Q. Recently my 16-year-old, Dylan, told me his best friend, John, has started smoking pot. I talked to Dylan (again) about not letting anyone pressure him into doing drugs. I want to trust him, but how can I be sure he's safe?
A. Give your son credit for coming to you, and don't tell him he can't hang out with John. The reality is, you can't control his movements like you did when he was 5, and he's not going to drop a boy he's so close to.
Here's what you don't want: You forbid him to see John and then he's in a car accident with this kid and is afraid to call you because he defied you. So instead, say to Dylan, "Thanks for telling me. I don't want you to abandon John, but you have to have strong boundaries with him. You can't get into a car with him when he's driving high, or when he's carrying drugs—even if you're the one behind the wheel. And if you're out and he starts associating with anyone sketchy, call me and I'll come get you."
Originally published in the July 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.