While smoking weed or pot (marijuana) has some serious implications, disciplining your child may not be the best way to proceed. Teens are notorious for grinding in their heels against any authoritarian action. Plus, teens typically are already scared of being caught at whatever they are up to if it’s outside the rules, and they become adept at not being honest when questioned. They are also keenly oversensitive to judgment, so you need to be careful not to go down that road as they typically clam up. Confrontation about their use of marijuana should be done in their room where they are the most comfortable. However, it shouldn’t feel like a confrontation. Instead, you should start a dialogue with them -one that will elicit certain information to make you understand what’s going on and why. Once you understand their reasoning, you can activate a game plan that includes “tools” to help your child explore the consequences of their decisions, and you can then provide alternative methods for them to meet their needs. This, in turn, will show your child that you want to help meet those needs and, more importantly, that you trust that they will come to a decision on their own about smoking weed.
While it is commonly understood that invoking a punishment on a teenager who has been caught smoking marijuana isn’t effective, if you feel that you must have some form of punishment ready, the following suggestions may be of some help and should lead to a positive resolution instead of bringing out conflict. These are not exactly punishments but are tools to (1) feel that you’ve gained back a bit of control; (2) help enlighten you as to the reason behind your teenager’s use of weed; (3) help your child discover the possible side effects of continued use; (4) increase your child’s knowledge of issues associated with pot misuse; (5) increase your child’s level of discomfort related to long-term consequences that can come from drug abuse.
Remove their weekly allowance. When you discuss why this is being done, explain that you will not provide the financial means to support this habit. Though your teen may already have savings or other income, they might be reluctant to tap into that, or realize that it will soon dwindle without your weekly input to the coffers.
Assign a research essay project. Have them look up the dangers found for teen marijuana use and write about that in an essay. Make the essay tough – not just an explanation of the side effects, but also at least a paragraph per side effect that thoroughly explains each danger found. When done, they should present it to the family to show what they’ve discovered.
Have them review treatment options. This should include research on what is involved in both out-patient treatment and facility-based drug treatment programs. Seeing the reality of participating in either should reinforce the idea that some control of their life is in the hands of others for the duration of the treatment – a fact that teens often find to be very uncomfortable and disheartening. Again, this should be provided in a written format and presented to the family.
These are just some options that can be used to help teens who smoke marijuana to learn more about what they are doing. For the parent, the result of any actions dealing with teens smoking marijuana should be to keep an open dialogue and find a consequence that will help bring about better choices the next time.
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