I think my 17 year old may be smoking - UPDATE--we had a talk
He keeps going outside at night. Now that there is snow on the ground, I have hard evidence. It was only suspicion before. I know my ex let my boys do whatever they wanted when they lived with him. He even let them have a Hookah in the house and all the neighborhood kids would come over and smoke Hookah. :( That is one of the reasons my son wasn't successful with me before. I actually have rules and expectations. He isn't actually going anywhere. He is staying in the yard. The only thing I can think of is that he is smoking. Why else would he go stand outside in the middle of the night in frigid weather? A few months ago, I did find a lighter in his pocket when I was doing laundry. I asked him why he had it and he said he had used it to light some candles. Sure enough, there had been candles lit.
I have never smelled smoke on him. I am pretty sensitive to it. I asked him why he went outside last night. He was asleep when I asked and he said, "I can't remember." He never really asks for cash. He wants me to buy him this game or that game or wants me to get him a ticket to attend whatever event. I have no idea how he would be paying for them.
I am really worried he is smoking. Smoking is not something I will allow in my home at all by a minor child. I will be pretty upset if I find out he is. I guess he and I are going to have to have a big talk. His father and I never smoked, ever. I always hoped setting a good example would keep my kids away from that stuff.
I am sure smokers will come in and say it is no big deal, but it is a big deal to me. You may want your kids to be smokers, but I don't.
So, I pulled my son into the kitchen while I was making dinner so that we could have a talk. Basically, this is what I told him:
Grant, I am going to ask you something and I want you to know that you can be completely honest with me. I am not going to freak out or be mad, but I really need for you to tell me the truth. I want to know if you are smoking. I know you have been going outside at night and I know you have a lighter. It has caused me to be really suspicious. I know you are almost 18, but that doesn't mean that I am not your parent. I am going to let you know when I don't approve of something and I am going to let my expectations and any limitations be known while you are living in my home. I am not going to pretend that I can tell you what you can or cannot do at this age because I know that just because I do not see it does not mean it doesn't happen. If you really want to do something, you will. I just want you to know that we can talk about these things. I know sometimes it is scary to talk with your parent about something if you know they are going to be disappointed. Disappointing a parent is almost harder to take than just getting yelled at sometimes. But, if you are smoking, I am not here to be a bitch about it. If you were to come to me and tell me that you were, but you wanted to quit then there are things we can look into to help. I worry about you and I want to help you if you need it. I know you already know smoking is bad for you, so I am not going to lecture you on that. But, if you are, the faster we deal with it the easier it will be for you.
We had some conversation in between all of that, but that is the jist of it. He told me that he is not smoking. He said that he admits that he was when he was living with his dad, but when he came back here he decided to change things for the better. He quit when he came back. He said the reason he goes outside at all times of the day is because it keeps him from feeling cooped up. When he was living with his dad, he never left home. Actually, he rarely has left his bedroom for several years now. He said he remembers the doctors telling him that even if he just starts small and gets outside a few times a day that he will start feeling better. He doesn't get out much now, but he is trying and doing way better than before. I have seen a drastic change in his happiness since he has been back. His depression and anger seem to have disappeared.
He said he did get used to carrying a lighter when he was smoking and sometimes he would sit and burn leaves and things when he was depressed. When he said he would burn things, I got a little bit of a crazy look on my face. The last thing we need is a fire bug. He noticed my look and said he doesn't do that anymore and all he does is light candles now.
He had kind of a quivery tone to his voice. For some reason, I thought he was going to cry. He was very understanding of my concern and agreed with everything I said about worrying about him and letting my expecations as a parent be known. He understood that if he needed to come to me about something that we would work together to fix it and it wasn't to punish. I told him that I want to trust him and I will, but if he wants to keep that trust to please not lie to me.
In the end, he actually said, "Thanks, mom, for caring so much."
I guess this explains why I never smelled smoke. He really seemed honest and understanding of everything.