Young Teen Vaping and Lying


My 14yr old son was recently caught vaping at school. As this is akin to our generation experimenting with cigarettes, I get it to a certain extent -  meaning I get exploring even the bad stuff as a teenager. I'm concerned for his health, definitely, but what most concerns me is how he obtained it - via an adult he and others contacted through Instagram. He then lied about it repeatedly before admitting the truth (or so we thought). After what seemed like genuine tears and regret, and after taking away his phone, no more than 30 minutes later he was on another device (pretending to do homework) conspiring with a friend to cover up further details and saying 'definitely will stop smoking for a while' and 'definitely not at school'. It's as if he has no respect or regret - even laughing at us to his friend. It seems this has been going on for a lot longer than he is letting on. My question is: how do I parent through this? He's grounded from seeing friends for the foreseeable future, no allowance/money and no phone. But again, my deeper concern is the lying and disrespect as this could lead to him making more bad decisions in the future. How/what do I do to build back trust between us? How do I get him to see the serious consequences? Any books or articles that can help with how to frame this to him? I feel like a terrible parent - I thought we had a great relationship and that he was a good kid who could talk to me and make good decisions. I'm worried about high school next year and I'm worried I'll say something alienating. Any help appreciated. Thanks,

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

RE: Young Teen Vaping and Lying ()

Thank you for asking this!  My grandsons (son's children) were deep into all of this in high school. Now, both are clear-eyed/clear-headed university students. BUT the granddaughter is like your son, and she is 25 years old, with a 3.5 yr old child who is diagnosed with autism & speaks only "gibberish". Tragically, even though cautioned to not vape while pregnant, secretly she did, daily. The addiction is strong.  Scientific literature is starting to report on the damage the fetus suffers when mom vapes/consumes cannabis...and speaking only gibberish is a symptom they're looking at. For now, at least, she's stopped & attends a 12 step program.  But the damage is done to her son.  Three kids. Different outcomes.

RE: Young Teen Vaping and Lying ()

I had a similar thing happen with my daughter.  First, I'll say that I have a good relationship with my child and I think she is pretty truthful with me most of the time. Her friends are good kids too and they're not into any serious trouble.  My worry with vaping is that you can't smell it like you can smell the smoke of cigarettes or pot. One of my daughter's close friends got caught with vaping paraphernalia and the parents of the kid who got caught held a meeting with my daughter and me and another close friend of both and his mom.  All of our kids confessed to having "tried" vaping and we parents told them why we hoped they wouldn't do it again. I brought up the idea of testing and the other parents weren't too keen on it but shortly after, I also caught my daughter sitting at the park with a girl who was vaping. My daugher cried and confessed that she was finding it very tempting so I decided to have her pee in a cup at random intervals. I told my daughter that I knew she was a good person and that she was trying to avoid temptation but that knowing she would be tested would probably help her to refuse and it would give her something to tell her friends.  I ordered the Teen Check test, which tests for marijuana, alcohol and nicotine.  We have used it about once a week, sometimes twice for several months now.  It's an expense but I think it helps her stay honest and we don't have all the back and forth about it.