Drugs and Alcohol:
“My marriage is in trouble and our son appears to be experimenting with drugs.”
Dear Annie,Recently there are some hints that our teenage son may be experimenting with drugs. He is angry a lot, keeps to himself while home, is obsessed with privacy, and only wants to be with friends -- constantly texting and emailing, calling, etc. He has been a straight A student and his grades have started to slip a little, though only in one class. Some of our parent friends have said there are some questionable emails going on, I don't know the specifics. If we confront him he says he hates us and hates being home.
My wife and I have a lot of issues. I know this complicates things for my son. My wife won't even talk with me and does everything unilaterally. How can I deal with this in a constructive way to help minimize issues for my son?
Sam I Am
Dear Sam I Am,
I'm sorry to hear that you and your wife are having problems. Of course that affects everyone in the family. Marital problems aside for the moment, your first priority is your son's health and well-being. Some of what you describe is typical teen behavior. Anger, withdrawing from parents, the increased need for privacy, the obsessive need to stay constantly connected to friends. Even the 'I hate you' is pretty typical at this age. A slipping grade in one class may not mean anything out of context.
The "questionable" emails are something else. Sounds like your parent friends may have some specifics that they've read. If so, you need to know the contents of those emails ASAP. If what's in the emails turns out to suggest drug use, that would be enough in my book to call a meeting of the parents so that all of you, as a group of friends, get on the same page immediately. Teen drug use is not something you want to turn a blind eye to, nor is it something to write off as in "Hey, everyone experiments. No big deal." Neither of those messages are the ones you want to send to your son.
So, your first priority is for your parent friends to put your heads together and take a leadership role in finding out if your kids are using drugs.