Talk to your kids about marijuana.
There’s no denying America is trending toward leniency of marijuana laws. An important question raised is how this trend might affect teenagers and adolescents. While we can’t be sure whether a reform in marijuana laws would increase use among youth, we can be sure that one of our best counter-strategies is to learn how to talk about marijuana with teens and children. Below are 5 things about marijuana that every parent should discuss with their children:
Marijuana is illegal in most states. For minors marijuana (and alcohol and cigarettes) are illegal in all states. The consequences of arrest and conviction can be considerable. Marijuana laws are different than alcohol laws.
2. Harm to the nervous system
Although some young people try marijuana or other substances, young people can experience more harm from these substances than mature adults, because their brains are not fully developed. We are still learning about brain development. It may not be complete until the late 20s. Besides harm to the brain there are other negative consequences to marijuana use. Although sometimes harms are stated in an exaggerated way, many harms are accurate.
A percentage of individuals who try various substances become addicted to them, particularly if use starts as a younger person. There are no good ways to predict who will become addicted. The safest course of action is to abstain.
State your own values about marijuana and other substance use, and your interest in discussing these values. If your behavior is not consistent with your statements expect your child will already realize the discrepancy. If you have a zero tolerance perspective, state it clearly. If you will accept a level of limited or experimental use in your children, be specific about your limits. Regardless your values, stay firm and committed to them and model your own adherence to them.
5. Our family
How we plan to react if we observe substance use beyond what we will tolerate. If our discussions result in major conflict we may seek professional consultation.
You may have other points you want to discuss with your child(ren), and you may or may not find this talk to be a difficult one. Regardless of your views or feelings about marijuana use, it is important to remember to keep the discussion open and honest and encourage a two-way conversation. As long as you come from a place of care and concern, you’re off to a great start!
If you or a loved one need help with addiction, Practical Recovery can help.