Home » Expert Q & A » Living With An Addict » Living With An Addict: Ari Hahn

What to say to your kid when he and hubby smoke weed

  • Asks ...

    My husband has been a daily marijuana user for the last 25 years, since before I ever knew him. It’s not ideal but it’s just who he is and he held a good steady job for all that time and never been in trouble with the police or anything like that. I don’t think he is able or willing to change, and he doesn’t really think he should have to.
    My teenage son however has been quick to point out our hypocrisy. He was suspended at school last week after a teacher caught him with a group of students who were smoking a joint. It couldn’t be proven that he had actually been smoking himself or he would have been expelled.

    We grounded him for using drugs but he has long known of his dad’s ‘secret’ and so he is pretty reluctant to listen to anything we have to say on the matter.

    I have known so many people who were harmed by drugs and alcohol and I really don’t want to see my son go down that road. What can I say or do to convince him that even though his dad is able to smoke marijuana without having much trouble with it, most people aren’t so lucky and drugs and alcohol often end up in pain and suffering for all those involved.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • Dr. Ari Hahn Says ...
    Dr. Ari Hahn

    First the bad news. There is nothing you can say that can actually stop him from smoking. That will really be his choice. This is actually the first message you need to give to your son. As a teenager he is beginning to learn that he need to be in control of his life, and he is proving that he can do what he wants. Support that idea while you disapprove of his behavior. "You are going to do what you want anyway. I cannot stop you. But I want you to know that, in my opinion ___________. "

    Now the good news. You have a lot of tools to help him see your point of view, and that might put a damper on his smoking.

    Hypocrisy. You would be hypocritical if you supported hubby smoking and not him. What you are saying is that you don't approve, but you love hubby anyway. That is your second message to your son. We all have behaviors we don't agree with. If I get angry at my kid, I will not be happy with myself. Does that mean that since I got angry I will either hate myself or begin to think it is good to get angry. I will not go around telling people the benefits and advantages of anger. So your message to your son could be something like: Just because I accept Dad and love him does not mean that I think it is good that he smokes marijuana. I believe that he would do much better in life if he didn't. Every time he smokes he has a few hours of altered reality that, although he enjoys, it is something that we don't do with him. (It is in his head.) And I think that it would have been better for the family if he were enjoying things with us all those years. (Find other reasons that fit your circumstances: work would have been better, sports, etc...)

    The other arguments are more your personal ones. You have your reasons why you do not smoke marijuana. Once you have seen some acceptance of the above, you need to tell your own story. If you tried it, why did you stop? How did you react, feel etc when you learned of hubby's use? Did you struggle and then accept this in your family? Do you believe that it is not really so bad, but for some people it is worse than for others? Is it a fear for his health? or concern for his success in school, work, the law?

    As a parent in modern society, you do not need to teach him the "facts" about drug use. He has heard it in school, and hasn't bought it. You job is to bring him into your emotional perspective. In an atmosphere of love and concern, pray that the natural joy and pleasure of having a close loving mother overpowers the fun of altered reality with friends. And do not give up. It might take a long time.

Featured Experts