teen vaping
Share
Ages:
all

Stories

My Son is 11 and He’s Vaping — And Your Kid Might Be, Too

May 14, 2019

I recently found out my 11-year-old is vaping.

I didn’t walk in on him taking a deep haul or anything — a mom from my “Mom Squad” tipped me off.

How The Mom Squad Works

I’m friends with the moms of my kids’ friends. We communicate in person, on the phone or via text, always asking questions and conferring without judgment.

Our goal is to keep our kids safe and out of trouble.

So, when the text came in from another mom, saying she thinks the boys are up to no good, I stopped and paid attention to every word.


You'll Also Love: 5 Ways to Build Resilience in an Anxious World


The Age of Discovery

Before the mom texted, I already kind of felt like something was coming.

My son who normally parks himself in his room every day after school and plays Fortnite all of a sudden started telling me he’s going to the park with his friends to hang out. Red flag.

And it didn’t take long before I learned what up to no good actually meant: vaping, with nicotine.

I know playing or hanging out with friends in the park should not be a red flag, but it was.

And it didn’t take long before I learned what "up to no good" actually meant: vaping, with nicotine. At this age, the world is full of discovery. Everything is new, exciting and possible.

Caught in the Act

My friend said she found a vape and e-juice hidden in her son’s room. She also scanned through his texts and found some talk about buying a vape and using a credit gift card to get it online.

You may be asking yourself: why did she go searching his room and phone? Doesn’t she trust her kid?

As a parent, she had a hunch. Her son had been acting out lately, yelling at her and being overly irritable. All of which was not the norm.

When she found the vape stash, she started to ask him questions and gave him the opportunity to come clean. He told her mostly everything, but she still had to piece a lot of it together herself. Apparently, 11-year-olds are lousy at recalling events in order.

My son who normally parks himself in his room every day after school and plays Fortnite all of a sudden started telling me he’s going to the park with his friends to hang out.

Once she had a pretty clear picture, she texted me and told me that my son was involved. When I confronted my son, he told me he tried vaping because of peer pressure and claims he had never bought any vape.

I encouraged him to tell the truth and be honest with me. I left the conversation with this: “so, if I searched your room now, I wouldn’t find anything vape-related, right?”

His response: “No you won’t, mom!”

I am not that naive. After all, I have a 15-year-old that tests me every week.

I went back into his room, looked in his old backpack and found a stash of vape stuff: two vapes and two e-juice containers. When I showed them to him, the tears came on full force. His, not mine.


Relevant Reading: The Truth About Juul e-cigarettes


How I Reacted

I told him that I am less upset about the vaping and more upset that he lied to me. He felt ashamed. (Good, that’s how I wanted him to feel.) He understood that what he did was wrong — the vaping and the lying.

After the tears slowed down, I wanted details. How did he buy this? Did HE purchase it? Who else is involved? Because I know damn well somehow, some way, his brother had something to do with this (again, just a hunch).

How My Pre-Teen Bought a Vape

The truth came out, sort of, but he didn’t want to snitch on his friends or his brother. But I had intel from my Mom Squad.

Turns out he was quite crafty about it all. He had $50 given to him from his grandmother, which he took to the grocery store to purchase a Visa gift card.

Then he went online (he said eBay), purchased the vape and e-juice, and the package was sent to our super mailbox (not to the door where an adult would presumably have to sign for it). Easy peasy. This workflow was confirmed, courtesy of my 15-year-old. (Told ya!)

Turns out he was quite crafty about it all. 

So, it’s the wild west out there. I don’t even know what to be concerned about first: the fact that he can easily purchase a Visa gift card at 11 or that he can go online and purchase vape products without parental approval.


You'll Also Love: Embracing Failure In Front of My Kid


Consequences

The Mom Squad decided together that we would confront our kids, tell them that their friends had all been busted and we’d discuss the dangers of vaping. We all agreed that there needed to be consequences and that each family could determine those on their own. When it was all said and done, we were all very thankful for the mom who had a suspicion, found out info and shared it with us as soon as possible without pointing fingers, without judgment.

The boys will still be friends, but with some extra eyes and attention on what they are doing.

And this is a conversation that will evolve every year, as he discovers more and more. I know something like this will happen again.

That week was tough, I went through all of the emotions: mad, angry, sad and disappointed. But now I am glad that he had this experience of making a wrong choice. It allowed us to have that conversation about right and wrong, peer pressure and growing up.

And this is a conversation that will evolve every year, as he discovers more and more. I know something like this will happen again.

It stresses me out, but I feel relieved that there is a super Mom Squad working secretly and when necessary in the background. Just a group of moms who are there to help out in a crisis.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.