Take a Peek at a Chat Session with a Helpline Specialist

Our Helpline Chat Specialists (like Mary Ann) work with parents like you to answer personalized questions about their child’s drug use via chat, regardless of the severity of the problem. Take a look at a chat below to get a better idea of what the back-and-forth looks like:

partnership mobile helpline chat SMS

Parent: Hi – my son started smoking pot recently and I don’t know what to do?

Specialist: Hi, this is Mary Ann and I’ll be happy to assist you. Let’s see if we can sort out what’s going on and how we can help your son. First, would you please tell me a bit more about your son and your concerns? It would be helpful to know his age, any recent changes in the family or his behavior, how he is doing with friends, in school and any involvement in sports or work. Also has your son had any past substance misuse history, legal problems or any mental health or learning issues? It may take you a few minutes to answer these questions, so take your time and I will be here for you. The more background you can provide, the better overall picture I will have and then we can prioritize next steps.

Parent: Well, let’s see… He’s 17 years old and just got his drivers license. We just moved a year ago and he has a few friends but they don’t come over to our house. He’s doing okay in school but his grades have dropped somewhat from last year. He was playing football – and really loved it – but didn’t make the team at his new school so he hasn’t been involved in anything after school. He says he’s looking for a part-time job. He has had no problems with drugs or alcohol in the past and no legal problems. He seems moodier than usual but I don’t know — that might be normal for a teenager.

Specialist: Okay, thanks for taking the time to share this with me. I’m sure you are concerned about this change in his habits and also that he is a new driver. It sounds like he has had a hard time adjusting to moving to a new town and starting a new school. On top of that, he is not participating in football, which was an important part of his life in the past. So, I might suggest that you start with helping him consider joining an activity or hobby that interests him. Participating in school/community sponsored activities may help him broaden his base of friends. Next, it would be important to find out if he is struggling with the transition to a new school, since there may be different expectations academically that are creating stress. It might be that a tutor or guidance counselor could be identified to help him feel more confident in school. All of these are reasons why he might have turned to pot.

Parent: OK, that makes a lot of sense. I never even thought about why he might be doing it, I was just so angry. I’m just not sure how to confront him about the pot smoking and how to punish him. Do I take the car away? I just don’t want him to flip out on me since he’s been more irritable lately.

Specialist: So you have a good start for helping him improve his level of satisfaction in school and meaningful activities. Regarding the substance use, I would like to send you an excellent resource (the Marijuana Talk Kit) from our website to help you have a conversation with your son. In it, you will find suggestions for how to approach your son and provide him with important facts about the impact of marijuana on the teen brain. You can let him know that you don’t want him driving under the influence of marijuana and can provide information for how marijuana affects a person’s ability to function when driving. You can establish consequences if he does not comply with your request.

Parent: That sounds good. I do think maybe we are all more stressed out in our family getting adjusted to our new community – it’s been a bit more isolating than normal.

Specialist: One last suggestion might be to host a gathering for your new neighbors and school friends to establish more connection with people in your new community. That can benefit the whole family – including you – and an important part of helping your son is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Is there anything else I can help you with today? If not, I will send you the information promised when we finish this chat.

Parent: Thank you so much. I think I have a better idea of how to handle this. I never even thought about how making connections for me would help him, too.

Specialist: You are welcome! I know this is not easy but you are taking the next right step getting some help today and reading through the materials I am sending you. If you need additional support, you are welcome to come back on this chat helpline until 10 pm ET this evening and you can also call and speak with a Parent Specialist on our telephone helpline between 9-5 pm ET tomorrow at 1-855-DRUGFREE. It was my pleasure to help you today.

Live Chat, like all of our Helpline services, is confidential – no direct quotes from parents who have engaged in support are used in the text above.

Connect via Live Chat

Have a personal question, suspicion or concern about your child’s substance use? Chat with a specialist Monday-Friday, 5 pm – 10 pm ET and Saturday & Sunday, 12 pm – 5 pm ET.