Living in one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis has been an overall great experience, but it does come with some challenges and opportunities.
One new parenting phenomenon that wasn’t a problem during the Dumb Ages (prohibition) is the fact that my kids are suddenly seeing cannabis all over the place on billboards and store windows and they are smelling it on their walks to school (you do smell it a lot more often now that it’s legal). Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to see cannabis creep from the shadows and into legitimacy. However, previously, it’s a conversation that may never have come up. That being said, I’ll take having to occasionally talk to my kids about pot over pot being illegal again.
So, I thought of a few ways I could simultaneously discourage cannabis use in my kids until they are of age without demonizing the plant itself.
- Be realistic without being enthusiastic. If your child asks you something about weed, answer with the truth. After all, the truth about weed isn’t scary. However, try not to be a cannabis cheerleader. If you get asked if weed is as dangerous as alcohol, say something information driven without emotion, be indifferent.
- If they ask if you’ve ever used it be honest without being a fan. Tell them that you have used it and relate whatever you think is necessary to their age and circumstances. But don’t be a fan. Your kids, even if rebelling a bit, learn a tremendous amount of their behaviors from watching you. Then maybe ask them if they’ve ever tried it to get a better idea of how in-depth to take the conversation. You want to be encouraging of your child, but not encouraging of them using cannabis and breaking the law. Adults don’t have a lot to risk by using cannabis in Washington any longer, but kids still do. Tell them so.
- If you catch them using it, first make sure they are safe. Tell them that though it’s legal, it’s not for minors and if they’re caught with it, they could get suspended or worse. Tell them that you don’t want them using cannabis or alcohol until they are of age. For my own piece, I would also want to say to them that weed isn’t going to kill them, but I would tell them that there are drugs out there that can kill you on your first try.
These are young people trying their best to find their way to adulthood in a complicated world, your job isn’t to tell them who to be, your job is to guide them through the gauntlet of childhood and launch them out into the world as good people.
It's also important to understand that the preliminary research shows the harm it can cause to "Young Minds" (whatever that is). No one has all the answers, but so far, the scientists are selecting 21 as an age. As a Medical Professional, I can only say that that is "about" the age of brain maturity in most.... so it's not a bad guideline.
Good article, Thanks!