Teen Concerns

Thank you, good talking points here.

Jackson_Fusion said:

In the grand scheme of things, a little weed is not a big thing. Bad? Yes. But many, many, many, many of his peers and, I daresay, elders (cough cough) managed to get stoned a few times, or more than a few, without spiralling into homelessness.

My suggestion would not be to get too focused on the weed. Dont necessarily tell him that! You don't have to minimize your displeasure with that choice he's made. But rather than focusing on the weed focus on the WHY. Why is he smoking as much as he is (and if he is carrying a bong everywhere face it- he's smoking a lot)?

I think you already know. He's sad. Probably in the tough way teens get sad. He'll likely be fine- but "likely" I am sure is not good enough for you, nor should it be.

Life gets better as you get older if you let it. He needs to know that. He needs to understand that some (not all) of the things that keep him up at night today in 5 years will be things he laughs about. He just needs to make it from here to there without crashing. It's hard to get young people to see that but if you can get him to he'll be ok.



A drop in grades, missing money, new friends, finding small and large quantities and "other stuff" (a scale that might pass for a calculator?) may point to use and selling, which is what some kids do with an ounce of weed -- raise enough money to buy more weed to use and sell.

What do the school's rules say (immediate drug test? automatic suspension?) if a student is caught carrying drugs, or if another student reports that he is (even if he isn't)? That may help you decide whether to involve school officials. Maybe the "awareness counselor" knows of intensive outpatient programs.


Again, no paraphernalia such as a scale or smaller bags to suggest dealing. A sandwich bag size about 1/3 full. Definitely personal use but definitely not "I tried it once".

The school counselor said she is bound by confidentiality with what a student or parent shares with her unless violence, abuse or imminent harm to self/others is seen. My mothers friend (a counselor at another school) said it's immediate suspension if caught with drugs but added that a 1on1 counselor/coach is assigned to get kid through to graduation wherever possible if it came to that.

Not sure I'm on board with intensive drug counseling at this point after speaking to him about it directly. Not minimizing but also not assuming he's a raging heroin addict because we found some pot.

He also reported to me that he doesn't not "carry it around". That was his spare backpack and that's where he kept it out of sight at home (and occasionally carried to go to a friends). I do believe that part because being stupid enough to walk around school with it does not fit with what I know about him. My mother had his backpacks confused.


I'll add it's the same group of friends, they just go out more now rather than play video games while each alone at home. He has about 4-5 friends and these are the same guys he's always been friends with. I hear about adding some girls to this mix occasionally now which is certainly overdue with a 17 year old. No missing $ as in family members are missing $. I was referring only to the $800 or so he had at Christmas time from work savings and Christmas gifts. He reports that it is spent. Maybe on pot but he's also been buying games, going out with friends, etc with that money since then. Point being- not much $ could have gone to this so far.



conandrob240 said:

It might have been a consideration but with Trump as President, he'd have to shoot me before I'd let him enlist.
FilmCarp said:

does he have any interest in the military? Getting away for two years might really help him.

Don't let your (and my) politics get in the way. Steady constant guidance may really help him, at least by giving him time to think. And, the Coast Guard counts.


would you let your child enlist in the military right now? With a lunatic at the helm? I agree it could possibly be good structure for some but it's probably not right for him in general (he's very sweet, very gentle, very soft-hearted). And definitely not the right choice right now specifically in this political environment.


Agree I wouldn't want my kid in the military right now either. Also the military is not a cure for depression and is not going to make him better. I think it's a better option for kids who are getting into trouble for other reasons but I have to imagine a kid like him would be at risk. Can you get him to move in with you when he turns 18?


yes, I think so. He has a goal of CA and he knows I hold his literal and figurative ticket. He knows what I want to see from him before I'll help him go and it involves proving readiness in a variety of ways over the next year or so. I think we made a giant leap forward today.


Your nephew is very fortunate to have a caring and concerned aunt watching out for him. I hope everything turns out well.


Most common enlistments in US Army these days are 4 years. I would not recommend it. 22 veterans per day commit suicide, many from the Vietnam era.


yikes! New reason for that not being at the top of my list. He's been controlled his whole life, I think he needs less not more.


Has he applied to college/cc yet?



yes, he was set on just applying to a CC in CA (my hunch is there is a girl he is interested in there because the town is very specific) and we did that one but also Union CC, CUNY (the 2 year schools) and 2 stretch 4 year schools (Iona and Kean). I think he'll wind up at Union CC and I will help him if he wants to go to CA after a few semesters.


I think the USCG has stricter standards than the other services (their academy is difficult to get into). The grades would need to be much higher for him to even attempt to join not to mention a zero drug use policy. The USCG is no longer a 'just sign up and join' type of service. Many Coasties already have college degrees.

It is a wonderful service when it comes to personal development though. There is a focus on improvement and advancement plus lots of opportunities in California (or NJ/NY).There are policies that prevent anyone from becoming stagnant in a position, and feeling job confident might be good for this young man's self esteem. Generally, Coasties remain stateside with overseas options only applied for by choice. If this young man were interested, he would need to start working with a recruiter now. From what I've read, he would not be a good match without putting in quite a bit of work.

FilmCarp said:



conandrob240 said:

It might have been a consideration but with Trump as President, he'd have to shoot me before I'd let him enlist.
FilmCarp said:

does he have any interest in the military? Getting away for two years might really help him.

Don't let your (and my) politics get in the way. Steady constant guidance may really help him, at least by giving him time to think. And, the Coast Guard counts.



Question with zero malice: this young man's behavior reminds me of a friend's son, who after many years of school downs, social issues and many, many sporadic decisions and leanings, was diagnosed two years prior to graduation with a mental illness. Has he been tested?


That's interesting. Thanks. Are you saying that enlistees have degrees as well? I'm learning new things. Sorry about the thread drift.

CompassRose said:

I think the USCG has stricter standards than the other services (their academy is difficult to get into). The grades would need to be much higher for him to even attempt to join not to mention a zero drug use policy. The USCG is no longer a 'just sign up and join' type of service. Many Coasties already have college degrees.

It is a wonderful service when it comes to personal development though. There is a focus on improvement and advancement plus lots of opportunities in California (or NJ/NY).There are policies that prevent anyone from becoming stagnant in a position, and feeling job confident might be good for this young man's self esteem. Generally, Coasties remain stateside with overseas options only applied for by choice. If this young man were interested, he would need to start working with a recruiter now. From what I've read, he would not be a good match without putting in quite a bit of work.
FilmCarp said:



conandrob240 said:

It might have been a consideration but with Trump as President, he'd have to shoot me before I'd let him enlist.
FilmCarp said:

does he have any interest in the military? Getting away for two years might really help him.

Don't let your (and my) politics get in the way. Steady constant guidance may really help him, at least by giving him time to think. And, the Coast Guard counts.



I apologize for my part in the thread drift as well. Quick answer @FilmCarp ...around 35% at this time and rising.

FilmCarp said:

That's interesting. Thanks. Are you saying that enlistees have degrees as well? I'm learning new things. Sorry about the thread drift.

I have seen this problem in other's kids, fortunately not mine. I would like to be positive, but that is not how I feel.

Money from the holidays gone and still spending - be careful of household valuables being appropriated and sold/bartered for what he needs. But more likely he will begin this with cash assets such as accessing credit cards or financial assets.


Going to California is not a good idea. Beside losing what remaining control of him is possible, you lose contact and influence.


If he has no interest in high school, why would sending him on to further education turn his behavior around? If you want him to go on to college, it should at least be conditioned on him participating in therapy, and of course he should be checked often for positive engagement, not just attending.


While graduation from school may still be possible, the risk is high that he will also graduate to further and more dangerous drug involvement.


And about the military, as dangerous as you seem to think this option is, I put this opinion forward: It is not more dangerous than the road he is now travelling.


I wish to goodness that I could be more positive. You have an advantage that you are trying to help him before this gets totally out of hand. He needs to get this downward spiral turned around and fast.


Therapeutic high schools exist solely to serve kids like this. (Sometimes called Partial Hospitalization Programs - don't let the name scare you.) Therapy + High school credits + supportive environment. Seek one out, it is never "too late" to ask for help getting a kid's life back on track.


I think we're all happy now with the discussions and course of action. Thanks for the advice


conand - I am so glad you are there for this nephew & his sibs, and imo what you have been saying to him + the immediate road ahead sounds fine. I have a couple of nieces/nephews who couldn't be bothered with school in high school but stepped right up when they were able to choose a course of study at community college. This particularly applied to those who chose para-professional or other studies with immediate practical results (examples were dental assistant and firefighter, but there are lots of things out there).

in my not-very-well-informed opinion, the drugs sound more like a symptom than a cause. Of course, that's assuming drug use doesn't continue/increase now that he's gotten a heads-up about the legal risks, not to mention the risks to developing brains.

Still, though, I would *very strongly* echo what kibbegirl said about staying alert for signs of developing mental illness. He's been through a lot, he is at a prime age for first signs, and early treatment can be very effective. I can't remember the first part of this thread, but I hope (a lot) that he is seeing, or will be seeing, a good therapist with background in this age group, and trauma.

all best to all of you!


What about Montclair State? It is better run than Kean. While Kean has about 8 years left of accreditation (I think) there has been a lot of controversy there re mismanagement. And threats to not grant accreditation.


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