was now this boy's "life". He explained that campus officials (where he attended college) did random checks and he was found with pot. As a result, he was expelled with no chance of return -- the college has a "Zero-Tolerance" policy. He tried to get into a local college for this coming semester, but once they saw the reason for his expulsion, they said, "No, thank you."

I'm sure people will b*tch and moan about invasions of privacy and make statements about the innocence of pot smoking. But, none of those words will change the fact that this boy's life was derailed as a predictable result of breaking law and campus policy.

When my daughter asked him, "Were you parents mad?" He said, "My mother was furious!" My daughter assumed he meant that his mother was mad at him. But, no - his mother was mad at the school!

Perhaps, some will post that his parents are to blame because while they were advising him how to do drugs "responsibly" they failed to advise how to evade detection and the best lies to tell if caught?
Part of having this dialogue with your children is about the fact that it is illegal, and that's why I mentioned discussing the legal consequences. You're right - it doesn't matter what my opinion is as to how ridiculous it is that pot is illegal when it comes to dealing with being caught. But talking to a teenager about the possible ramifications of engaging in an illegal activity is part of being responsible about it. As well as discussing the difference between smoking in the privacy of your own home and carrying it with you onto government property, across state lines, etc.

(However, I attended UC Berkeley, and if they expelled everyone who was found with a joint on them they would have had to close the campus down.)
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#24 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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But what do you do when your teen engages in patterns of behavior that you believe to be harmful? No matter how openly you talk, the bottom line is that they may still make choices that are harmful. As a parent, it is very difficult to find the line between respecting their privacy and still being their parent and guiding them toward good decisions - especially if you have reason to believe that they may be headed down a dangerous path.

No matter what your beliefs about drug use, what do you do when it becomes obvious that your child is endangering themselves (and possibly others)? No one in this house is expected to be perfect (or even close to it) but we do feel that it is our job as parents to provide support and guidance. Right now we are trying to figure out how to do that. Our biggest hurdle is that we feel that we can not trust ds at the moment to be truthful with us. He is only 16, we need real information about what he is doing. We also have two younger kids in the house who look up to and adore him...his actions affect all of us. This is really hard.
That does sound hard, and I admittedly don't have any personal experience with it. I guess I would be focusing on what can be done to restore the trust. Maybe talking with him about what his fears are if he tells you the truth. Is it that he will get in trouble? That you will be ashamed of him? That you will think he is a bad kid? That you won't let him see his friends?

I am really only guessing here, seeing as how my oldest is only 6yo. It definitely sounds like you are doing a great job being attentive and sensitive and loving. As far as him wanting an out, he can always just tell his friends that he is being randomly tested, whether he really is or not. I have not been in your situation, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I just don't see random drug testing being an answer. It would seem to me that making sure he doesn't do the drugs in the first place (or making sure that he makes safe choices about which drugs to do, and how and when and with who) is more important than finding out that he already did.

And of course the obvious question is "But how do you do that?" And that's what I don't know. I think that's a question that a lot of parents constantly ask themselves about any number of situations. The hard truth might be that despite all our best efforts, sometimes our kids are going to do things that are dangerous, and that at a certain age we can't always fix it. I don't say that in the vein of just forget it, tell him do whatever he wants, and throw in the towel. I mean it in the sense of doing the best that you can, and then leaving the rest to him, having faith that he knows that you are available to him without judgment or reproach whenever he needs you.

My mom has talked about this in regard to my younger sister, who was a little more wild in her teenage years than I was. She has said that the hardest part of raising older children was the realization that she had less and less control the older they got. That as a mom all she wanted to do was to make sure they were safe, and that her ability to do this lessened as they got older. Even now she talks about how hard it is to watch her kids making mistakes and not be able to do anything about it.
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#25 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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I taught hundreds of at risk students- high school dropouts, felons, homeless kids, abused kids, the works.. I alot of them came from families that didn't punish.. how do I know? they talked about "how cool" their dad or mom was, some even provided their kids with p*t or beer, or... yeah, ok. All fine and good until they get expelled from school, or have missed so many classes that they turn 18 and have a total of 2 credits to their name.. I guess when they find they can't get a diploma, they have learned their lesson the hard way, right? Oh, yeah, and mom or dad sometimes will suddenly kick you out of the house or beat you up if you decide to steal their stash.. who would have thought? They always just GAVE it before...

The number one responsibility of a parent is to educate. If a child never experiences punishment, how are they going to learn about it? From a book? Is it just going to remain some far off term that has little real meaning? Because if that is the case, then once a child IS punished, by a school system, or with prison time, that sure is a big wake up call- why does it have to be learned the hard way? Some of those types of punishments do not go away.. I taught a student that shot a cop at the whopping age of 13. Too bad his dad hadn't punished him the first time he touched a gun.

Last year my kid was caught with p*t at school. He was underage, but possessing it on school grounds is a BIG no-no.. the police put him in special classes, and threatened him with jail time if he failed one random test over a 4 month period of time.. course, it was his first offense..

Here's the kicker.. his mom is a COOL mom.. she lets him do pretty much whatever he wants at her house.. get up when you want, skip school when you want, and well, pretty much anything else really except don't get the cops involved.. a few times when he was younger, he would throw tempter tantrums about having to get up to go to school. His mom would come over, take him out to breakfast, and "talk" about it.. all she ever DID was "talk"... and he would end up missing the entire day of school.. so I guess, he got what he wanted, right? My house is MUCH more structured, and there are punishments when one misbehaves..

He turned 18, moved into his mom's house.. yep, you guessed it.. couple of months later, he COULDN'T STAND IT. He couldn't stand drunk people hanging around her house. He couldn't stand seeing people fighting.. He BEGGED to move back in with us. Rules, punishments, and ALL. He knows we will punish him if he gets out of line because we CARE about him. We care that he finish his education, we care that he stays healthy, and stays out of trouble. He ALSO knows that if he needs help, we will find a way to get it for him- if that means treatment, then that is what it means.. in his mind, he views this as punishment simply because it is away from his friends/family, but still..

OP, once I knew he had started experimenting (ie the issue at school) I random drug tested him even after the cops' requirement was done. I have NEVER regretted that. I would MUCH rather he face MY punishment than a legal one, any day.

I tell my kids at home the same thing I tell my students at school. "I care about you. If you need help of some kind, I am going to do whatever I can to make sure you get it."
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#26 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 10:43 PM
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Goodness gracious, no. Way to scream, "Here! Go pee in this cup! I don't trust you, and I don't have the time to communicate with you, either!"

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#27 of 63 Old 08-11-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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The philosophy of nonpunishment is probably better discussed in the GD forum. No punishments does not mean no parenting.
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#28 of 63 Old 08-12-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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The philosophy of nonpunishment is probably better discussed in the GD forum. No punishments does not mean no parenting.
I believe I understand the PHILOSOPHY. I am even POSITIVE that there are many parents who implement this system well and it works for their families.. I just haven't had the opportunity to see that. I think that too many times any particular parenting philosophy is not enacted completely/correctly (can't think of how to word that well- but we ALL make mistakes no matter what our philosophy is- ) or maybe it even just has a personality conflict (no one philosophy is right for every person).. but pretty soon people have a HUGE problem on their hands- that could have been avoided in its entirety a long time ago.. if a kid is at the point that a parent is considering random drug tests, then I think there is a problem going on, and at that point a parent really needs to consider options before their child's life is at risk. I just can't stand it FOR THE KID'S SAKE when that wake up call comes too late.

I do have to ask, though.. if a parent doesn't punish, but does parent, how then does random drug testing even become a punishment? It seems to me, that really, it is just a quest for truth. Get everyone on the same page, and work for the betterment of the child from there. No matter how much a child loves their parent, if they have a drug problem, they will lie because they don't want to be separated from their high... it isn't that they don't respect their parent, they may absolutely adore the parent... it is just that drugs now have a higher priority. Addiction has a way of doing that. I think avoiding the issue by NOT drug testing is really, just enabling.

I personally would do anything I had to to help my kid.. whether it meant implementing a new philosophy, reinforcing what I have already done, or whatever it takes. Consistency is key, of course, but I am consistent in that my kids ALWAYS know that if I get involved with something, it is because they are my kids, I love them, care about them, and want to help them whether I end up punishing or not.

I am not saying that anyone HERE may or may not have implemented their parenting philosophy completely or correctly, but there are many different ways to parent, and sometimes the best made plans do not have the outcome we had hoped for.

In the situation the OP stated, I would random drug test in a minute. But as I stated, I have worked with at-risk teenagers for 8 years, and I have seen the worst cases imaginable (teen prostitutes, kids living out of their cars, child abuse, gang members). We can ask ourselves where the fault lies all day long, parents, kids, society, legal system?? but that is what we have to work with.. I am positive that most if not all of the parents of the kids I work with would say they parent, many would say they are good parents. We judge our own parenting based off our own opinions. Well, and eventually, the results we see way down the road..

Parents ask me all the time at school, "What would you do if my child was your child?" I tell them that they are the parents, and they have to make the call. The fact that they ask though, makes me think that they are questioning what they are doing, and what the results are that they are seeing.
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#29 of 63 Old 08-12-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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I think drug testing is soooo wrong.

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#30 of 63 Old 08-12-2007, 02:05 AM
 
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Goodness gracious, no. Way to scream, "Here! Go pee in this cup! I don't trust you, and I don't have the time to communicate with you, either!"
No one here screams to communicate, and we all seek and make time to communicate and love. And, when children traversed early teenage years I sometimes drug tested. All is not black-or-white.
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