With more states passing laws legalizing recreational marijuana, parents today are facing a new challenge with their kids and teens. Trying to deter kids from experimenting with marijuana is an ongoing battle, and it will get increasingly hard the more they see in the news and society that it can be used recreationally, as well as medically. Talking to your kids about the dangers of underage use is your best defense in getting them to avoid it and stand up to peer pressure.
My own children are in the prime age to start hearing and seeing other kids smoking pot or eating edibles. My middle boy is 12 and in middle school. You would think that would be too young to talk to kids and warn them, but it isn’t. One in three high school seniors surveyed said they had used marijuana before they were 15. One in three. You can see just by that fact alone we need to do better as parents to help them avoid this. There are serious consequences for being “busted” with recreational marijuana under the age of 21.
So how do you talk to your kids?
The www.GoodToKnowColorado.com website has tips, information and resources to help adults have a positive, effective conversation with the youth in their lives. The site features information including:
- Tips for how to talk with youth at different ages
- Tips for teachers and coaches to speak with the youth they serve
- Information on the legal consequences of using retail marijuana before age 21, including Minor in Possession charges, loss of financial aid or employment, and being removed from sports teams or extracurricular activities
- Information on the health effects of using retail marijuana before age 21, including difficulty learning, memory issues, negative impacts on athletic performance and impaired judgment
- Marijuana 101 information including today’s methods of consumption and slang terms so adults can familiarize themselves with the different ways youth use and talk about marijuana.
Tips for Talking to Youth Ages 13 to 16 Years Old
- Start the Conversation – When my teen doesn’t want to talk? We text. He’s opened up so much more via text because he has the security of being able to talk without me interrupting or giving him what he calls my “judgy face.”
- Listen – Just as important as it is to talk to your kids, you also need to listen to their questions and concerns.
- Establish Clear Rules – State the rules, the consequences and let them know you will follow through.
- Talk, talk, talk – Make sure you have the conversation more than once.
- Role-play How To Say “No” – Role playing may lead to eye rolls from your teen, but the information will sink in. Everyone has valid excuses why they should say no, whether it’s because of their own beliefs, health reasons or because they have extracurricular activities they don’t want to lose. Help them learn how to say “No.”
- Stay Positive – Yelling and only telling them the negative side will often make kids rebel. I find it helps to talk about the positive reasons to stay away from marijuana.
- Talk About Friends – By keeping updated on who they are hanging out with and showing an interest in their friends, your teen may open up more.
- Promote Self-confidence – They don’t want to be known as the “stoner” in school. Show them all the ways they excel so they can build self-confidence.
- Keep talking and show you are on their side – The more they know you support them, the more they will want to live up to that image.
These are just a few tips to start the conversation with your kids at home. For more great tips and a wealth of information for parents and teachers, visit www.GoodToKnowColorado.com.
Disclosure: We have partnered with www.GoodToKnowColorado.com in an effort to help parents have the resources they need to educate themselves and their children about the dangers of underage marijuana use. All thoughts and opinions are mine and honest.