Parenting a child who won’t quit smoking pot and doesn’t care about house rules.

My son ( step) started smoking pot and does this in his bedroom. We have told him this is against our rules and desires. We grounded him to the house for an infraction and he left anyway. This happens frequently. What do I do and why do I feel like I am the one doing wrong?
Asked by Iccarus
Answered
11/29/2021

You haven't mentioned his age.  How I would recommend approaching treatment might differ depending on his age.  Without the age I will answer from a general viewpint.  I am wondering how he is acquiring the pot and how he is paying for it.  These are important control points that may be relevant as if there is a way to interfere with his ability to acquire the substance we can start there.  This should at least be considered as you start to look at options. Ability to acquire the pot is essential to his being able to use it.

It sounds as though you are beyond the talking stage of communication and have moved into the stage of setting boundaries which he is not accepting.  I can understand from the point of his use why he is not caring about the limitations or following them.  After all, with a pandemic in place what are your reasonable options?  But, there again, how is he getting the pot during a pandemic?  It takes some work to get someone to deliver the pot to a home from what I recall.  Perhaps that is still a point where there is a way to control his use. 

The method of parenting that I generally use is love and logic.  It is a way of putting responsibility on the person and applies from birth through adulthood although the approach adjusts as the child gets older.  IIt is going to be hard to address this issue as you are at an impasse not a talking stage at this time.  It usually starts with a show of empathy or understanding of the situation but not the drug use.  Forinstance, if he is using because of pandemic factors you would empathyze or show understanding of being frustrated or stressed by the pandemic and discuss it a little.  Then, you would move on to engaging him in problem solving about how he can better manage his feelings in the pandemic.  When he states he has no idea of how to manage it other than smoking pot you can point out options to him saying "Smoking pot in the house is not acceptable to your mother and I.  It needs to be something different.  Often parents will use a phrase starting with "some parents" and then state what some other parents have done.  You can try to brainstorm with him asking him from time to time if, given the examples of what some parents have done, he has any other suggestions.  Again, if this fails you would move to talling him what you have decided to do and telling him that he needs to either obey your wishes or come up with one of his own that is acceptable to you as parents.  Remember, you must be willing to follow through with whatever you decide.  You might want to make going to treatment a condition of living in the house also.  With this option you may use a motivational interviewing technique by testing his commitment to what you are discussing.  You can do this via saying that you are willing to allow him to stay if he takes the first virtual counseling appointment with an addiction specialist and limits his use.  You can have him titrate down from his current use by a set amount each week and set an ending date for all use and allow him to titrate down as long as he follows rules concerning going to treatment.   Motivational Interviewing is something that you can look up on line.  It has been used with substance issues and is similar to Stages of Change.  I would love to send you a picture of how that works but either method can be looked up in Amazon.  It would help you.

(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)