Dear Dr. Archer,
My husband is a successful businessman, and when I met him, he had small children. He smoked pot in his room, but otherwise lived a normal life.
Now, years later, his daughter died, and as soon as that happened, he let his then 15 year old son start smoking pot. We have been fighting over this for two years. Now my stepson is 17. He has dropped out of school, does nothing but play video games and babysit for his two nephews. Usually when he babysits he's stoned. My husband rarely smokes now, but insists that his son has a right to do this.
I have been biting the bullet, thinking this kid would be moving out of the house soon, but I have come to the realization that he has no chance of success and will probably be staying here for the next four years, as he has no education or motivation to do anything. He just got arrested for stealing beer out of a supermarket. Still, his father thinks his son needs this to calm down. How much calmer could one be?
I totally don't understand this and the only reason I'm not gone is that I don't have the financial ability to move at this time. I'm also a Christian, and do not think I am suppose to leave unless my husband is cheating on me. This has caused such a psychological hardship on me, that I am at a loss what to do.
What can I do to fix this situation? I do not allow marijuana in the house or in front of me. I throw out anything I find. My husband allows him to go into the garage or in the back yard to smoke. I thought I should call the police on him when he goes to smoke. What would you suggest?
You definitely have an uphill battle here, because you don't have the support of your husband. The first thing you should do is talk to your husband. Stress that smoking marijuana is an illegal activity; his son is not yet an adult, so he's contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
And his son is a high school dropout with no promise for the future. Is this the future he wants for his son? He is, knowingly, helping his son become a failure.
Remind him that he already has one arrest under his belt. In addition, even though he doesn't work now, hopefully he will in the future. Be sure he knows that many employers now perform drug testing on applicants and a criminal background check is the norm. Another bust for pot could be devastating for his life.
Your words may fall on deaf ears, Kate, because your husband sees no harm in marijuana. But honestly, this is not about weed, this is about the laws of our society (and hey, I think marijuana should be legalized- but NOT for minors) and the development of a teenager.
Unfortunately, that's about all you can do, maybe it will open your husband’s eyes and he will ‘get it’. At 17, his son should know right from wrong; but his dad did not give him the guidance he needed when his sister died. How sad.
For your sanity, keep your home a zero-tolerance, drug-free zone, and be sure to enforce it. I would normally say it was time for tough love, but I don't think your husband will back you up on that.
This sounds like a very stressful situation for you, Kate. If you decide to leave -- and I say that because this is no way to live -- you will survive. It's amazing what we can accomplish when our back is against the wall. Or perhaps you have family or friends who can put you up for a while. It's better than living with the stress you are experiencing.