With legalization sweeping across the US, most parents have no choice but to talk to their kids about cannabis at some point. But is there a right time or way to do it? And what kind of resources might help aid in this discussion?
A book by Susan Soares, What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden, gives some useful advice for parents, guardians, and other caretakers.
The story is about a grandmother and grandson exploring different plants growing in grandma’s garden. The plants include fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs.
While exploring the garden, grandma takes the opportunity to introduce cannabis as a plant that is grown for two reasons–both as a medicine and a plant that helps adults relax.
Soares takes the opportunity to discredit the anti-cannabis campaign slogan, “Just say NO.” She argues that “children are smarter than we give them credit for” and consequently a better approach to inform them about cannabis would be to offer knowledge. For this she has instead used the phrase, “just say KNOW.”
But Soares is not the only author in this space. Ricardo Cortes is a bestselling author who has also written a book to help parents handle the cannabis conversation called It’s Just a Plant.
These and other books highlight the importance of making this conversation as natural as possible. The aim of having this conversation with your child is to inform them and not to threaten or warn them.
As much as there is no rule of thumb, parents should be on the lookout for signs that the child is ready for this conversation. Triggers for a cannabis conversation may include:
- Direct or indirect questions from the child about cannabis use
- Hints that friends are discussing or using cannabis
- Child finding out that a family member is using cannabis
It is important to talk to children about cannabis when the child is ready and the parent is equipped to provide accurate information. Parents should fill in gaps in knowledge with factual, objective information and should be sure to present balanced information about potential benefits and side effects associated with use. Even as cannabis policies change rapidly from state to state, it’s important to make sure children understand what is legal and what is not.
Be supportive and turn to resources like our site to become more informed and prepared for this conversation.