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My son is using adderall unprescribed
My son is using adderall unprescribed
I am new to the forum but have been reading it off and on for several months. My 16 yr old son has recently been taking adderall. I found out by finding a pill in his pants pocket while doing the laundry and when asking him about it he admitted he uses it sometimes. Last night he stayed up all night doing homework (started at 9:00pm and stopped when it was time to go to school at 7am) When I asked him if he'd taken any pills he said, "yes a few of them" He is also a daily weed smoker and has been since he was 13. We haven't been successful in any of our talks with him in getting him to stop. I realize a person has to make that decision themselves but am wondering if anyone has any advice for a kind of freaked out Mom. I am so worried about him. He has been doing terribly in school last year (all F's the last semester of 9th grade) and so far this new school year he is flunking 3 out of 6 of his classes and the other 3 aren't far behind. It's breaking my heart. Thanks.
Don't know how helpful I will be but I did graduate high school 3 years ago. I began smoking weed in 9th grade and did so everyday until my first year in college. Many kids take adderall the way your son does, to catch up in school and to give a mental "boost" if they don't have add/adhd.
Even with smoking weed everyday throughout highschool, making passing grades was not hard. High school isn't meant to be an obstacle to overcome, it's actually pretty hard to fail out. Teachers will help you if you are behind to get your ass out and into the real world. My first suspicion would be that your son isn't actually attending school. Granted, everyone's intelligence level is different, but I had friends in high school drugged out on cocaine and >>>>>> and still managed to pass all of their classes. Perhaps there are other drugs he is doing that you don't know of.
I remember in high school I was never receptive to my parent's talks. You are so self-absorbed (in high school) and think nothing can touch you. Sometimes, getting in some real trouble (with the law) is the only thing that will allow you to open your eyes and wake up. There's not much you can do as a parent but to support and help them when they need it. I would suggest taking him to a clinic and doing a drug test (not a home test), and having it sent to a laboratory for analysis. If he is actually attending class everyday, suggest he sets up times to meet with his teachers to get supplemental help.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the quick reply kaeldone231. It does help to hear from someone who's been through some similar situations recently. He doesn't attend school very much. He's attending the classes he's passing a little bit more than the others but isn't going to the 3 he's failing at all right now. He keeps using the excuse that he has missed class so he is behind in the assignments and needs to not go back until he catches up so he can turn it in for credit. However, every day he doesn't go he gets farther behind. Unfortunately the classes he's failing are math, language arts and biology. 3 he definately will need to graduate. When we ask him what he wants to do in regard to school he says he wants to keep going to the high school he's been at and that he wants to graduate from there. When we ask him how he plans to do it he says he will take care of it and for us not to bother him about it. About the drugs, he's pretty open to what he uses. There may be other drugs he's used that we don't know about but my hunch is that he will tell us the same thing he's said about the weed, "I don't want to quit, I like it and don't worry about it." We've explored treatment options , therapy, etc. but just don't know what to do at this point. He is not really all that cooperative. Lots of saying that he'll change, he'll do the right thing and then in actuality he does little of what he promises or says he'll do. Any more insight? I really appreciate your comments. Thanks again. And does any one know how dangerous adderall is for kids to be taking? Do kids tend to abuse it badly and take amounts that will cause bad medical things? Any info will be appreciated.
Abusing adderall is very dangerous and can change the natural chemistry in the brain of someone who does not need it. Weed is not such a concern, other than it can make you a very lazy unmotivated person..
That makes more sense now, he is not attending classes. It's pretty much up to you from here. Honestly, if he attends all his classes even if he is stoned out of his mind and retains the slightest bit of information he WILL pass. What do you think you should do to make sure he gets his ass in class? I knew a kid in high school whose parents FOLLOWED him to every class and sat next to him to make sure he didn't act up as well. Talk about embarassing! I'm not saying that's what you should do but it definately worked. I know you love your son and are only trying to help, but sometimes letting them really mess up on their own is the only way...ie let him skip his classes and fail out. He will realize once his friends leave him behind in high school that skipping class for the temporary fun is not worth repeating grades over and over. Or, not that I know your discipline style or anything, you could really come down on him hard. Not sure what exactly you would do but I have a few suggestions...
When I would mess up bad my parents always asked me, "I can't wait for you to have a kid just like you, or what would you do if you were in our shoes?" I never really thought about it but your scenerio kind of sounds like mine and I still don't know what I would be doing. OK, he is skipping class, smoking weed and taking adderall. Where is the money coming from? I doubt he has a job. STOP GIVING HIM MONEY. Even if he says hes going to the movies with some friends, thats a lie, he needs money to buy weed and will go over to friends house and get stoned. Do not give him any money AT ALL until he can provide proof from his teacher's that he is attending all his classes. Maybe this will better reinforce the reward system in his brain, ie I go to class and pass my classes, I can buy weed and celebrate. Or, make his ass get a job. After school jobs take up time so that he won't have extra time to be getting high all the time or getting in trouble. However, if he is failing his classes already getting a job might not be the best idea.
I was reading the post from kaeldone and had to laugh,because i was one of those mom's that went to school with there son, I sat next to him in class.
His grades went from f's to a's in one quarter,looking back it was allot of fun,i became part of the class,my sons friends loved me being there.The teachers thanked me everyday for being there.LOL.
I'm very sorry to hear your having a hard time with your son.I know how trying it can be.Try to keep him busy with school sports. when my son played football, he diddent have as much time to get in trouble.
do you think he needs a tutor in some of his classes. could be he's having a hard time.and you can't get allot of help in the classroom.the teachers just don't have the time.
Good luck to you and your son,Melinda
Thanks for the reply Kaeldone & Melinda. Well he's had a job for a year now. That's one of the things he's doing really well. He works in a tropical fish store. One of his passions is saltwater and freshwater aquariums. He hung around in that fish store for the past 4 years and when he turned 15 they hired him. He now works Friday night, Sat. & Sun. days and 3 hours on Monday night. He's been working those hours for about 6 months now. He started with just 4 hours on Saturdays and worked up. I realize he's funding his weed habit with his paycheck but I still think his job is a very positive force in his life. He's extremely responsible to it. As far as doing well in school, I see it as a choice he's making. He is very bright, creative and intelligent and all the teachers say they know he could pass easily if he'd just show up. Funny, I've thought about taking him to school and attending class with him. He'd probably think I was more nuts that he already thinks I am! The truth is he probably wouldn't even go if I did that. He's very much against anyone telling him to do anything and cannot seem to handle much of any kind of authority. Basically it seems as though he has no respect. Kaeldone do you think when you were doing similar things were you feeling disrespectful to your parents or teachers, security guards at school, etc? He is a pretty typical teenager as in he thinks he's grown and knows everything but has quite a big ego about it and is really disrespectful especially to me. I suddenly became his target when I in fact haven't really changed, he has. We used to have such a loving mother son relationship and I wonder where did my sweet boy go? He's a little bit better with his Dad but not a lot. I found 2 more adderalls in his laundry again this morning and took them away. He hasn't said anything but I'm not sure he's noticed yet. OMG what should I do. Kaeldone: When you say "support them and help them when they need it" (your first post) what exactly do you mean? Or if we decide to let him mess up on his own and fail out will do you think he'll resent us later or wish we would have intervened more? It's so tough being the parent...
It sounds like I have much in common with your son from what I understand. Very bright, intelligent, almost...too smart for your own damn good. Honestly. From my perspective, people with this much intelligence and personality have the mindset that they are "better than the system". I am just learning how to bring my head out of the clouds and still use my smarts to achieve my goals.
People like us believe that we don't have to follow the rules because we "know" that in the end we can make things work. And truthfully, we very much can do so when the time comes. However, this kind of "arrogance" can debilitate us and if we don't pull our heads out of our asses, never use our motivation to get anywhere, instead, sit at home after high school smoking pot all day long still believing that we are better than everyone else. Which is exactly what happened to one of my good friends after high school. There's nothing worse than an arrogant prick that has nothing to show for.
I very much had a problem with authority and still do to some extent. I honestly believe it has to do with this kind of personality and level of intelligence that makes us think that rules DO NOT apply to us because we have a higher purpose. You sound very much like my mom does "where did my sweet boy go?" I used to lash out at my mother too. In some respect I honestly don't know why I did it...but I can tell you why you get treated like that...You give your son TOO MUCH. My father would get pissed at my mother because she treated me like a king and still does, though now I have more respect for her. When you give your son so much he will subconsciously begin to believe that you are there to wait on him hand and foot and when something happens in his life that he cant control or makes him mad, guess what, that anger will be directed to you whether it's warranted or not. One thing I would recommend is to not show him so much kindness and "motherly love" as hard as it might be for you. Don't always ask him if something is wrong or offer him things (take things for what its worth). You are training his brain to think that there should always be someone there for him as great as you are. Let him come to you with his problems when he sees that he can't open up to others, it will make him channel his feelings better and allow him to open up to people more. (VERY BENEFICIAL). As much as you love your son, keep a good distance from him. I know his actions can really hurt you. That's what I meant by support him and help him when he needs it. Just keep your distance even if that makes him seem like a criminal or dangerous. It's for your own good too.
Also, more than likely he will ******************** up with the law...as i did. Once this happens it could be a slippery slope downhill for him, or he can open his eyes and rebound. The first time he messes up or gets jailed, be there and bail him out. Don't tell him how dissapointed you are or anything of the sort, you should be crushed enough emotionally that ignoring him shouldn't be hard. If it happens a second time, it's up to you. I know being in highschool you can't miss much more days as he has and still expect him to pass. However, that may be for the best. Or not, I don't think colleges want a student who failed a grade in highschool because he had to sit in jail. I know it's complicated, and no one has all the answers for you, but I'm sure you are a great parent even if you don't think so.
If your son likes aquariums and fish so much, suggest looking into marine sciences. Your son knows his interests but might not know how to go after them. I took a marine biology course this summer in Belize and absolutely loved it! Maybe do some research on the internet pertaining to fields of work relating to his interests and ask him if he's ever thought about...insert field here. This might get him to start thinking about his future more.
Last edited by kaeldone231; 10-18-2008 at 10:05 PM.
Last edited by Robert_325; 10-18-2008 at 10:30 PM.
Wow thanks for your point of view Robert. I was a kid in high school in the 70's and I did my share of drugs as well. I wasn't into the speed so much but I was a daily pothead and did a plethera of other drugs over the years. I got clean in 1995, 13 1/2 years ago. I wish I hadn't waited that long to get clean but it took what it took.
Originally Posted by Robert_325
I think I feel a bit differently about my kids. I refer to this as "our" house not "my" house. And all 4 of our names are on the mailbox. This doesn't mean the kids get to call the shots but the reality in our family is that this child is more lost than our other child. He needs some kind of different help than we are providing him with. I just don't know what it is. Home schooling him isn't possible. And I wouldn't tie anybody in a closet. How do you really physically stop a kid from taking drugs? You can't be with them 24 hrs a day. Are you saying that's what you would do? Quit your job and be with them to ensure they don't ever take any drugs? How the heck is that possible? Believe me I wish he would stop. I wish my saying so was enough. I don't believe he's "intimidating" me as you say, I think he is just strutting his own stuff and he's a strong minded individual just like I was. My fear is really that if we put the strong arm on him and start dictating what he does and doesn't do that he will run away. I have heard of kids running away and never coming back, living on the streets, lost. I am afraid of that. I have to figure out what to do that fits me, that fits him. Anyone that can tell me either how they were successful at it or would do it please reply. Thanks for your post Robert I do appreciate the feedback even though I don't agree with all of it.
I intended the example about being tied up as a metaphor. I wouldn't put anyone in a closet either. I need to be more careful about how I word things sometimes. I thought it was obvious that I didn't mean that literally. It's not my place to tell anyone what to do. I just hate to see a kid go through what so many of us have to go through. And my home is always my children's home too regardless of who has their name on the mailbox. But I do have the final say about how things go down here and always have.
I don't think it's necessary to have to quit your job to get this done. I don't know your particular situation as far what you are capable of doing. I am just a freak when it comes to education. It's one of the most important things we can do for our kids. I think sometimes we can get love confused with being too much of a pushover for our kids. That is just me. No one is easier to blow smoke at than our parents. Parents fall for so much and they do it out of love. That is a sad truth.
I won't live my life being afraid that my children would run away. When they see how much we are really doing to help them it doesn't happen very often. I know it happens, but it's nothing like the horror stories we read about. I know it's a possibility but what are the possibilities with other options? What can happen if children are allowed to do as they choose?
I still think that using his job as leverage is a good tool. I had to use sports in high school the same way and it worked. I also received a threat to run away once too. I went and got out a suitcase myself. Won't go into the rest but he didn't really want to leave, just wanted to see if he could threaten me and get away with it.
I know this is tough and I wish you the best of luck. Unless someone is there in your home it's pretty much impossible to give you a plan without holes in it. God bless.
OMGosh Kaeldone your first 3 paragraphs or more are the spitting image of my 16 yr old son. It is comforting to know there is someone out there that not only was but still is in some ways just like him. It is also comforting and so refreshing to hear you speak of your understanding of it now that you are further along. What great insight you have of yourself. You must have really done some growing up.
Originally Posted by kaeldone231
The part about giving my son TOO MUCH: You are most likely correct. When you put it the way you do I am able to admit a little more what my mistakes have been. It's so hard not to mother my sons. I am a warm blanket on a cold cold night. I will give your suggestion a try in regard to not being so "kind" or so "great" and see how he reacts. I can so see myself in your paragraphs as well.
Do you have anything to say about discipline? How to handle it? So far the things we've tried have not made much of a difference. We've tried restrictions, taken away things like his cell phone, his computer. The one thing I don't think I have in me is to take away his job. I see that as a positive thing. I've seen him work and he is so confident, so adult like and so extremely good at what he does. The owner of the fish store says he's never met someone his age that knows so much about all the animals of the sea. He educated himself reading books and on the internet. He has already talked about being an oceanographer or a marine biologist but his plan for going to college right after high school is a bit askew right now to say the least. He realizes this of course but doesn't want to talk about it. He says he will work it out and will still be what he wants to be. It's so frustrating! I know I need to detach that's the word right? Do I detach and not discipline? I'm so confused on what to do. Again I so much appreciate your writing. It is really helping me. Thanks much. HopeAddict
There's not much more I can tell you that you don't already know. It really is up to you from here.
So you've talked about his future, and he has a vague idea at best. That's fine, no one in highschool (that I know of) has all of their hopes and dreams written out and are ready to tackle them. From my personal experience, discipline never did anything. I would continue to get in trouble. If your son is how I am picturing him, material possessions aren't worth more than spit. Now that I think about it, I don't believe any punishment my parents gave me worked...ever. What made me change was getting in trouble...over and over and over again with the law. Even the first time going to jail wasn't enough, or the second, or the fourth. I know, how did I turn out ok?! It's all a matter of wanting to change within, and that is something your son will have to do for himself. So you can keep disciplining him if that makes you feel like you are doing something right, or you can let him make his own decisions (keep a distance) and learn from them when he really messes up. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is have faith that you've done good on him up to this point, and that he'll make the right decisions from here on, even if there are some bumps then and again.
That sounds good, I look forward to hearing from you.
I come from a family of 6 kids; 5 boys and a girl. I'm second from the top, and I think I can relate fairly well to your son. Throughout high school I was completely baked. I started smoking before high school started, but by the time it was over I was smoking before and after school as if it was cigarettes. I graduated with a B average, SAT's in the high 1400's (before the system in place now) and a luandry list of complaints about my unwillingness to perform to my ability. The one thing that made it all worse, that made me want to continue behaving the way I was? The constant need to do things the way I wanted to. Theres other factors, but the more I think about it, it was that constant drive to say "I'm special, my way will work".
I have extremely loving and supportive parents, but they would kick my ass in a second if I was messing up hard core. They never have laid a finger on me, but I've been grounded (no leaving the house except for school, to which they would drive me and check in with my principal) for literally 3 whole months at a time, earning shorter time grounded by doing chores or school related learning/projects. But anyway...
High school ended and I went to a decent university. It had a reputation for having all stoners, but a great science program (go figure) so I took a great liking to it. I ended up a member of a pretty large trafficking set up and found myself in jail on federal charges pretty quick. I had good grades and my professors loved me, but I still found myself handcuffed in an airport terminal with hundreds of people looking on.
After that I went through a court ordered rehab program .. for pot. I was mocked and laughed at, but learned a good deal about dealing with serious addiction, should the need ever arise (and boy has it). But the really important thing about all this, and the reason I'm telling you... is that in the end I've stuck to doing it my way.
Now I'm an engineering major filling out applications to med/law schools while studying for MCATs and LSATs with hopes of going into one of those schools. I've been in college (technically) for almost 7 years. Seriously.
My only real advice to you is to ask him what his real goals are, not just the canned responses he has for you. Really level with the kid and say that you're not talking to him to bull******************** back and forth, you really want to know about him. What his plans are, where he sees himself. If he says "still in high school in 10 years" seriously, then you may want to take a seriously different course of action. If he has real answers that make you realize he's got real plans, then maybe he's like me, and just wants to do it his way.
Of all the kids in my family, I'm the only one who hasn't fit the typical education pattern. But I've always wanted a college degree, a high school diploma and the ability to call myself responsible with a straight face. Looking back I wish I had been a straight A student... I can't convey how many opportunities are lost to me because of some pretty bad grades in the past. If only I could go back and get the A's I know I could get. But still, I've done it my way, which was always most important to me. So far I think I'm doin alright.
Just my 2.
Last edited by longroad9785; 10-22-2008 at 06:44 PM.
Hi Longroad, thanks very much for your insight. Yes, you sound a lot like my son. The big difference i can see is that you made it through high school even if it wasn't getting the best grades you wanted. My son isn't attending school much at all. He has 6 classes and the ones he goes to are sign language,AP human geography and occasionally he goes to Team Sports. And he's getting C's in these. His Biology, math and L.A. he's getting E's (these are fails) He is in 10th grade. Last year he got only 1.5 credits out of 6 possible for the entire school year. It shows he is capable for sure when you see him passing an AP class. Your suggestion of talking with him straight up and honest about wanting to know what his goals are is a good one. We've asked before but there's always been emotion of some kind going on at the time. I will find the right time to see if he will share with me. There's been times when he's said he want to go to college and be an oceanographer or a marine biologist, something to do with the sea but when asked how will you accomplish that he says he doesn't want to talk about it or not to worry about it he'll figure it out. Anyway thanks again for your caring post. I am appreciate of all the support. Take care.