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My son’s father is a negative influence on him

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Dear Life Coach,

I have a 19-year-old son whom I raised singlehandedly. His father and I separated when he was an infant and gave me no support. From early childhood, my son has asked constantly about his father and wanted to spend time with him, but I had always used the excuse that I did not know where he was, which was true. The bigger truth, however, was that his father is a scoundrel and I wanted to keep as far away from him as possible.{{more}}

A few years ago, I heard that his father was in prison; then two years later, I heard that he was out again. Last year, my son informed me that someone told him where his father was and that he went to see him. Since then, he has been visiting his father regularly and, as a result I have seen a vast behavioural change in a negative direction. Firstly, he was going to college and doing well; now has grades are falling off. Secondly, he has been staying out late – something he never did in the past. Thirdly, he has been spending weekends with his father – something I do not approve of, and I realized that he has been smoking marijuana and drinking rum. A few weeks ago, I spoke to him about his behaviour and he packed up and left and went to be with his father. The next thing I know, people were telling me that they have seen him on the road and something is not right with him. I went to find him and demanded that he come home, but since then he has been sick, although I have taken him to the doctor. Someone told me that he had been smoking ‘weed’ and drinking rum round the clock for a whole week.

Furious Mom (FM)

Dear FM,

You are angry that after raising your son so well, his father has basically destroyed all that you have done in your son’s life by introducing him to a life of drug use.

What’s Going On:

Here are some factors that contribute to your present situation: substance abuse, marijuana intoxication, alcohol intoxication, and negative influence by father. These I will address briefly.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the inappropriate and unhealthy use of substances that are both legal (e.g. rum) and illegal (e.g. marijuana).

Marijuana Intoxication

Marijuana intoxication refers to feelings of euphoria (happiness) and relaxation that individuals usually experience when they use marijuana, as well as the negative side effects, including poor short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired perception and motor skills, red eyes, panic, paranoia, or acute psychosis. Marijuana is often cut with more dangerous drugs that have even more serious side effects than marijuana, such as sudden high blood pressure with headache, chest pain and heart rhythm disturbances, extreme hyperactivity and physical violence, heart attack, seizures, stroke, and cardiac arrest.

Alcohol Intoxication

Alcohol intoxication refers to a physiological state caused by drinking alcohol, such as rum. Some effects of alcohol intoxication are euphoria and lowered social inhibitions, slurred speech, impaired balance, loss of muscle coordination, flushed face, dehydration, vomiting, reddened eyes, erratic behaviour, and in extreme cases depressed respiration, coma and death.

What to Do

Get a Second Opinion

Take your son for another medical examination by a doctor who has training in substance abuse, mental health or psychiatry.

Seek Legal Advice

It is illegal to use and distribute marijuana. Therefore, report the father’s illegal activities to the police in your area. Also seek legal advice and have a protective order against his father, so that he is not able to influence your son in any illegal activity any further.

Drug Counselling

Take your son to a counsellor who specializes in drug counselling so that he can be properly educated about the dangers of drugs and explore ways of remaining abstinent.

Extinguish the Father-Son Relationship

While it is important that both parents have a relationship with their children, there are times when the line must be drawn, especially with a parent that endangers the life and well-being of a child or adolescent. It seems necessary that the relationship between your son and his father must be extinguished for the benefit and safety of your son. Please help your son to understand this.

School and Extra Curricular Activities

Help your son to get back on track with his studies and to be involved in three extracurricular activities each week.

A Positive Male Figure

In an ideal world, every son benefits from his father. However, this world is not perfect and in some situations fathers create a negative impact in the lives of their sons. Since this is your case, it may be important to find another adult male role model (e.g. an uncle) that can relate to your son and help socialize him to become a positive male who contributes productively to society.

FM, the lure of drug use is constantly around us and we have to continue to fight the battle of protecting our children from its clutches. It is my prayer that your son will feel better soon and will make the choice for abstinence.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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