A lot of my daughter’s friends are using weed. I know this for a fact because I’ve let the kids smoke at our place when we weren’t there. I figured I would rather they were safe in our backyard than bonging on in some park somewhere. If a kid is smoking weed, it’s better for them to be safe about it.
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I know that there are many parents out there who would not be as lenient about smoking pot as me and my partner are. At this stage, we don’t think our daughter is smoking and maybe we would have a different attitude about it if she was, not just her friends. I’m probably stupid enough to believe that she’s not likely to take up the habit, even though her friends appear to be smoking weed regularly. At least once a week that I know about, maybe more.
Breaking the mother code
Look, I get that I’ll probably be judged for turning a blind eye to this. There’s a ‘mother code’ that we’re not supposed to break, isn’t there? You keep an eye on my child and I’ll keep an eye on yours.
It was much easier when the children were young and we were phoning each other to dob on some playground misdemeanor. “Y was mean to X today” or “I don’t think X really wants to keep doing ballet”. Kid stuff that’s easily shared between mothers.
Now those kids are in year 11 in high school, I don’t think the mother code holds firm. You see, there’s a thing called the ‘parent code’ and, for me, it goes something like this:
“You can tell me anything and I’ll listen without judging you, I promise.”
“Will you tell anyone what I say?”
“Never. Well, not unless I think you, or one of your friends is in trouble. Then I would have to break your trust to get them the help they need.”
“But not other than that?”
Different values doesn’t make it wrong
Some parents might think that their child smoking weed instantly makes it a “friends in trouble” scenario, but I disagree. That’s my values possibly being at odds with another parent’s values. I get that they might not be impressed with my decision, but I have to make up my own mind based on what I think is best for my child.
To me, a teenager experimenting with pot is not a dangerous situation. It’s certainly not one I’m willing to destroy the relationship I have with my daughter over.
Something that might change my opinion: how the kids are getting the drugs. I have no knowledge whatsoever as to how my daughter’s friends have such ready access to weed (and definitely vapes and possibly other drugs, but I’m in the dark about that too). If I ever found out and thought they were in danger that way, I would intervene. My daughter knows this and it’s probably why she’s never told me anything about that side of things.
Teens experimenting is not a new thing
What I do know is that at least half her friends are smoking weed most weekends. They make bongs from drink bottles, foil and straws, bits of cut up hose or other tubes. Yep, not a lot has changed in bong technology since we were teens ourselves.
Or, perhaps, you never experimented with smoking weed as a kid? Never tried an upper? What about alcohol? Were you one of those kids who got rat-faced on Bundy and coke every weekend? Did you think that was dangerous? Do you think it’s dangerous now?
I’d honestly much rather my kid was smoking weed than necking a litre of spirits. Wouldn’t you rather a group of teens were high on weed than manic on alcohol? It might stuff up their developing brains even more, but at least pot doesn’t add to a teen’s already rampant recklessness and inhibition. Alcohol kills a lot of people. As far as I know, weed very few.
Of course, none of it is good! I know that! I’d rather they weren’t doing any of it, believe me. But I’m not naive enough to think that a parent telling a teen not to do something because it’s not good for them is going to change a single thing. These kids will find ways to get high – if not weed or alcohol, then something else. Your own kid probably is too. You just don’t know about it.
It’s harder when you know the parents
The only time I’ve felt really conflicted about knowing the kids are all smoking weed and not telling their parents was recently. According to my daughter, my own friend’s kid has started experimenting with bongs. She’s getting high most weekends at ‘sleepovers’.
I’ve been really conflicted about whether I should tell my friend that her kid is smoking weed. It’s such a dilemma. On the one hand, I know my friend would not be happy at all to know that I know and haven’t said anything. She would be completely blindsided by her daughter’s behaviour. Not for a second would she ever think her kid is smoking. Not for a second.
On the other hand, my own daughter trusts me to keep her secrets and I don’t want to break that trust. I don’t want my daughter to stop talking to me about what is going on in her life.
So, I probably won’t ever tell my friend what I know. It eats me up a bit because I love her and I hate the thought of keeping her daughter’s secret. But I think I have way more to lose than my friend would gain in knowing what her kid is up to. After all, just because a teen’s parents catch them out, doesn’t necessarily stop them from getting high with their friends. They just get sneakier about it.
I know this, because my daughter told me.
Would you tell a friend that their kid is smoking weed?
Resources: Support and help for teens in Australia