Straight Talk: Dad's pot smoking concerns writer

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: My mom and dad got in a fight a few days ago and my mom ended it with, Just run upstairs and smoke your pot. Now I realize I can hear my dad smoking it in the bathroom. He does it all the time. It is really bothering me and I don't know what to do. Please help. ” Don't use my name From Megan, 19: A lot of kids don't realize their parents do drugs. Quite a few of my friends' parents even smoke pot with their children, or provide it. It is more common than you think. The problem is your parents are fighting and your father seems to be smoking as an escape. Tell him you know he is using pot and ask him what is really going on between your mother and him. It will help you understand the situation, and maybe he will see how immature he is being. From Nicole, 18: Your dad had 30 years to smoke. Now he has a family and he needs to be conscious of the feelings of those around him. Tell him his actions are bothering you. From Beau, 18: My ex-girlfriend went through this with her father. He was divorced and lived alone but he was still in love with his ex-wife. He smoked to relieve the stress. I think that is the case here, too. I know how depleting it is to argue all the time with a loved one, and if you know the arguing is affecting others (in this case, you), it adds a ton of weight. My girlfriend was bothered by her dad's smoking also, and she really judged him. He, too, would only smoke in the bathroom. I told her that sometimes a person needs an out, a way to relax and achieve level-headedness. It's hard to explain because people have such black-and-white thinking about pot, but as long as it doesn't consume a person and become the only way one can relax, it is acceptable to me. Talk to your dad. Find out what's going on with him. But don't talk down to him; that will create a completely wrong vibe. We all know smoking pot is not the best thing. It is your job to find a healthier outlet for yourself. One of the hardest things in life is when you realize you have to be better than your parents. Dear Don't use my name: You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, you can't control it. These words are from Al-Anon, the organization devoted to friends and relatives of those with addictions. Upon understanding these words, one teenage Al-Anon member reports, You can start to enjoy your own life regardless of what's going on at home.'' Many teenagers are shocked and disturbed when they discover that a parent smokes pot. Although marijuana use is historically dominated by young adults (ages 18 to 24), a 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuse survey shows that about 10 percent of adults ages 35 to 49 continue using pot. Most use only a few times a year, but about 3 percent use three or more times per week. I applaud your dad for trying to be discreet, but he is now busted, and it sounds like he doesn't even know it. To end the awkwardness, you will have to take the first step. All the panelists recommend communication, and Beau gives excellent reasons for doing so with compassion. It will be helpful to read our past column: Daughter discovers that Dad smokes pot (Jan. 17, 2007) on the Straight Talk website. It gives three distinct teen approaches to your dilemma. Since your dad is a regular user, and there are family problems related to it, I encourage you to attend a free Al-Anon or Alateen meeting. Write to Straight Talk at or PO Box 963, Fair Oaks CA 95628.