If you use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes and also have children you’ve probably given some thought to how you should discuss the reasons you use and enjoy cannabis products with them. But when is the right time and what is the right approach to use when discussing cannabis use with your children? Of course every person has to answer this question for themselves and use their own best judgement to do so but here at Haute Health we thought it might be worthwhile to explore the different reasons you might want to discuss cannabis use with your children and some of the methods and strategies you can use to keep the conversation on track and educational.
Even if you are not a user of cannabis products yourself chances are very good especially now in Canada that cannabis has been legalized for recreational use that your children will encounter the smell of cannabis out in the wild and ask you the innocent question “what’s that skunky smell?” Regardless of your personal position on cannabis use both recreational and medicinal every parent finds themselves in a situation like this sooner or later and many choose to let an opportunity for learning and understanding about the world pass by,
If your impulse when a child asks you about something is to keep the truth from them out of fear they cannot properly understand it then you are probably giving children a lot less credit than they deserve. These days our children are hyper aware of the world around them and with a smartphone in every pocket their access to information is unprecedented in any historical context. This means our kids are growing up faster and faster before our eyes and learning things without the help of parental understanding and influence. This can be great for children with an independent spirit and an active mind but there is so much conflicting and sometimes dangerous information available online why miss out on a chance to explain something important to them when they are very young and sincerely curious about it!
So resist the impulse to lie to or mislead your children about your cannabis use or the cannabis use of other people. If a child you care for and love comes to you with a sincere question about something you should be glad to answer honestly to the best of your ability. True knowledge is typically never harmful to young people but being misled or even outright lied to by a trusted parent or family member can leave a lasting mark on the spirit of anyone that they might carry for a long time.
This is especially true if you do in fact use cannabis but do your best to keep it from your children in order not to influence them in any way about it. Kids, especially kids who are fast approaching their teen years, are far more intelligent, curious and accepting than the adults in their lives often give them credit for. If you think you have been getting away with a covert cannabis habit in the late of night or outside of the home there is a good chance your kids may have already found you out! Being upfront and honest with them right out of the gate will go a long way toward earning their respect and trust when it comes to serious issues concerning other narcotics and far more dangerous substances.
Similarly if you overreact and overcompensate out of fear or discomfort and end up telling your children something that isn’t true or that upsets them they will be far less likely to take your advice to heart in the future when it comes to other things they encounter in life, regardless of how dangerous or deadly it actually may be.
How To Talk To Your Kids About Marijuana
There is no ideal parental guide to weed and weed talk can seem as embarrassing or overwhelming as the need to have the sex talk with your kids but it is equally important to their development as a young adult and their ability to trust you with their honest thoughts, feelings and problems. Essentially the best way to have the weed talk comes down to a personal choice about how you would prefer your relationship with your child to grow and evolve over time as they blossom into an independent and opinionated adult.
If your goal with your children is to raise them to be thoughtful and independent adults with a reasonable understanding of the world around them then honesty is always the best policy. Lots of kids are already searching online to find articles about how to talk to your parents about weed so why would you want some stranger like myself to educate them through articles they find online or worse yet, have them discover everything about it for themselves through friends and schoolmates without you ever having the weed talk with them at all.
Many parents seem to make the mistake of just letting the world at large educate kids about the “real world” while feeding them stories and making rules at home that seem to contradict the reality their children are discovering on their own. This creates a disconnect for most kids where they have to present a false identity or idea of themselves to their parents feigning total innocence of things they are already well aware of in order to protect the sensibilities of the parent! Obviously this is all backwards as parents are meant to protect their children from upset and harm and not the other way around.
If you find yourself slipping into this position out of fear or an inability to control the narrative or the dialog of the situation you may want to consider exactly what it is about kids, cannabis and parental guidance that is making you feal uneasy and giving you an impulse to hide the truth. If you explain in an honest and forthright manner that cannabis use has become more socially acceptable in recent years in Canada and they are more likely to encounter it through friends, at school and possibly even at home if you enjoy it too your kids are sure to want to understand and have a lot of questions for you.
And again when it comes to the questions of the young, honesty is almost always the best policy. In all the years that there has been a zero tolerance policy inspired by the war on drugs very little has been accomplished when it comes to influencing the minds of young people against the use of drugs. In fact many studies have shown that having a zero tolerance policy that shames users and paints all substances with the same negative light actually serves to make the opposite point in many young people’s minds. When they discover society, schoolteachers, police officers and their parents haven’t been wholly honest with them about cannabis and the reasons people use it there is a danger that they will assume that the same lies are being told about other substances as well which can actually be far more dangerous to people, especially the young.
Talk Early & Talk Often
Regardless of your personal opinions on the use of cannabis the parental guide to weed conversations should always begin with honesty as the best policy. If you do not personally enjoy cannabis products or even have a personal prejudice against them you should still do the best you can to not pass your intolerances on to your children. Unfortunately this is very much not the case when it comes to the experiences of the vast majority of young people. Fear and stigma still guide much of the dialogue that occurs even among parents who are current or past users of cannabis even when they have the purest of intentions!
If you want to inspire your kids to make the right choices in life while also being honest with them about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction it can often feel like walking a dangerous tightrope. You are desperate not to fall into the pitfalls of bad influence or negative ideas while still offering enough measured concern to make them aware of the potential dangers. Be careful not to totally downplay the enjoyable aspects of cannabis use either. If you tell a child only negative things about something and they try it for themselves and have a positive experience it should come as no surprise if that person doubts your word about other subjects in the future.
So be honest and up front, especially if you use cannabis products yourself to manage pain, control mood swings, get to sleep, calm down, relax, ease social pressure – be honest with them about why you use it and what it helps with. Let them know about why you sometimes get the munchies, laugh a lot, or maybe say or do something silly now and then. Most importantly let them know that experimentation is okay and a natural part of growing up however it is always best to experiment with sound knowledge and good judgement. In order to set your children up to be the most knowledgeable and successful they can possibly be in the world it is a good idea to always be open and honest with them about everything.
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