I'm not an overprotective mother, but several things that happened over weekend brought out the alert flags on me. She was overly talkative after a walk with a friend that was much longer than we had agreed upon. She kept making comments about not remembering the day before. She will be 13 on Thursday and I'll be honest that I'm scared to death. I'm extremely naive about drugs and want to handle it appropriately so as not to drive her further away.
Don't panic. Keep her close and loved. Just ask her about it openly without attitude.
I experimented with alcohol with my friends when I was about her age. All kids will experiment. Don't let her think it is worrying you. You should talk to her about drugs and alcohol in a general conversation. Be willing to accept whatever she tells you. If she lies to you, then at least she is hearing what you have to say. She is probably terrified that you will find out. Have a talk with her, but don't make it seem like an intervention. If you search her pants, and there is nothing, that doesn't mean she isn't getting high. It will, however, ruin a trust.
As a teenager myself I can say it is more likely she is experimenting with alcohol. Ususally you can tell by breath if it was drugs or booze. If it was drugs then it would have been cannabis due to it being the cheapest and the type you smoke. It wouldn't have been an injected drug due to most people being terrified of needles.
I wouldn't worry to be honest, the chances are it was/is going to be a one time thing. If not and if it does happen again then it will be easy to spot. Especially if she acts in the same way again. Remember, the harder your rule with an iron fist, the more she will want to rebel.
To be honest, where would a 12yr old get weed from anyway?
it is good you are picking up on this early. Alot of different things can make you more talkative. Look at her eyes, smell her hair, if she is smoking week you can tell. I have a hub about teen prescription drug abuse, it shows pics of commonly used drugs and pills. Search her pants, this is no joke. My prayers are with you.
Thank you. I'll take a look at it. We are getting ready to check her phone records and her email. We've done it before but it has been awhile.
Sure thing to drive her further away. Yet I don't have a good advice though, unfortunately.
Thanks Misha, as a dad and granddad I have been there. Not just with my own children but friends of family as well.
I was lucky to avoid this so far, but you never know what awaits you around the corner...
I think many parents get it wrong. Prohibition does not work as well as honest information that does not preach. My experience has taught me never to preach to children. Respect them and listen to their decisions and you can then get heard, but only if you speak with love and real caring for the child, not just yourself.
My husband just had a long talk with her. Seems that a girl tried to force smoking a cig on her. She felt pressured and was thinking of giving in. Now that girl's mother is saying that her daughter cannot hang out with ours because she smokes. My daughter is upset about the lies and about thinking of giving in. We had a long talk about the effects and how we would be watching only because we love her. She is more ashamed of thinking of giving in than of the rumors. He checked her phone and clothes and all are clean. Thank the dear Lord.
Be very careful. If she finds out you're checking her stuff, she'll go ballistic and never tell you anything. You have to develop trust with her. That means doing things with her. Not too much though, you don't want to smother her. Talk to her, find out what she likes. Pick one thing a week to do with her. That's her time. Don't try to force the issue, just let her talk. Trust takes time, when she has enough of it, she'll open up to you and start asking for your advice. That's when you can influence her. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. That's the best I've ever heard that idea phrased. Good Luck.
Our parents never grounded us or put us on restriction, and I actually never pushed the boundaries because that was just not my style. On the other hand my sister did use this permissiveness to push the boundaries a put more, but kids in houses with strict rules do also. I guess restriction and grounding works for some families, but I was never brought up that way so I never understood it.
I was a lot like you. I never was tempted and my parents had very few restrictions on me because of it. That is why it scares me. It is a new world and this child is not like me in many ways. I should say young woman. the years are flying by.
My younger sister also tested the boundaries. I cannot speak for my parents, but a few times I wish they had just been harder on her. Teenagers can be so explosive, and I do not think I would be a very good parent. I am just so low key I could imagine how I would deal with an extraverted and independent minded teen. I really do commend parents .
That IS scary, and I know I don't have the expertise to offer ideas, but I know how worried you must be and thought I'd try to offer some thoughts. One thing does strike me, and I think it's worth noting: At her age, she's still very young. She's still more than young enough for you to try to try to minimize her "out free" time by insisting she's in at a certain time after dinner (Summer) and in on school nights unless there's something like a dance or other special occasion. Taking advantage of how young she is by not having her out "all hours of the day" may be one way to keep some "opportunities" to a minimum. Making sure she gets involved in after-school activities is another good way to help give her something else to be "entertained" by.
If it were my 12/13-year-old I'd pay very close attention to the kind of friends she was with. (Are they "outcast types"? "fast types"? Do they seem to grown-up for their years?) Some kids kind of send of "vibes" that they may be "the type". If I got "vibes" I'd try to make it a point to find things to keep her so busy she had little time for them. I think I'd probably do a look around in her room, but I think if it were me I'd kind of watch to see if anything odd happened again. Kids that age can get "weird" at anything. If there's some boy she likes and got to talk to, that would be enough to make her all hyped up when she returned.
I agree with Earnest about talking to her and staying close. Keeping it about love, rather than suspicions, can make honest communication seem less "hostile". I don't think parents can let fear of driving kids away tie their hands when it comes to the normal role of acting as a parent and talking about concerns. Kids understand parents being parents. What drives kids away is when parents "go crazy".
Also, you should probably look on the sites aimed at giving parents solid information on what to look for, how to handle it, etc. There are tons of them online.
She may not have taken anything this time, but at her age you'll have to be paying attention to this kind of stuff for the rest of her years as a teen. If she took nothing, this isn't a bad time to start paying more attention anyway. I guess that's why I think I'd start paying extra attention, keep talking (not just about drugs but about all of life - the good stuff and the bad stuff), and decide what next step to take if/when I had reason to take that next step. It's so hard for us parents to know when we're worrying too much and when we're at risk of ignoring something we shouldn't. (Don't forget either that sometimes kids do one stupid thing, decide they don't want to do it again, and don't. If she's generally a strong, sensible, kid with good self-esteem she's less likely to make a habit of making bad decisions.)
Thank you, Lisa. I'm trying to think of how I would have liked my parents to address it with me. We've told her many times that if she does give in to please call. We would rather pick her up and bring her home than have the police scraping her off the road somewhere. We try to emphasize how our love will not change.
I'm with Earnest as well... I went through a very difficult time with my youngest son, experimenting with drugs...scared me so terribly!!! Now in his mid 20's we have talked a lot about his drug use and he told me, just talking to him and being there was the best thing~~ he told me, most often he was trying to "escape" from what was going on with his father...and to deal with it, he turned to drugs!!! As Earnest said, keep her close, love her and be open and honest about your fears...she may not open up at first; just let her know you're there for her. If it gets too bad and you are really fearful she may harm herself, get some help~~ My heart goes out to you... it's not easy being a parent!!! hugs~~
You would be great SweetiePie, it's not rocket science once you understand that love and respect are the key. You already have those attributes and would be a wonderful parent!
I truly hope so, but I will be a much older one at this rate. I guess I am just not wanting to be a forty year old mom, not that there is anything wrong with that. I love my niece and nephew though, and I used to spend a lot of time with them when I still lived up in the mountains.
My daughter had twin girls at forty, and a boy just before that! They are at least a handful, but a loving family pitches in.
My aunt did also. However, it is good to know many people are having children in their forties.
The keep the lines of communication open suggestions are right on. I can recommend a great book called PET -- Parent Effectiveness Training. Don't know the authors but it is all about communicating and problem solving with teens.
RGraf, I don't know your daughter, of course. But I have been down this road and know that at some point -- and it may or may not be this incident -- you will likely hear a lie. And want to believe it. Your daughter says she was offered a cigarette and thought of smoking it but didn't. Hmmm. The friend's mother won't let her HER daughter play with yours because YOUR daughter smokes. Hmm. Ok, somebody's lying here. I am not saying it is your daughter, but it could be.
The first time we caught Sonny we wanted so much to believe his story. You've probably read enough of my hubs and comments to know we should not have.
So just keep talking to her and keep a close watch for further signs that seem "off" to you. So far, your attitude seems GREAT.
The website parents the antidrug www.theantidrug.com is very helpful, too. And of course the giant parental braintrust here at HP. Good luck to you and your daughter! MM
Thank you all for the advice and encouragement.
I do want to believe her, but I remember those years too well. That is why we have ordered a drug testing kit to keep in case we need it and are watching her cell phone usage and who she hangs out with. Right now she is ok with that. We'll just have to keep showing her our love.
Again thank you all so much. This is my oldest and I'm going down this road for the first time. And I thought the terrible twos were bad.
I found it is better to talk than pry. Children set traps for prying adults, and do not forgive privacy invasion, I would work on getting closer so that you know all her friends.
Rgraf, I probably shouldn't add this "pleasant" information, but my three are grown - and the worries have grown right along with them!! They're all decent people, but they're all single. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm getting to think, "Can't you people all get married, get a place to live, and stay in and watch tv or something?!!"
I am single too and thirty. How old are they? I am sure they will get married eventually, if they want too . I like being single because I have free time to do what I like.
Great set of Posts. I'll just add: Our son (my wife's son, my stepson) was at one time so far into meth usage that we had to go the "tough love" route and he roamed the streets of Sierra Vista, Arizona, as a homeless person for a time. Yet he DID get it together in the end. Now 23, he hasn't touched meth for more than 3 years, has a solid job, and is buying his own home. Point being: The younger generation can scare the hiccups right out of us, yet surprisingly often (with parents who care) they still manage to come out right in the end somehow.
Rgraf, I'm not sure I agree with the monitoring cellphone usage and other invasive stuff like that. Because if they want to do it, they will, and by prying into her life and setting restrictions, you'll encourage her to become sneaky and go underground with everything. She is going to experiment. That's a given. She is going to lie to you. That's a given as well. All you can do, is make sure that you have installed the right morals and values and your home is a safe place for her if she gets herself in trouble. It doesn't matter what you do, if she is experimenting and headed for trouble it'll happen. No drug kits or monitoring of phones will stop it, unless you act as her bodyguard 24 hours a day. By doing what you are doing, as an outsider it sounds like you have issues with trust here. You don't trust your daughter, that's why you are checking up on her. Now kids are funny. If they feel that you don't trust them, it sets off some kind of a chemical reaction in their brain, where they will go out of their way to live up to your expectations. So if they weren't doing drugs and you start monitoring their movements, you basically drive them to do drugs.
For me I'd sit her down and show her a whole presentation on the effects of smoking, drugs and alcohol. Make her informed so she'll be aware of the harm she's doing to her body. Give her a chance to ask questions. Have this as an open discussion. This is what I've done with my kids and it seems to have worked out okay. My son openly says he won't do drugs as he thinks he has an addictive personality and he can't bare the thought of losing control of himself. He's just 17. He tried smoking weed once and decided that whatever you feel smoking it is not good enough to counteract the bad feeling you have after smoking it.
I was not implying that u invade her privacy, I agree also with Ernest, but you never know what kids will give her, she may hide there becuase she doesn't want to take it. I have been there. I have a 20 year old pre-med student that is also a recovering addict. 20 years old. beautiful, smart, gifted. She has beat it though and going on with her life. She missed alot of great teenage years but says she is too busy to make up for it. It happens to the best of us. I hope everything turns out well.
SweetiePie, they're in their twenties, and I'm happy they aren't married and don't have children yet. Still, as their father says, "they're always on the road or else going to places 'in the pits of the world'". Parents learn to put the worries in the back of their mind, but I swear it's the reason a lot of people have high blood pressure. I mean, they do things like head out to some place out of state at 2:00 a.m., alone, and in the middle of an ice storm that has major highways closed! No matter how old they are, or how well you've managed to "let them go", there are some worries you just can't turn off, no matter how old they are. (Sometimes you can, but not always.)
I agree there are definite signs you can observe:
With weed normally the eyes go bloodshot,with an increased hunger,with often lethargicness,vagueness.
With speed the eyes are a dead give-away, the pupils will be much, much larger,a real chatiness, chewing of the jaw, or clenching the jaw, reduced or no appetite, a wakefulness not being able to sleep, a definite increase in activity.
I have had a lot of involvement with drugs and am now helping people with drug problems.
The best things are to keep the channels open between you, talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs,while remaining very understanding.
I hope to God for both of your sakes she is not on them. You are a wonderful mother to be writing here, not like some parents who fail to see certain things and lock their kids out emotionally. (hugs)
Thank you. Now that I'm getting more educated about this I don't recall anything abnormal with her eyes. My husband who is much more experienced in it due to his family background didn't see those signs either. It is more the giddiness and desire to hang around one particular person that scares me. She also was vague on time spent with this other girl. That always sends up the flags for me. This girl is younger and might already be sexually active. We know that she is "dating" a boy that is only 12 who smokes 2 packs a day.
I'm going to take a day off work soon and just spend it with her. I think that we both need that.
That is such a relief to hear, as even though you can hide the signs at certain times, you can't hide them all the time and that is a huge relief to know.You sound like a fantastic mum, I wish I had one half as sweet as you, a mother that really cares.xox
I'd worry about that boy being in the picture. How does he afford 2 packs of cigarettes a day and why does he have so much time on his hands he can smoke so much? (And that classic question, "where's his mother when he's doing all this smoking?") He's either out of the house an awful lot or else (hard to believe this is the case) his parents let him smoke. Either way, he's a concern. The bigger concern is the girlfriend who likes him and may be sexually active. That's young even in this day and age. It sounds like the girlfriend may like "bad boys". (Of course, he may - in his little twelve-year-old head - think it's impressive to say he smokes two packs a day, and he could be lying.)
To quote Mel Gibson, "I have long feared that my sins will come back to haunt me; the price is more than I can bear."
I fear that day also, I was into weed when I was a kid and I hope my daughters are smarter than I was.
Remember "Drugs are bad M'Kay."
I found my way through a pretty wild youth, watching people go down left & right in one way or another. Of those people I knew back then, some are fine today but many others have become entangled with the law, addiction, or abusive relationships. Others did not even survive those years.
Interesting thing is, I was probably the least parentally restricted of all my friends. I had a lot (too much) freedom and was allowed to do what I wanted (within some reason) and yet I was by far the least promisquous (sp) and wild. Those with really strict parents were the ones who would get way too excited about sex and partying, presumably because it was SUCH a taboo.
My humble input would be to strike a balance. You certainly should be involved in your daughter's life and sometimes you won't be able to be her friend in the way she might want (but she'll thank you later). On the other hand, certainly don't become Us vs You with her or she'll only run to her friends to escape what she may view as oppression at home.
Sounds like you are a loving and caring mother. Try to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter. I wish the best for you. Know that by being aware and concerned, you've accomplished much already in the way of having a great relationship with your daughter (as well as keeping her safe!!!!!).
That's my observation too, RooBee. The more I live, the more I appreciate my parents
Check your medicine,put it where she can't find it.
Check for small plastic bags or balloons in her room,for suspicious contents inside.
Do not check her pants or anything she owns,while she is home.
If you check her belongings,DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN YOU FOUND THEM.
If she becomes suspicious of your going through her belongings,you have created a big problem of TRUST between yourselves.
Look at her arms,at the fold of the elbow for small red marks in the vein area.
This doesn;t mean you have to grab her arm and inspect it,it means you can see the marks from 4 feet away.
If she wears a long sleeve shirt around you,it is also a good sign of needle use.
Which brings up a good point for diabetics.Do not leave your needles and syringes laying around and do not throw them into the garbage.
Take them to the local health dept.and place in the RED disposal containers.
Check your spoons for any burn marks,as this is the way they heat up rock cocaine,so they can inject it into their veins.
There are numerous places a drug user can inject dope into the body,but the arm area is the easiest.
I raised 3 kids by myself, and they're all in their 20's now and have turned out pretty well. As they hit the 18 year old mark and headed off for college, I still retained the title of "Empress of Everything", oops, um, I mean "Mom". But I finally lost the title of "Disciplinarian" and it was replaced with "Friend".
When I get together now with my kids and their old high school friends, they all just love, love, love to tell me all the stories about things they did that I didn't know about when they were teenagers. Sheesh. Thanks, kids.
Here are my conclusions, for what they're worth:
1. Every teenager will lie to their parents about where they have been or what they have done - or both. Some will lie more than others, but they will all do it at least once.
2. Not every teenager will experiment with drugs or booze. It's a parental myth. Two of my three did experiment with alcohol. None with drugs. Some of their friends did. Some didn't. And yet they all drink now. Go figure.
3. Teen smoking is waaaaay more common than I ever would have thought in this day and age (although fortunately none of mine took it up). So that whole smoking story with your daughter? Refer to #1.
4. Teens have very little regard for the consequences of their actions. If they want to do something, you can bet your bippy they're going to find a way to do it. My kids and their friends are all between 20 and 25 now, and even at those young ages, they're already looking back at just how stupid they were and what could have happened to them. Geez. I didn't do that until I was officially "old".
5. If I knew then what I know now, none of my kids would have gotten their driver's licenses until they were 18!
6. Punishment, insults, restrictions, etc. do not work on teens in terms of prevention. They'll just work harder not to get caught the next time. Education, love, understanding, respect and trust do work -- most of the time.
It sounds like you're doing a good job with your daughter. Keep it up, and best of luck! You've got a long haul ahead of you.
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