Ann Widdecombe's advice to parents who found spliffs in their son's bedroom

From The Guardian April 2004
Where there's smoke

I have just been cleaning my 14-year-old son's room,and found a couple of spliffs hidden in his drawer. He recently asked if he could put a lock on his door and his father and I acquiesced, albeit reluctantly, because we believe that young adults deserve their own privacy. Now I am regretting the decision and want to take the lock off the door, but his father says that we can not renege on our agreement, and that a couple of spliffs is not the end of the world. He reminds me that we both smoked plenty of the stuff in our day, and that is true - but we were older and living in a different time. What should I do?
Name and address withheld
Ann's Advice:
Remove the lock at once and tell your son that it was to ensure privacy not criminality. Then tell your husband to wake up and live in the world as it is today and not when he was a hippy. Cannabis is more powerful and more contaminated these days and 14-year-olds who use it are endangering their health, as plenty of medical studies show. Try and find out where your son got his spliffs and tell the head if it was a schoolfriend or the police if it was an adult.
Young adults deserve privacy, as you say, but young idiots do not and any father who ignores such activity is a blinking idiot himself.


  1. Great advice. Fortunately, I never had to deal with my kids doing drugs. One smoked cigarettes as a teen for about six months, then gave it up. He wanted to appear older than his fourteen years because he was at college already, but when he realized that people knew, anyway, he stopped. Thank God! We made him smoke only outside, anyway -- that gets old. Our kids never asked for that kind of privacy, but then we had many kids, and they slept two to a room -- maybe there was an advantage we never considered in that! :)

  2. Elizabethy, You could be an agony aunt for people with big families, or you could advice people on family matters because of your own experience in raising children.

    As a teenager, I knew that cannibis was one thing that I would always avoid because I knew someone with chronic addiction to 'pot'/'grass' when I was growing up.

  3. I've seen so many cases where young men with casual pot habits 'mysteriously' develop szchizophrenia, and it's heartbreaking.

  4. Superb advice Miss Widdecombe! You are quite right about the health risks. Thank goodness at least someone in the public eye has the common sense and courage to speak out about such issues.

  5. As Maria mentioned, the first thing we are taught in a psychology class while talking about the effects of pot is that it is linked to schizophrenia.When my friend smokes with her friend, she says she starts getting afraid thinking he is gonna kill her. The guy is a normal guy, not a killer or anything, they are friends the rest of the time, but only when she smokes she starts getting really scared! and the sad thing is, when I mentioned in an exam to be accepted as a mentor FOR KIDS, where you're supposed to be a role model, that I have no idea what marijuana smells like (because I was raised in a conservative country, where nobody smokes pot in public), or comes in contact with others shortly after, the other mentors, and even the PEOPLE ASKING THE QUESTIONS, laughed at me, as if it is WRONG not to have experience with marijuana!


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