Just like sex, alcohol, mental illness, school shootings, and drugs, cannabis can be a rather tricky issue to discuss with our children. It is a topic that needs to be approached with utmost care and tact.
Like all the other “sensitive” topics, cannabis is a matter that parents may not be able to avoid because it is relevant to our times. News about anything related to marijuana are bound to pop up in our kids’ consciousness via television, social media, YouTube, and other platforms. And when it does, we have to be ready for any question that may be thrown our way.
In other words, the issue of cannabis is something we need to talk about with our kids when the right time comes. We should consider it as an opportunity for us to be in control of the conversation and to steer it towards a positive direction.
When our kids ask the questions, we need to grab the chance to arm them with scientific facts. These facts will help shape their opinion without influence from friends, teachers, and other people who may not really be well-informed.
So how do we talk about cannabis with our children? Here are a few tips:
1. First, be informed and knowledgeable yourself.
Read up on all basic aspects of cannabis — from its origins, its benefits, and its medical applications throughout history, to its disadvantages and ill effects, to what cannabis addiction will do, and even cannabis laws. Read up on the legislative status of medical and recreational cannabis in your state or in your country.
It is only by reading and gathering information that you can have an unbiased conversation about cannabis with your kids.
2. Encourage open communication and healthy debate with your kids, regardless of how young they are.
Cultivating an environment where your kids can talk to you about any topic will keep them from relying on the Internet and on their peers. Remember that kids are naturally curious and as their minds mature, they will seek to know more about things they are curious about. And if they are not comfortable talking about these things with you, they will most certainly satisfy this thirst for more knowledge elsewhere.
This can be problematic because they might end up getting answers from people and places that have their information wrong.
3. Provide a non-judgmental and supportive environment.
Listen to and respect your children’s opinion. When you present them with facts, allow them to process their feelings and their thoughts about their newly acquired knowledge.
Ask them whether they think a certain thing is right or wrong, and listen with interest as they explain why they think that way. If presented with an issue or a problem, ask them how they think it can be solved or addressed.
In other words, always come from a place of understanding where their feelings and opinion are concerned.
4. Emphasize the importance of following the law.
As much as you want to show your kids that their opinion matters, you have to make it clear that adhering to the law of the land comes first. Especially if you live in a place with strict anti-cannabis laws or with regulations that are against their beliefs.
You have to explain why legislation is currently very complicated and how everything is part of a global shift in consciousness. Regardless of what their personal stand on cannabis is, you have to underscore the importance of staying out of trouble and respecting the authorities.
It is only when we know our children are well-informed that we also get to free ourselves from constantly worrying about them.
And oh, always remember never to underestimate our kids’ capacity to understand. We may think they are too young to know certain things about cannabis, but they will surprise you with the things they already know about it and with how much more they can take.