A FAMILY TORN pg.2

 

Bobby and his younger brother Michael stayed with their mother. Weekly visits with their dad were arranged, but as time went on and other demands took over, the visits became more irregular. The children's friends began changing.

 

"You could start to see Bobby spending time with friends and not so much time at home," remembers his father, Maj. David Benson, head of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Division of the Honolulu Police Department. "You start to see him moving from this one group to the other. They'd leave the house and not come home."

 

Even though the Bensons both work with troubled children in their careers, they were stunned when they discovered their 13-year old son was using marijuana.

 

"I knew how to arrest people, how to seize drugs," said Maj. Benson. "But I didn't know what to do with a kid in my own family."

Neither parent had attributed the changes they were seeing—staying away from home with new friends, sullen behavior, and withdrawal from old routines—to drug use.

 

"A lot of it is misconstrued as adolescence, spreading their wings," said Maj. Benson. "But if I had known what I know now about drugs, I would have known he was dabbling in marijuana."

 

On the heels of Bobby's drug use came another shock: the boy had stolen from a neighbor. Bobby's parents decided to make it a police matter. In retrospect, they think they made a mistake.

 

"I thought the consequence would make him stop, but it didn't work out that way," said his mother. "The desire to have the drug must have been more powerful than the fear."

 

Now Bobby had a police record.

 

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