How to Talk to Your Kids About Cannabis
If you’re a parent, you know that you weren’t handed a handbook along with your first child. No parent has all the answers and much of raising children comes down to learning as you go. There’s no wrong way to do things and we can all benefit by sharing tips and tricks with each other!
With the legalization of cannabis came a whole new topic for parents to field questions about. What’s pot? Why does Jimmy say it’s bad? Why does Mary’s mom smoke? Do you smoke pot? Eventually, your kids are going to start asking these kinds of questions and you’re going to need to be prepared to talk to them about it. It can seem overwhelming, whether you use cannabis or not. Fear not, we’re here to help ease the stress and offer some helpful insights on how to talk to your kids about cannabis.
Educate Yourself First
This first step is especially important if you don’t use cannabis. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with what cannabis is, common names (weed, pot, flower, bud), ways to enjoy it (joints, vape pens, bongs, edibles, tinctures, etc.), why someone might use it (stress, anxiety, pain, nausea, relaxation), and the legalities around it (legal age, personal allotment, where to buy, etc.).
You know your kids better than anyone, so you’ll likely be able to anticipate the types of questions they are going to ask. Do your research and get information from reputable sources. Source like The Healing Co. (that’s us!), Leafly, or Health Canada, who put together a “Cannabis Talk Kit”, are all great places to start.
Once you feel comfortable and have a solid understanding of cannabis, it’s time to have your first chat with your kids!
Be Open and Honest
The best thing you can do is be honest with your kids. Whether you’re discussing cannabis, alcohol, sex, or mental health, honesty is always the best policy.
You might want to share the reasons why you do or do not use cannabis with your kid. Explaining that you use cannabis to relax, help with pain management, or keep you healthy can make it easier to understand and relate to. Alternatively, if you don’t use cannabis, share those reasons, as well. Don’t demonize it or make cannabis a scary thing, but explain why you have chosen not to incorporate it into your life in a way that they can understand.
Take cannabis out of the equation for a moment. If it was alcohol, when would you start talking to your kids about it? Probably when they could recognize that you were drinking something that they weren’t. Phrases like, “This is a grown up drink”, “This isn’t for kids”, “This is for mommy or daddy” are often used in the beginning to explain that your drink isn’t something your child can enjoy for themselves. As kids get older, the conversation typically moves towards legal drinking age, drinking and driving, what to expect at parties, and health implications.
Discuss cannabis in a matter-of-fact way, like you would alcohol or cigarettes. Explain what is it, how it’s used, what the legal age is, and why it’s important to buy from dispensaries versus on the street. As your kids get older, you can start incorporating broader topics like edibles and how they may appear at parties, or the differences between smoking and ingestibles.
You want to arm your children with accurate, fact based information so that they feel confident making informed choices. You’re not going to be with them every moment of every day, but if you equip them with the necessary tools to think and act for themselves, they’ll feel empowered!
By discussing cannabis openly and honestly, we take away some of the mystery and excitement around it. Kids are always going to be inquisitive and it’s important to remember that just because your child is asking questions, doesn’t mean they have intent to use. They are always going to be curious about things they can’t have yet!
We understand that having any conversation like this can be a little intimidating. You know your kids better than anyone and will figure out the right time, place and way to talk to them about cannabis. Like alcohol, cannabis should be discussed and some basic safety considerations should be provided, but remember, it’s just cannabis! You’ll figure out the best way to incorporate cannabis chats with your kids in a way that works for you and your family.
If you have any helpful tips to share with other parents or stories of how you talk to your kids about cannabis, please share below!