My 17 Year-Old Son Comes Home Drunk Almost Every Week-end. Where Can I Find Help?
I believe he is smoking marijuana. Drinking is becoming a more serious problem. Almost every week end and sometimes during week days, he comes home drunk. Every time he comes home with the smell of alcohol, he throws up like crazy.
Sometimes he comes home and just wants to eat everything that he can find. His eyes at times are red. A day later he doesn't remembers anything. We are desperate and we don't know where to find help or what to do. Can someone tell me what should we do?
Have you tried talking to your son - not as a strict or angry parent - but more as a concerned friend, to find out what's going on for him? Unfortunately it's not all that unusual for teenagers to engage in excessive binge drinking and experimenting with marijuana, which doesn't make it okay, but many do grow out of it.
So the ideal would be to try and figure out how you can start communicating with your son so that he starts opening up to you and is prepared to share more of his thoughts and feelings. Because understanding what he's going through means you'll be more alert if he is starting to develop himself a real problem, and then you'll be in a better position to help.
The alternative is to adopt a strict, disciplinarian approach and punish your son if he comes home drunk or stoned. But that won't work in the long-run because he'll just figure out ways to get get drunk or smoke marijuana behind your back, plus it may lead him to rebel even further.
There is no easy answer to this question. Communication is key. Teenagers are at a vulnerable age where peer pressure and experimentation are common. So it's about trying to teach your son good values and helping him learn to make good choices. But for that to happen you need to have your son's confidence and trust.
If it becomes apparent he has developed a real problem with alcohol or drugs then you need to act decisively and get him professional help. Otherwise work on your relationship with your son so that he'll become more receptive to listening to your advise and start behaving in ways that are life-affirming rather than destructive.
It can be a fine line sometimes, but trust your instincts and hopefully in the long-run things will turn out for the best.