Real life teen stories: ‘My son thought there was nothing wrong with taking drugs’

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  • In our series of real-life teen stories, mums of teens talk about issues they had with their kids and how they overcame them.

    goodtoknow user Sue, is mum to a teenage son and daughter. A few years ago, her son Jack’s personality completely changed due to drugs. Here sue tell us how she got him off the drugs.

    Jack was 14-years-old and living with his dad in the town when he started smoking weed. He had a lot of freedom and could come and go as he pleased without any time restrictions for meals or home time. Often I would see him in town with friends and he was obviously stoned.

    ‘He had no enthusiasm for anything’

    His appearance changed and his clothes were crumpled, dirty and mismatched. He lost weight and had no enthusiasm for anything.

    After a fall out with his dad he moved back in with me. I had to tighten the reins gradually, but his personality was different. He became moody, lazy and complained he was always tired. He’d either eat loads or nothing at all. I’d also noticed that money was going missing.

    While I was away for a weekend Jack had some friends round which developed into a house party. His older sister was round and called her dad when she saw drugs lined up on the worktops. Their dad told the boys to go, told Jack that I would have a strong word with him and left. My house got completely trashed, but Jack wouldn’t take any responsibility. He said he hadn’t invited all of the people and he hadn’t caused the damage, so it wasn’t his fault.

    Around the same time I found him smoking weed in his bedroom from a home-made bong and he always used to go outside at night – I thought his friends might be dropping things off for him, so I ended up locking the doors at night and sleeping with the keys under my pillow.

    ‘There were times I had to call the police because I didn’t know where he was’

    Even with the curfew I gave to Jack, I didn’t always know where he was. I’d get my friends to call me if they saw him out, so I’d know where he was. I also had a good relationship with some of his friends, who would call me with any concerns they had. But there were times when I had to follow him, or call the police and tell them I couldn’t find him.

    It was really difficult to know what to do, because he wouldn’t listen to me. I knew what was happening but it was the sort of thing I expected to happen to other people, not me. I saw an interview on GMTV with a woman whose son was addicted to cannabis – she also had a web site which was brilliant as I realised I wasn’t the only parent with the same concerns.

    ‘His friends having breakdowns gave him a shock’

    My daughter told me that Jack was taking the drug MCat (which at the time was a legal high drug) – so when I read a story in the paper that 2 boys had died after taking it, I left it lying around for him to see – and he did read it. If I’d picked it up and shown it to him, he would’ve just laughed in my face.

    I also got my dad to talk to him, because I knew he wouldn’t talk back to him like he would to me. My dad told him that if he didn’t stop, he’d end up dead, and that he was hanging around with a load of dossers. Jack didn’t agree, or admit he was wrong, but I think he did listen.

    He also saw some of his friends have breakdowns. I think that as well as me putting a curfew on him gave him a bit of a shock.

    Jack has settled down now, he’s stopped taking drugs, got a job and he worked hard for his last year of GCSEs. He has since admitted that he was smoking weed, taking MCat and sometimes taking cocaine and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.

    I think, in a way, taking drugs is almost a right of passage for some teenagers – depending on their personality and peer group they’ll either try it or not. You just have to be on the perimeter and make sure it doesn’t go too far.

    Where to next?

    A guide to teens and drugs
    More teens real life stories
    How to talk to your teen