If you read enough cannabis-related articles online, you will eventually come across the “talking to your kids about pot” guide. They have been written by many people and contain various nuggets of advice, but what most of them have in common is trying to communicate ways to parents to communicate to their children that marijuana is something they should stay away from.
There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, but there are a couple risks parents run: 1) lying to your children can erode their trust in other things you have told them and 2) lying to your children about marijuana could inadvertently drive them to experiment with some other, more dangerous behavior.
A recent “talking to kids” guide appeared in a Chicago newspaper to coincide with the legalization of adult-use marijuana in Illinois. As one could expect, it is riddled with conjecture based on cherry-picked research (increased risk of mental illness, increased risk of suicide) and even mentions the gateway theory as something viable and something parents need to be worried about instead of the much-debunked piece of garbage that it is.
While legalization and a system where sellers have incentives to make sure they don’t sell to underage customers goes a look way toward keeping kids away from cannabis, it must be acknowledged that marijuana is still available and legalization doesn’t mean parents can abdicate their responsibilities.
It must also be acknowledged that marijuana is among the safest substances a teenager could experiment with. With so many things out their capable of doing real harm and even killing our kids, it’s important not to focus on marijuana as something that can destroy their life. Make your feelings about it clear, but don’t neglect teaching your kids about the myriad of hard and even legal drugs that can wreak total havoc on their future as human beings.
Fortunately, parents don’t have to rely on lies and fear-mongering anymore when it comes to what to tell their kids about cannabis. There is a mountain of true information and resources available to them on the Internet.
I wouldn’t recommend badgering your kids with information from studies that are contradicted by information from other studies; more intelligent youngsters can see right through that, especially with how easy it is to find things out these days.
Make a reasonable case for what you want them to do, but also trust that you have raised them to make good decisions. And if they do try marijuana, at least they are not trying any of the dozens of things that could kill them tonight.
The best book I had that helped me explain marijuana to my children was “It’s Just A Plant,” by Ricardo Cortés.