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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN BC: Dad Fears Ex's Reaction To Son's Accidental Marijuana
Title:CN BC: Dad Fears Ex's Reaction To Son's Accidental Marijuana
Published On:2012-01-23
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Fetched On:2012-01-24 06:05:24

Parent Traps is a parenting advice column from Vancouver family
therapist Michele Kambolis. Look for it Mondays in Health.

This week a father is concerned about the reaction of his volatile
ex-wife when she discovers that their 13-year-old son inadvertently
consumed marijuana.


I know you've talked before about open communication between divorced
parents regardless of fallout. I've come across a situation recently
that will lead to months of texts, calls and litigation on the part of
my ex-wife. Worse yet, my son (who's 13) will be grilled endlessly and
caught in the middle of my ex-wife's rants. My son was with me at a
party last weekend; the people there were mostly close friends, their
kids and a few single buddies. My son and his friend were given full
access to the fridge and ended up eating a pot brownie one of my
friends had brought over. Luckily someone noticed what was happening
and they didn't eat much, but my son was pretty affected. We talked
about what happened and he's really worried about his mom finding out,
not because it's his fault, but because he knows I'll never hear the
end of it. How critical is it that I share this with my ex, and what's
worse, the pres-sure of keeping a secret or dealing with another
battle between his mom and I?

Battle Weary Dad, Vancouver


Make a sincere apology. And, promise you'll think carefully about the
entertainment at your next party involving your child.

Sophia, Vancouver

There are worse things than your adolescent accidentally eating a pot
brownie. What's sad is the fact that your ex-wife has created an
environment where you can't be honest about it. Exposing your son to
her rants is damaging and it may be better to just not go there.

Jeff, North Vancouver

The truth is always the best, no matter the outcome. He should have
known better than to leave his brownies in the fridge where his son
could get his hands on it. Way to go dad.

Beth, Vancouver


In a city famous for tolerating pot consumption of all varieties, the
number of incidents of children accidentally consuming THC is
shocking. With marijuana securing a place in the treatment of serious
ailments and the legalization of marijuana gaining momentum, both
lawmakers and parents are facing serious challenges. Regard-less of
one's views on the marijuana debate, we can all agree that the
endangerment of kids is another matter altogether.

How to handle the situation? First, while your fractured relationship
with your ex-wife poses a great deal of stress for both you and your
son, the pot brownie incident falls within the camp of child safety
and you'll need to have an upfront discussion.

Second, use this as a teaching moment and explain to your son your
stance on marijuana use. Clearly you're accepting of your friends'
choice. Your son may take this as a cue that marijuana is cool with
you. What-ever your views, make sure you conduct some research on the
implications of marijuana on the developing body, including brain
chemistry, fertility, respiratory system, blood pres-sure and emotion
regulation. Including your son in this process gives you something far
beyond brownie points; it is credibility.

Third, it's time to speak with your son about putting honesty above
and beyond your fear of negative consequences. You want him to know
that while his mother may have questions and even become emotional, he
doesn't need to keep secrets on your behalf. He also needs per-mission
to redirect her questions back to you, which may mean reminding her
about the importance of your own lines of communication.

Fourth, ensure your son is neither exposed directly to pot or to your
friends who may be high on their latest date with Betty Crocker. Let
your ex know that you take this seriously and that you're taking every
precaution to ensure it doesn't happen again.


My 15-year-old daughter absolutely refuses to sleep in her own room,
and over the past three years has developed the bad habit of crawling
into bed with my husband and I, almost on a nightly basis. It's now
the only way she'll get to sleep; we've tried everything to get her to
sleep in her own room but she only stays up all night when confined to
her own space, which severely affects her mood and school work. This
was never a problem when she was growing up; in fact, she's always
been very independent and enjoyed spending time alone. She won't
confide in us any feelings or experiences that led to this regression,
and while I'm more worried than anything, my husband is losing
patience very quickly and it's affecting our marriage - you can
imagine the impact it's had on our sex life. How can I get her back
into her own room when it's time for lights out?

Losing at Lights Out, Vancouver
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