Having open and honest conversations with your teenagers about cannabis may still feel a bit taboo. But in the long run, you’ll thank yourself if you can share an open conversation with your kids about a plant that will certainly be prevalent in their teen years and beyond. As a cannabis-using parent, here are some practical tips to help you navigate the topic and learn how to talk to your teens about weed.
Top Tips for Talking to Teens About Weed
Every family is different, so hang onto what’s relevant here, and remember that your kid is unique. Arm yourself with a hefty dose of compassion and multi-sided information, and you are setting yourself up to have a healthy conversation.
Building Trust and Respect
Before discussing cannabis, focus on building a foundation of trust and respect with your teenager. Create an environment where they feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics without fear of judgment or punishment. By establishing open and non-judgmental communication, you can foster a safe space for dialogue and ensure that your teen is more receptive to your guidance.
Educate Yourself First
To have an effective conversation about cannabis, educate yourself about the topic. Familiarize yourself with the potential benefits and risks associated with cannabis use, as well as the legal regulations in your jurisdiction. Understand the current scientific research on cannabis and its effects, so you can address your teen’s questions and concerns with accuracy and credibility.
Be sure to offer perspectives from multiple angles – of course there is a rampant war on drugs still raging against weed, but be sure to share all of the incredible benefits and reasons why adults use cannabis. If you have personal stories, share them! Being relatable will greatly help your cause with your teen.
Choose the Right Timing and Approach
Timing is important when discussing cannabis with your teenager. Select a moment when both of you are relaxed and have sufficient time for an uninterrupted conversation. Avoid discussing the topic when either of you is upset or in a rush. Approach the conversation with empathy and an open mind, acknowledging that your teen might have their own opinions or prior knowledge about cannabis.
Active Listening and Supportive Attitude
During the conversation, actively listen to your teenager’s thoughts, opinions, and questions. Be patient and avoid interrupting. Use empathetic statements to show that you understand and respect their perspective, even if it differs from your own. A supportive attitude creates an environment where your teenager feels comfortable expressing themselves and fosters mutual respect.
Providing Accurate Information
Offer accurate and balanced information about cannabis to dispel misinformation and myths. Discuss the potential benefits of cannabis for therapeutic, medicinal, and recreational purposes. Share scientific research on how cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and its potential positive effects on pain management, anxiety reduction, and overall well-being.
Responsible Use and Harm Reduction
Emphasize the importance of responsible cannabis use and harm reduction strategies. Discuss the significance of dosage control, starting with low potency products, and avoiding excessive consumption. Encourage moderation and responsible decision-making. Teach your teenager about harm reduction techniques, such as not driving under the influence and avoiding risky behaviors while using cannabis.
Legal and Social Considerations
Engage in a conversation about the legal and social implications of cannabis use. Inform your teenager about the current legal status of cannabis in your jurisdiction, highlighting the importance of abiding by the laws. Discuss the potential consequences of engaging in illegal activities and the importance of respecting others’ boundaries and choices.
Encouraging Open Communication and Support
Establish an environment of open communication and support, where your teenager feels comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns. Reassure them that they can come to you for accurate information and guidance regarding cannabis. Provide resources and information about harm reduction, counseling services, or support groups if needed.
Promoting Personal Choices and Well-being
Acknowledge that cannabis may not be suitable for everyone and that personal choices regarding its use should be respected. Encourage your teenager to make informed decisions based on their own values and well-being. Teach them to recognize and resist negative peer pressure, emphasizing the importance of independent decision-making.
Navigating Open Conversations with Your Teen about Cannabis
As parents, we all have experiences that we may or may not want to share with our children. However, it’s important to find a way to turn those experiences into positive dialogue. Recently, one of our readers shared her approach to discussing cannabis and drug use with her teenager.
Here’s her story:
“I sat down with my 16-year-old son to have a conversation about the world he’s growing up in and the potential influences he may encounter while spending time with his friends. While I left the ‘birds and bees’ talk to his dad, I felt confident discussing cannabis since it was a subject I was well-versed in.
To begin, I created an atmosphere of openness by assuring him that our conversation was not about scolding, but rather understanding. I asked him what activities he and his friends engage in that he thinks I wouldn’t be proud of. At first, he was a bit hesitant and mentioned their occasional use of profanity. Realizing I needed to dig deeper, I asked more specific questions, such as whether he had ever consumed alcohol or encountered situations he didn’t fully understand. That’s when our conversation truly opened up.
Without getting into the specifics of his friends’ behavior, I’ll summarize the essence of our discussion. One topic that emerged was the term ‘dope,’ which I grew up understanding as referring to marijuana, not the street drug heroin. We had an extensive conversation about different drug names and their appearances. Admittedly, I don’t know what many drugs look like, so we turned to Google for research. This collaborative approach made the conversation more comfortable as we both learned together.
Throughout our conversation, I kept my son’s unique personality in mind. Knowing he is generally responsible, our discussion differed from what I anticipate having with my other son who has ADHD. For children with ADD, ADHD, or other cognitive behavior disorders, self-medication with street drugs may be a concern. But for now, let’s stay focused.
After discussing the types of drugs out there and their various names, we circled back to cannabis. We talked about different consumption methods and what cannabis could look like, with a particular emphasis on edibles that may resemble candy.
Moving on, we discussed how cannabis could affect him personally. I explained that the specific strain, method of consumption, and individual differences could greatly influence how he feels. For example, I mentioned that edibles might take longer to produce a ‘high,’ leading to the temptation to consume more and potentially overdo it. I also described how dabbing might be stronger than taking a hit from a pre-roll, drawing from my own experiences and preferences as a hybrid cannabis user.
Throughout our lengthy conversation, I frequently paused to check if he had any questions, which he did. He asked about things like feeling tired, coughing, or experiencing increased appetite – questions I answered based on my own experiences and also by using Google to showcase different perspectives.
Finally, we discussed safety – a crucial aspect. I stressed that not all cannabis is the same and that there are safe and reputable sources to obtain it from. I also mentioned the potential risks of acquiring it from random individuals through friends of friends. In a somewhat unconventional move, I shared an old saying from my youth: ‘at least they’re doing it in front of me and I can keep an eye on them.’
I explained that if he ever decided to try cannabis, I would prefer he came to me so I could ensure he obtained it safely and that he could experiment in the comfort of our home when he’s of age, where I could support and take care of him. I made sure he understood that not everyone reacts well to being high, as some people experience severe headaches, nausea, or paranoia.
Lastly, I reassured him that if he ever found himself uncomfortable around someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he consumed something and felt unsure, he should never drive and should call me immediately. I emphasized that he would not get in trouble, and I would always be there for him, no matter what.”
A New Age for Kids and Cannabis
Weed isn’t seen as the rebellious substance it once was now that so many states have legalized. Still, there is a reason to have these conversations with your kids. Stay honest, stay curious, and above all – make sure your kids know that it’s always better to call a parent than end up in any kind of trouble or uncomfortable situation.
When it comes to talking to your teens about weed, remember our advice. By engaging in open conversations and providing accurate information, we can foster trust and understanding with our teenagers. Remember, the goal is to support their well-being, equip them with knowledge, and maintain an ongoing dialogue based on trust and love.