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
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 useYour 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.