Around these parts most adults, including therapists who treat adolescents, seem to agree that marijuana is a reasonably benign drug parents shouldn't get too worked up about. I have now heard of at least three different therapists advising parents not to lower the boom when they learned their child was smoking pot.
That has never seemed right to me, possibly because it isn't right:
A: Marijuana has gotten stronger.
B: Marijuana use is causally related to development of schizophrenia in some cases.
C: Marijuana use is associated with lower educational attainment.
D: The younger you begin using it, the more dangerous its effects (and vice versa).
We've been pretty ferocious on the subject of drugs.
We told C, in these words: We have two kids with major brain problems; we don't want another one. [synchronicity alert: C has just this moment come into the room to tell me he's watching a really good show called Weeds. sigh]
Anyway, we told C. that if we found out he was drinking or using drugs, he would be spending his entire adolescence inside our house.
That has worked out pretty well, in part because C. is a fairly easy kid to manage, as kids go, and in part because the other kids in his school all got the same ruling from their own folks, who appear to mean business. C. has one friend whose parents ground him for a year. And that was just for drinking, albeit a whole lot of drinking, according to C.
I realize that some kids are easier to manage than others, but still. As I understand it (no time to fact-check at the moment), the later a person begins using any kind of drug, the better, and we've told this to C on several occasions. When C. was a freshman, I attended a lecture given by a mom whose son died of heroin addiction; her husband, the boy's step-dad, told us that a parent's job is to get his child to age 21 without drinking or using drugs.
Few parents are going to hit that mark, but Ed and I have found that having the mark is extremely helpful.
Now C. is lying on the sofa laughing over some DARE counselor who crashed the DARE van into a tree because he was drunk. Haha!
Actually, that is pretty funny. I'm not a fan of DARE.
I'm a fan of grounding your kid for a year if need be.