One night, 10-year-old Maria woke up in the middle of the night and as she walked down the hall towards the TV room, she smelled something funny in the air.
“What’s that daddy? Are you smoking a cigarette?” asked Maria.
“No, Maria,” replied her daddy. “This is a joint or a doobie. It’s made of marijuana.”
Just before Maria could throw a bunch of other questions, her daddy went on to explain that Marijuana is a plant that grows in different parts of the world.
Some marijuana plants are very tall with long green leaves while others are shorter, vague and purple! Just like vegetables, fruits and grains, marijuana has been in existence for many years.
“Is marijuana a vegetable?” asked Maria.
“Let’s just say so,” Daddy answered. “And like any other plant, it produces ﬂowers that make its seeds. Seeds can be processed to make oil or food. Alternatively, flowers are dried to be later smoked or eaten. Professionals such as teachers, artists, doctors, actors and even presidents smoke Marijuana. However, it is important for you to know that Marijuana is only meant for adults who can use it responsibly. It gives some people joy, but like many things, it has to be used in moderation. Marijuana is also a strong medicine used to ease anxiety, manage pain and reduces inflammation, but it is not healthy for you right now. I know you understand that there are some things that are meant for adults, but definitely not for children.”
Maria also wanted to know if one could get intoxicated after smoking marijuana the way she’d seen people do after consuming alcohol. Her daddy explained that the two were totally different.
Alcohol knocks you out or worse still it could make you really sick when consumed in excess. On the other hand, marijuana makes you feel relaxed and even sleepy.
Whe is the time and age to talk to kids about marijuana in the days of legalization?
As you can see, the conversation above is very straightforward. The usual propaganda, the type that kids are taught in school is missing.
Chances are, Maria will try marijuana at some point in the future and when that time comes, she will have proper understanding and will be smart enough with her decisions.
Kids are well aware that marijuana is illegal, yet they see teachers, relatives and people they respect lying to get the drug. They know what daddy calls medicine isn’t really medicine and even his back pain wasn’t an issue before he got that Marijuana card.
When kids see adults playing the system and getting away with it, they think that’s what grown-ups do. In my view, medical Marijuana is likely to teach children that its normal and acceptable for adults to lie to get what they want.
That’s why you should organize your facts well before initiating that talk. Your child is likely going to ask you if you’ve ever used it. Don’t shy away from your experience with marijuana.
Let them know the circumstances under which it came into your life, explore the options you’d then whether good or bad without fear.
Adapting the Marijuana Talk to their Age
There is no specific age that has been set aside. This is due to the fact that children are all different. What matters is the nature of the conversation.
It must be very realistic, leaving no room for propaganda or holier than thou attitude.
Having said that, you cannot overlook the fact that children of different ages have different views about marijuana. That is why age should be considered when approaching the subject
• Children under the age of 10 are normally attentive to their parents. It’s okay to tell a kid this age that marijuana is used for both medicinal and recreational purposes, and that using marijuana is a privilege that should not be undertaken without knowing more about it.
• At age 13 and above, kids are already entering the years of peer-pressure. They may be faced with being asked to try marijuana. Set aside some time to prepare your kid for future experiences. Provide them with actual facts about the dangers of experimenting marijuana, and explain to them that when marijuana is misused, it can have grave consequences and the reality of the harmful effects it has on young brains that are still developing. Make it clear that marijuana misuse could affect them as they transition into the most important years of young adulthood.
• If your child is just about to turn 19 years, talk to them about marijuana more. Of course, 19 year olds are more likely to experiment with marijuana and when that happens you want to be the one that instilled those responsible decisions. After all marijuana stories are likely to have come up during a discussion with their college friends.
Kids are way smarter than we all think. If at all you smoke or probably used to smoke marijuana at some point in your life, make sure you paint a realistic picture on the subject.
We cannot deny that most parents have tried it, thousands still use it, and a majority of them feel awkward disclosing their wild past.
Such a parent may feel that talking to kids about marijuana might make them want to experiment.
However, the drug facts that children are taught in school are known to be more frightening than factual. Schools tend to blame marijuana for everything.
Parents should therefore educate their kids about drug issues before they are taught in school.
It’s high time parents changed the conversation! We are living in a generation where there is no stigma around marijuana. Parents should now more than ever get real about marijuana with their kids.
After all trend-setters are coming up with such beautiful and safe ways of assimilating the wonderful benefits of marijuana into our daily lives. What a fun time to be alive!