My 16-year-old son smokes pot and thinks it’s okay – Is it?

Question: My 16-year-old son smokes marijuana and says it is harmless, everyone does it and it’s legal in many states. How do I get him to stop smoking pot?

Answer: First off, everyone doesn’t do it. It is against the law in 42 out of 50 states to smoke marijuana and it is your responsibility as a parent to keep your child from breaking the law. What I am about to address goes for alcohol as well as marijuana. It frustrates me when I hear a parent say, “I let my teenage son drink when I am around, it’s better that way, at least I know where they are” If that is your standard, we need to have a different conversation.

Back to marijuana, I personally believe marijuana for an ADULT (someone who is twenty-one or older) should be legal. I don’t believe people should drive high, work high, or in any way at all, put another person at-risk or in jeopardy. Basically, marijuana and alcohol should be treated equally. They are both mind-altering drugs that should be regulated. If a cop stops a car and there is marijuana smoke coming from the car, there should be consequences. I don’t want a driver on the road who is high, whether he is high on pot or alcohol. High is high is high.

In this Q&A we’re not going to discuss the medical benefits of either marijuana or alcohol. That is a whole different topic. 

Back to your son. I lecture young people all the time, NO WHERE is marijuana legal for anyone under the age of twenty-one. Furthermore, a lot of research has been done and marijuana is a prime factor in a developing teen’s “lack of ambition.” I can say the same thing for alcohol. So, where you see the word marijuana, feel free to substitute the word alcohol and you will get the same results. 

Let’s address your sons pot smoking, Most families have a hard time discussing pot because, 1. They may smoke pot themselves, 2. They aren’t educated enough and their teen comes back with reasonable explanations, and 3. There is a lot of confusion with the law and how law enforcement handles pot cases. As I said earlier, treat marijuana as you would alcohol and that should solve a lot of what you need to say. You might drink, but you are over 21. I am sure you lecture your son about drinking and driving, even older children. I personally tell my own kids and they are well into their mid to late 20’s, if you even have one drink, please call me. Take an Uber, cab, etc. DO NOT DRIVE

Communication is key. Be an example. Your energy would be best spent in setting rules and expectations for him. Try rewarding your son for meeting goals or give him consequences for not meeting those goals. This way you are teaching him responsibilities. Be patient and remember when you were 16. Yelling or getting “on” him constantly will only push him away. Negativity breeds low self-esteem and in today’s constantly changing world, a young person needs all the positive reinforcement he can get. The world will kick him enough so be the one he comes to for advice and wisdom. 

Good luck and stay positive. 

Larry Lawton – Wikipedia

About the author: Larry Lawton is an Author, TV Personality, Speaker, Teen/Young Adult Expert and Law Enforcement Consultant. Larry developed the nationally recognized Reality Check Program and Reality Check Video Card Program.

Larry Lawton appears regularly on national TV and Radio as an expert on teen issues, crime, schools and community policing. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC  —  CLICK HERE to see Larry Lawton on TV

In August of 2013, Larry was the first ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an Honorary Police Officer in the city of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri and in November 2013, Larry was the first ex-con recognized on the Floor of the United States Congress for his work with helping young people and law enforcement agencies.

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