This week I attended the Cannabis Education evening at the school of the men-children. They thought it was a good idea to talk about drug use to Year 9 parents and boys, having covered off Alcohol Education last year. We had a presentation by the local Drug Support program, and the local Youth Affairs Police Officer. Little did they know that sitting in the audience was the mother of a man-child whom they had both had the pleasure of meeting almost one year earlier!!
Below I have published the post that I drafted a year ago, when one of the men-children decided to experiment with cannabis (for obvious reasons I couldn’t bring myself to publish it at the time). Looking back, I am convinced we handled the situation appropriately. To the best of my knowledge our son has not continued to experiment with cannabis, and I think he learned a lot through the process.
Original Draft Post (November 2010):
We’ve endured some interesting events on the journey to date that is adolescence. Parties, gatherings, girlfriends, shoplifting, meetings with the school, smoking cigarettes, sneaking out at midnight, uninvited guests at 3am, and so the list goes on. With each new event we seem to exhale with a “well that should be the worst of it shouldn’t it”, a glimmer of hope, but a sense of the inevitable.
And so our latest hurdle. Man-Child II arrived home on a recent Saturday afternoon after being out all day with friends. He was happily (unusual in itself) sharing details of where he’d been, and with whom, when I noticed his words were slurred, and he could hardly keep his eyelids open. My first instinct was of course alcohol, but I couldn’t smell it on him at all. My second instinct was dope – and unfortunately it seems I was right.
Now both alcohol and marijuana are drugs – but one is highly illegal and one is legal (for those of adult age of course). The use of either by my 14-year-old son scared me, but more so dope, because you don’t find kids “pushing” alcohol to fund their habit the way you do drugs do you?
Naturally Man-Child II initially denied all usage to my face, but claimed he had been with others smoking dope and therefore he smelt of it and was mildly affected – yeah, right! Seriously, do they really think any parent with a brain bigger than a goldfish would believe that?
He wasn’t in much of a state to talk (yes what you call totally “stoned”), and for obvious reasons wasn’t forthcoming with any associates names, so off to bed he went. We actually called the police to check what we should do (we were more than happy to haul him down to the local station for a good talking to on the spot). They were very interested to know his age, and school – no doubt looking for patterns in usage and known users. They asked us to bring him down to the station at a later date for a meeting, and also advised us they offer a counselling service where they work with young teens to try to encourage them not to use drugs so they would be referring our son to them. Perfect!
In the meantime, there was instant punishment dealt out (“you can forget the long-planned Halloween party”) and we had to endure 24 hours of pleading, begging, cajoling, crying, tantrums and text messages to try to make us relent. But we held our ground and he didn’t attend the party – a minor victory for the parents.
I also had a conversation with Man-Child II to actually ask if he knew what effects drug use had (for irregular and regular users). He was a little vague so I set him straight. And I also explained how the classic pyramid selling worked, and why people he didn’t know well were more than happy to give him free drugs with a view to recruiting him longer term. That seemed to make him think.
I am hoping that the meeting will involve the police scaring the absolute crap out of him (a la Man-Child I’s run in with the law over shoplifting) so he’ll be put off for another few years at least, and that the counselling session will have the desired educational effect. And if I find out who exactly was kind enough to share the drugs with my son, they should be more worried about me finding them than the police.
Post-Script (August 2011):
Our man-child did meet with the local police officer, and did attend the drug counselling program as instructed by the police. He was told if he didn’t attend the program there would be serious consequences for him. To his credit he took himself off for several appointments as required. He didn’t share what went on at the sessions, and nor did he need to – it was between our son and the counsellor and we were pretty sure he was in good hands.
When I arrived home last night from the school I mentioned the name of the local policeman and the counsellor who had attended the evening. Man-Child II nearly died of fright when he realized it was one and the same, as he is obviously known to them. The fact is he has nothing to fear. He has learned his lesson, and I hope is actually one step ahead of some of his peers, who haven’t yet been given the skills or life lessons to equip them with the ability to make the right choices when exposed to drugs.
You can read about Man-Child I’s brush with the law here: “An Arresting Story”.