How to Get Your Teen to Put Down Pot

We are very lucky to have a guest blog this week on a very relevant issue parents are facing. Thank you to Sara Gillbert and her team at The Recovery Village®

With the legalization of recreational marijuana spreading through the nation, more teens are looking to get their hands on the substance to either try it for the first time, or use the drug regularly. Due to the increasing accessibility of obtaining marijuana, parents are becoming more concerned about how to approach the topic with their children – most importantly, how to prevent marijuana use from occurring. As the “juuling” trend steadily grows amongst high school and college students, young adults smoking marijuana remains a parental concern, now more than ever before.

The device known as a Juul, is an electronic cigarette that looks like a USB drive – making it easy for students to sneak it into class and potentially use it. Additionally, people who have a Juul can replace the nicotine originally put into the product with other substances, such as liquid marijuana. This product allows students to get high during class without teachers even knowing the substance is present, due to the Juul producing very little smoke or vapor.

Along with the Juul, the fact that recreational marijuana is becoming legal across the United States is causing concern for parents throughout the country. So, what is a good way to approach the conversation about avoiding such an increasingly available, and in some cases increasingly popular, substance? Fortunately, there’s more than one.

It’s important to have an educational conversation with teens to get them to understand why misusing marijuana can be dangerous, to not just their health, but their overall lifestyle. When a teenager expresses an interest in smoking marijuana, or has already done so, a concerned approach, rather than an angry one, could be more effective. When a parent gives a lecture in an aggressive tone, teenagers may tend to think that they’re just being parents. It’s important to remind them of the negative effects that smoking marijuana will have on their ability to drive, learn and obtain a job. Rather than just getting angry at the action of marijuana misuse, it’s more beneficial to inform them of how it can negatively affect their future.

Considering the fact that smoking marijuana has become such a trend, teaching teens how to say, “No,” to their peers could also be very efficient. Peer pressure is a major way teens get exposed to various substances, and with the fear of being judged by fellow classmates, they give in to their friends’ encouragements and try the substance in question. While, due to the social pressure, the teenager can feel as if they don’t have a choice, it’s important to remind them that they always have the option to refuse. They have a voice that they should not be afraid to use. It should be emphasized to teens that they have the power to say no without explaining themselves, and anyone who doesn’t respect their decisions and beliefs isn’t someone they should consider a friend in the first place. High school and college are temporary times, the people they meet during these times will likely drift away from them over the years, so that should be pointed out as well.

Another reason teens begin to smoke marijuana is because they’re curious. The years during high school and college are usually the time when teens experiment with drugs purely out of wondering what kind of feeling they can obtain. To prevent them from putting themselves in a harmful situation, and to cure their curiosity, have an open conversation regarding the very things they’re interested in learning about without putting their health and potential futures at risk. During this talk, it would be beneficial to the discussion to keep it as non-judgmental as possible. A teen who worked up the courage to come to you about drugs can already feel intimidated enough as is, so it’s crucial to keep in mind that them coming to you is a much safer option than the alternative. Therefore, stay calm and open during the discussion and there will most likely be a better outcome.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have already legalized recreational marijuana, with a purchasing age of 21 in place. It seems as if it’s only a matter of time before all states hop on board. Regardless of the legal spread of marijuana use, it is still possible to help manage the amount that your teen is exposed to. Whether you approach them first, or they come to you, remember to keep the conversation open, honest and educational.

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