When To Confront Your Teenage Son About Smoking Weed


With so many states making the move to legalize marijuana for medical use and some recreational use, there’s been a noticeable reduction in the stigma surrounding the use of marijuana. For many adults across the country, this might be a positive step in the right direction. For parents, it might prove to be more of a challenge to discourage their teens from smoking weed.

There are several good reasons why your teen shouldn’t smoke marijuana. The primary reason to consider is that it is illegal in many states and it is illegal for your underaged teen to smoke.

In addition, the impact of marijuana on the still developing teenage brain has been studied extensively, with serious impacts seen on development, from the ability to learn and retain new memories, attention issues, coordination, decision-making skills, and judgment. Each of these areas could be impacted due to smoking weed.

If your teen is smoking weed, you may wonder just when the right time is to confront him and try to get him to see the dangers that he is facing.

Why is your troubled teen smoking weed?

It would be great if there was a one size fits all answer for why your teen might be using marijuana. In truth, there are many reasons that teenagers of all ages decide to start smoking weed.

Some examples include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Pressure from family members
  • Environmental pressure
  • Normalization of drug use
  • Influences from music, movies, and media
  • Depression, self-medicating, and seeking an escape

It’s also possible that your troubled teen does not know much about the damage that smoking weed can do to developing brains. The legalization of marijuana can also play a role in sending mixed messages to teenagers. After all, if weed is used as a medication for some people, it must surely be safe to use.

The truth is that even in states where pot has been legalized for medical use, there have been no cases of it being approved for use by anyone under the age of 21.

When is the right time for a conversation?

The earlier that you have a conversation with your teen, the better the results of the conversation will be. It may seem cliché, but teen drug use can be a slippery slope as they chase that high from smoking weed. As the drug use changes who they are and how they behave, there is an increased potential for your teen reaching for other illegal drugs.

The sooner that you intervene, the sooner he will be able to get back onto the path of clean living.

Things to keep in mind when confronting a troubled teen about drug use:

  • Don’t start the conversation when things are in a heightened state of emotion. This will only serve to worsen the situation.
  • Make sure reactions aren’t filled with anger. Your teen will see any response from you to be a gross overreaction, even if he knows your stance on marijuana.
  • Ensure that you are clear-headed, calm and have a list of solutions with you. Confronting your teen and simply insisting that he stop smoking weed isn’t going to be the best approach. You will need to have logic and solutions on your side as you step into this challenging conversation.
  • Don’t enter into the conversation alone. Support is an essential part of parenting, even when drugs haven’t entered the picture. Getting support for yourself and your teen during this stressful situation is a crucial part of ensuring success. What this support looks like can vary significantly between individuals. Support from another parent, family members, coaches and teachers from the school, and mental wellness professionals are just some examples.
  • Try to strike up a casual conversation instead of staging a more formal family intervention. You don’t want your teen to feel ambushed or ganged upon.
  • Make sure he is not high when you start the conversation. This can be difficult in some situations, particularly if you’re busy with work and he’s not around you much. Ensuring that he’s sober when you speak will have more of an impact as he hears your words.
  • Don’t have just one conversation and expect it to be effective. There’s a fine line between badgering him, so keep ongoing conversations brief yet impactful. Express that you understand him and the struggles he is facing.

Potential consequences of adolescent marijuana use

Your teen is likely able to pull up a string of benefits of smoking weed and all information pulled from sources on the internet. While there may be an element of truth to these benefits, they apply to adults and not teenagers with brains still in development.

For the developing brain, the impacts of marijuana look quite different, not to mention the increased risk of behavior issues, including:

  • Challenges with learning and retaining what is being taught at school. Those who already struggle with a learning disability may find that they struggle even more trying to learn and remember.
  • Risky behavior, including stealing, vandalism, or promiscuity.
  • Driving under the influence of weed can potentially result in a car accident and legal troubles.
  • Bronchitis is a concern for many, particularly after extended use.
  • Smoking weed can lead to new or worsening mental illness. Some experience anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Those with existing mental illness may experience paranoia and hallucinations.

It can be hard to explain some of these risks to a troubled teen who is more focused on being argumentative and rebellious. Getting help from your family doctor or a therapist can often serve as a backup and buffer as you’re attempting to explain things to him.

Remember that many teens smoke weed as a way of coping with stressors in their life. Whether that includes family conflict, anxiety, depression, or pressure from school, it’s very real and serious to them. Helping your troubled teen find the right balance between the relationships in his life, school responsibilities, and activities is essential in helping him find the right ways to cope.

Parenting requires adapting to every new age and phase. You may find that you need to adjust some of your parenting strategies to learn more about what your teen truly needs.

If your teenage son has been smoking weed, there is help available. A therapeutic boarding school is an excellent option for a teen in crisis. Marijuana use could be his way of self-medicating when he is struggling with a range of mental health concerns. Call to speak to an expert at Liahona Academy. The right resources and treatment can make a world of difference for your troubled teen and your family as a whole.

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