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My 19 yr Old Son Says Smoking Marijuana and Drinking Beer are what ALL Boys Do At That Age and that I am Being Unreasonable. Am I?

My 19 year old son has been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol for at least the past year. He does not do this around me or his siblings but I have found evidence that he does this away from home.

When I confronted him he told me that all normal 19-yr old boys drink beer and occasionally smoke weed. I responded to him that I didn't care what others were doing only about his behavior. He attended college away and hardly passed any subjects and I believe this was due to his partying.

He is now at the community college and lives at home. He hangs out with his friends often and has been missing classes. The final straw for me was finding marijuana outside he had dropped by mistake. I have three younger sons who could have found it.

I have taken my son's car and phone away. I also have told him that if he wants to live at home he will have to have routine drug tests and see a counselor. He is very angry and thinks I am being unreasonable.

I am having a hard time because his father died when he was 15 of cancer and I know he has experienced tremendous pain. Is this a normal phase that he will outgrow and am I being over-reactive?


Yes, it is fairly normal for 19 year old boys to drink beer and smoke marijuana. Teenage drug abuse and alcohol abuse are unfortunately all too common. It usually is only a phase many teenagers and young adults go through. So as a parent of course you'd prefer your son didn't didn't engage in these kinds of behaviors, but there isn't really much you can do to stop him. Because he'll find ways to get around whatever measures you implement.

By being too strict, you risk totally alienating your son and chances are he'll just end up smoking and drinking more, and engaging in even more dysfunctional behaviours. So you need to allow him the opportunity to blow off some steam with his friends, while still holding him accountable for doing certain things, e.g. attending classes and passing his subjects.

I think the best way to handle this would be to have an open and honest conversation with your son - adult to adult, not parent to child. Tell him you love him and that you only want what's best for him, so you want him to have the opportunity to have fun with his friends, as long as he meets certain expectations - i.e. attends college and passes all his subjects.

So leave the ball in his court - if he's prepared to meet you half way, tell him you'll provide him the freedom to enjoy himself, but if he doesn't you're going to play hard ball and go ahead with the measures as planned.

Your son is almost an adult and so needs to learn how to become responsible for the choices he makes. If he makes bad choices, he needs to understand there will be consequences, but at the same time he needs to be given enough freedom to figure things out for himself.

Being a parent and knowing what the right thing to do in a case like this is almost impossible. For most teenagers, this is just a phase they'll outgrow, but for some it becomes the start of a life of dysfunction and destruction due to their addictive tendencies.

You can only hope that with your son all of this will pass, but either way, you have to realise you can't control the path he ends up choosing. That's the letting go part one has to learn how to do as a parent.

So I think the main thing is to try and get your son on-side, by trying to communicate with him openly and treating him like an adult. Be firm, but fair. Let him know your fears so that he can understand why you've felt the need to implement the measures you have. Hopefully that way he's more likely to come to you if things go wrong, than rebel against what he believes is someone being too strict and doesn't understand what he's going through.

I know that this is tough and that there are no guarantees irrespective of what you do. You can only do your best and trust that everything will work out for the best in the end.

God Bless and Good Luck

Comments for My 19 yr Old Son Says Smoking Marijuana and Drinking Beer are what ALL Boys Do At That Age and that I am Being Unreasonable. Am I?

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Sep 04, 2012
drinking and smoking
by: Anonymous

not at all, if he is living with you he needs to play by your rules. if there are no consequences for his actions other than natural consequences he has no incentive to stop the destructive behavior's. he needs to work on being a leader not a follower, who cares what everybody else is doing.

Aug 15, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am 20 almost 21. I drink a lot of beers and smoke marijuana. I dont do this all the time maybe a few times a month. drinking and smoking weed isnt bad for you at all. why? because drinking alcohal is bad by itself lol. marijuana is bad only because you are inhaling smoke into the lungs duhhhh not good. but the effects from doing both at the same time can be quite harmless in fact. (this is all from personal experiece and is not intended to be said factual. I am not a phycisian becuase i cannot spell the word correctly and i do not have the cridentials). I am purely stateing that parents need to understand that their child needs to grow up and be responsible. i do the exact same things yet i work part time and school full time. GPA above 3. and i am currently rooming with a friend. if any parent is worried about there childs drug abuse they need to first understand that their child is he/she there own person. talk to them not down to them. if you talk to down they feel threatend and attacked and will most likely hate you. people in society today sometimes forget that responsibility can go a long wayssss!!!!

Apr 25, 2010

It's difficult - you're obviously worried, but at the same time kids of that age tend to do a lot of experimenting and partying. Not necessarily all boys, but many do. Peer pressure, trying to figure out what you want from life and where you fit in, expectations from parents - make it tough being a 19 year old. Generally it is a phase, that most boys grow out of. Hopefully that will be the case too with your son. So making peace with the fact that you can only do your best as a parent and that your son turns out okay, is about all you can do. Because even the best-laid plans can go awry and if your son is determined to do something, he'll find a way to do it, whether you approve or not. As the saying goes, 'Let Go and Let God.' Your son's path will unfold however it's meant to.

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