How to Talk to Your Child About Marijuana
Talking to your children about marijuana can be tricky. For most of us, marijuana use was a taboo subject when we were children, as pot was an illicit drug and had many negative stigmas attached to it. So much has changed both legally and socially in regards to marijuana use. However, that creates a bit of a conundrum for parents. How do you talk to your children about marijuana and it’s use? Well, here are some tips:
- Be honest with your kids and listen – lying to your children will backfire. Be honest with your kids about your experiences both then and now with cannabis. Tell them about the mistakes and the dangers of the drug. If your children are older, ask them what they know about marijuana. Encourage them to tell you if they have used it before. If they have, remind them of the consequences of pot use both legally (minor in possession), at school (suspension/expulsion, extracurricular activities), as well as interference with their cognitive development (concentration/memory).
- Talk about appropriate use vs. inappropriate use – there are many things in society that are appropriate for adults to use but not for adults (gambling, alcohol, etc). Also, mention the difference between medical and recreational use. Mention how it has worked wonders for children with seizure disorders, but that those children have a specific medical reason for its use. Talk about other reasons someone might use marijuana for its medical or therapeutic benefit. When it comes to recreational use, talk to them about its moderate use and abuse. Mention that recreational use is still illegal in most public places. MOST IMPORTANTLY: mention that people impaired by marijuana should NEVER get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- Remind them that selling and growing cannabis illegally or driving while impaired can have serious ramifications – engaging in these activities can seriously jeopardize their future. A drug conviction might affect their ability to attend/pay for college and, if serious enough, their entire lives.
- If you have cannabis or cannabis products in the house, develop a plan – if your children could find your cannabis, let them know not to touch or consume anything they find. If you do not want to share this information with your children, make sure that all cannabis products are locked and inaccessible to them.
- Give teens a get out of jail free card – reiterate that you DO NOT want your teen using cannabis at all. However, if they end up in a situation where they are greening out, feel unsafe, or need a ride you want them to be able to contact you. If anything, the embarrassment and disappointed they will feel having to call you in the middle of the night will reinforce what you have told them about cannabis.
- Using cannabis and forbidding your child from using it doesn’t make you a hypocrite – it doesn’t matter what you did or still do, It’s still best for your teen to not use cannabis for many, many reasons. While the gateway myth is stupid, teen pot users are still more likely to try harder drugs than those who wait. Lastly, don’t be stupid. If you model stupid and careless behavior regarding cannabis it will negate any of the sage advice you have given them.
Well, that’s it, Dreamers. We hope this article can facilitate honest discussions with your children about cannabis. Below are some more links you might find helpful in broaching this topic with your children: