Suspects son is smoking ganja

| 12/06/2017

My 15-year-old son came home from spending the evening with friends smelling like weed. I don’t know if he was actually smoking himself or around people who were. Either way, this concerns me. I’m not sure what I should do. Any advice?

Auntie’s answer: I am certain that your question is one most parents dread having to face. Without going into all the arguments for and against smoking, there are a few things I can share.

Admittedly, I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your son but I am willing to guess that you since you have asked the question, you have a good one and your concern comes from a good place.

Based on that guess, my advice would be that you talk to him. I wouldn’t go in guns blazing and accusatory but instead tell him that you smelled the smoke on him and that it worries you. Ask him if he was smoking. Depending on your demeanour, he may be willing to tell you the truth. If he admits he was smoking, try to remain calm. It is really important to maintain an open line of communication with your son. Ask him why he smoked and how it made him feel. Did his friends pressure him into smoking?

If he says his friends smoked and he didn’t, talk about that. Why didn’t he smoke? How did he feel about his friends smoking?

There are also definite points that I think you should bring out during your conversation (and please make it a two-way talk and not a lecture).

Lots of information is available on the short- and long-term effects of regular smoking of ganja. Do a bit of research and share that with your son. Let him ask questions, if he wants, and you can also solicit his opinion on these health issues, which he may be sceptical of. Come armed with facts to make your case.

Even more important, though, is that you emphasise possessing and/or consuming weed is illegal in Cayman, and that can lead to an immediate and unambiguous result if your son is caught in the act. The consequences of getting arrested for smoking or possessing weed can be very dire for a young person. A drug conviction can shut a lot of doors overseas. There are countries, such as the US, that bar anyone with a drug conviction from entering. And the irony of weed being legal in some US states will not change that, since the conviction is valid here in Cayman.

Even though convictions can be expunged if they occur when someone is a minor, those can still have serious consequences.

I know of one young man with a ganja-related conviction who lost his scholarship to a US university before he turned 18 and with that his chances at a tertiary education. The same missed opportunity can apply to jobseekers, as many companies require a drug test of potential employees.

I hope you are able to have a candid discussion with your son without judgement. It is so important for him to know he can talk to you. Of course, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t face repercussions for his actions (if he did smoke), but if you have an open dialogue with him, he may at least understand the actions you are taking.

One other thing: Make it a point of knowing who his friends are and who their parents are. This may seem an obvious thing to do, but I have seen too many times where parents have no clue who their kids hang out with, and there is no excuse for that. Being involved (which some youngsters may call nosy) is part of the parental job description. Having too much information is definitely better than having too little, too late.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Auntie – you cannot expunge a record so far as US Immigration is concerned. If your record is expunged, and you tell them you have no convictions when in fact you do (even though they have been struck from your records), you are committing a more serious offence of lying to US authorities.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Check his pockets, confiscate it, roll it and go out in the back yard and chill

  3. Anonymous says:

    Okay, okay… pot? While I think it is not something that anyone under 18 should partake in I really doubt that it is the MJ that has caused this rift in your family. Until you as the parent take a good look at how you have raised your child you will not see a change. Do you have an open dialogue with him about life? Do you try and talk with him about what he wants out of life, what his dreams are? How you as his parent can help him accomplish what he wants to do? It is easy to blame pot but it’s hard to look in the mirror at the way we parent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone has got to be the leader…you got it correct there…mirror is louder than any weed is!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a huge concern because most teens that fall into that type of behavior usually do not stop and the domino’s fall as they may, so to speak. All kids have had the “Let’s say no to drugs” talk, but have they been shown someone who is a habitual drug user? I show my kids what happens to people that abuse drugs and alcohol, having to beg lose people’s respect ect. (I do not encourage them to taunt or be disrespectful them though).

    Without sounding judgmental, I would recommend keeping closer tabs on your kids by monitoring their cell phone activity and who their friends are including their parents. If I don’t know the parents Or if I do, and if necessary, we have a conversation to explain why I do not feel comfortable. Also, I have access to my daughter’s phone and she knows that at any time I will pick up the phone and look through it.

    If you happen to be a parent(s) that work the odd hours, ask a neighbor to watch your kids. There is not enough of community participation happens anymore, I truly miss those days. When the community helped to raise children there were less unsupervised kids hanging with the wrong crowds because they knew that someone would be watching. We need to start that again!

    Also, if you can, put them in after-school activities (might be hard to convince a 15 year old), some district churches offer such services for a small fee to buy supplies. There are also many football clubs that offer free membership and provide free uniforms for games, some coaches will even pick up the kids whose parents are unable to.

    Lastly, while I believe that raising our children is our responsibility, this issue is one of the main topics of the election campaigns and most are currently elected members, who said that community changes would be made to include after-school facilities to assist parents and kids, with supervision, activities and homework.

    I hope that this was helpful and did not come off as judgmental and I pray for your family’s release from this problem.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When my son was 16, I caught him attempting to roll a spliff. I had reason to believe that this was his first attempt and he confirmed same. I had a very serious talk with him, warning him of the health implications and of course, the legality. I cautioned him that his body, and his brain, had not finished developing and as such, smoking weed was dangerous. My approach was successful. He completed high school with excellent results, held a steady job for a couple years until he entered university, where he graduates this summer with a bachelor’s degree. I’m aware of his exposure to weed-smoking as a university student but I have every confidence that he has not become a “weed-head”. His personal demeanor, university results and other evidence assures me.

    Most teenagers will listen to the advice of parents when it is presented in a serious and caring manner. They just need to know they are loved, respected and appreciated. That way they can respect and appreciate themselves and their own potential.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very well said! If your son is consuming the herb in Uni, I am positive that his performance and grades will not confirm if he is consuming or not. Once a child is brought in a way to value their priorities, and weigh the pros and cons, they will not allow a “drug” like marijuana to come in they way of their future. Especially if they don’t have to hide from parents or be subject to the discrimination the way they are in Cayman. Congrats to your son!

  6. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t 1968 anymore…smoking the marijuana hybrids of 2017 with 500x more THC and increasingly likelihood of further adulteration with cheap, addictive, and very dangerous Chinese opioids, can be a deadly game of roulette. Skunk and Fentanyl are a worldwide scourge killing thousands weekly. We need to retire the fantasy that smoking a joint is universally harmless; that smoking anything will improve the health of someone that isn’t already very sick, or that cosying-up with looser narcotic suppliers is going to advance your Rolodex in life.

  7. AZOTH says:

    There are no real negative side effects to the health of individuals who use cannabis. It is impossible to have an overdose as well.

    He is still growing and his brain is still developing and the concern is entirely reasonable. Educating young adults about drugs in general and the risks they pose is key to empowering them to make proper decisions on their own.

    His image is at stake more than his mental and physical capacity. Talk to him and let him know the society we live in today has very low tolerance for drug consumption be it weed, alcohol or coke etc. He needs to decide between is image or his high/the freinds he hangs out with.

  8. LIFERS says:


    1) Hold your breath.
    2) Wait him to turn “retarded” or the likes – AS “they” the ignorant say….
    3) Keep holding your breath…

    Weed does not Kill – Say it again.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Excellent advice.

    Also, consider reaching out to the National Drug Council (ask to speak with Simon Miller who is excellent and has a real handle on what is happening in the community) on a confidential basis for more resources and advice – 949-9000.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don’t bother asking him if he smoked it. I would imagine he would say no. And that’s not really the point anyway.
    Auntie has a great point about the consequences of getting caught and that’s what you should make a point of discussing.
    They have to start making their own choices sooner or later but all the info you can provide will certainly help.
    Many people don’t realize that alcohol stunts your emotional growth. So the earlier you start drinking the less emotional growth you will have. This is a proven fact. To me one is as dangerous as the other in those terms.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am appalled by the number of youths, boys and girls, that are using marijuana in our Islands. I experienced this first hand with my teenage son and it has changed him completely. There seems to be a casual approach by parents and authorities with regards to the damage being done by them using marijuana to our kids whose brains are still developing. I think this is one of the main reasons why our youths are not learning and not able to find or hold on to a job and some become criminals to supply their habit. It has broken our home despite counseling, getting the Police involved, praying and doing everything possible to try get him to quit. They are now able to hide the presence of marijuana in their system when they are takie drug tests at the labs. At present there is no drug rehab on island even if they really want to quit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Blame it on the pot all you want… Maybe you just have a bad son.

    • Anonymous says:

      First of all, your approach was completely wrong. Counseling is a bit much, but getting the Police involved especially if your son has never encountered them prior to that, is taking it a step too far. It’s not the end of the world if your teen starts to smoke marijuana and they are not criminals for it, just curious human beings. How many teens have tried alcohol before marijuana which is more harmful and development hindering. I can tell you first hand, you can tell them to stop till you turn blue in the face, and it possibly won’t make a difference.

      The minute you start to try and punish the teen rather than try to understand them you have already lost your battle. Regardless of what rules you put in place or freedom you take away, they will find the time and place to use marijuana. All this does is create a larger gap between you and your teen in relation to communication as they now feel like they do not fit in and are misunderstood. This will lead to antisocial behavior which will also put them at greater risk of being sucked in by the judicial system.

      Substance abuse should be treated differently here as everyone seems to think that lecturing and talking down to teens, making them feel worthless and like criminals is the way to handle the situation. Show unconditional love and let them know you are there to help them over come life’s current and future struggles. Encourage them to live a life without dependence on substances, legal or illegal. As a parent learn the facts surrounding the use of marijuana, keep an open mind and DO NOT talk about the regular stereotypical BS everyone tried to feed their teens. Remember, they are more experienced than you in relation to the very thing you’re trying to talk to them about, Marijuana,

      • Anonymous says:

        Getting the Police involved was the last resort. It was done after he became abusive and violent and damaging property and failing grades in school and getting caught with drugs and alcohol dozens of times. I couldn’t allow this to take place in my house in the presence of his younger siblings. The counseling was not mainly for the drugs but for his violent behavior and for the parents to understand how to deal with these problems. He was given unconditional love but just didn’t want to change and didn’t care about how it affected those around him. There are times that we have to make hard decisions.

        • Anonymous says:

          You think it was just pot? I think alcohol/other drugs and something in his past triggering this. Without hearing his side we all can only speculate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said