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Dear Ali,

My teenage son told me that all of his friends are vaping and some of them are also smoking pot. My husband and I were not “perfect” when we were his age so how can we guide him and keep him safe yet not be hypocrites doing so?

Thank you,

Bad girl turned good mom



Dear Good Mom,

I wish I knew how old he is. He could be anywhere between 13 and 19! I’d probably give you a different answer depending on his age. The good news is that your son didn’t say HE was smoking/vaping – he said his friends are. I wonder – why do you suppose he told you this? Sounds like he’s asking for a conversation, and probably (really what most teens want) is for you to help him set some personal boundaries. Does he really want to hang out with these friends?

If he hasn’t smoked or vaped yet, you have a small window in which to lovingly inform him of potential hazards. If he never starts, it’s much easier to never have to quit.

We want our kids to benefit from the lessons we learned. But sometimes, unfortunately, they have to do the learning for themselves. Teach them about the health risks of vaping and smoking.

I asked a young friend who is a current vaper and pot smoker, and former cigarette smoker. He thinks it’s quite possible your son may already be smoking. He speaks from experience, and thinks you should let him know that starting to smoke weed at such a young age really can lead to addiction problems. It prevents people from being productive, and it makes it hard for them to focus.

We still don’t yet know about potential harm from vaping. It’s still relatively new. But anything going into our bodies that doesn’t belong there is something we need to be smart about.

If you tell him you did it – that gives him a free pass.  Keep your eye on him and assure him he can tell you anything.  If he’s honest he won’t get in trouble.  If you feel compelled to share your past with him, let him know how you feel about the choices you made as a teen. Do you regret them? Why? Are you happy and proud of the choices you made? Why? Talk to him. The more open you are, the more open he is likely to be.  So glad to hear he’s coming to you first! Good job on creating an environment of open communication.


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