Talking to your kids about your important topics such as drugs isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but we can help make that process as pleasant as possible. In the last year, cannabis has gone from something that was mildly taboo in a niche market of people to something that everyone’s talking about. This has been mainly due to the fact that recreational cannabis became legal in October of 2018. This change in our nation has people talking about many different things now, including: how it can help medically, how it can help you relax like a glass of wine at dinner or even how the local and international laws are adapting to suit the public’s needs. One big concern since it all became legal has been how it’s going to affect our nation’s youth. When it comes to your kids, there are many important things that should be discussed to promote a healthy lifestyle during the important transition period from childhood to adulthood.

One thing that’s good to speak about is cannabis.

This post goes into its effects on their brain, how to have that tough conversation and how to say no to drugs.

Risks of Cannabis and Youth

Despite recreational cannabis being legal now, cannabis can still have intoxicating effects that affect someone’s ability to move, drive, or focus, etc. Due to this, it’s important to mention the risks and effects that it may have on our youth. There is substantial evidence to prove that the front part of the brain that maintains and controls important functions such as motivation, physical movements and emotions doesn’t stop developing until around the age of 25. Cannabis abuse before this age can lead to things like: difficulty regulating emotions, poor judgment and a lack of impulse control. Studies also show that regular use of cannabis during this time can lead to poor school performance. It can also cause someone to be impaired and affect a person’s reaction time, which could lead to devastatingly fatal consequences for new teen drivers experimenting with cannabis. A study into the drug use of Canadian drivers involved in a fatal crash stated that 40% of those drivers were between the ages of 16 and 24.

Having That Conversation

Speaking with your children about serious topics can sometimes be difficult or awkward to discuss but having the right intentions and finding the best way to say it makes things much easier. It also creates an environment that allows for your family to speak with you and be honest about anything that’s concerning to them. In order to get yourself in the right frame of mind to speak with your child or teen, it’s recommended that you find a comfortable setting, put yourself in their shoes and be respectful. They’ll respond much better to what you have to say by being on their level and understanding what they’re going through instead of being combative and lacking empathy. In order to avoid a negative conversation, you can substitute common words that will have a more positive reception from others. Instead of using phrases that include words like “but”, “should” and “disapprove”, you can substitute in words like “and”, “would like” and “concerned”. For example, “I disapprove of you hanging out with that group of people” can be replaced with “I’m concerned that this group of people might not be influencing you in the right ways.”

How to Say No to Drugs

Helping your kids and teens live a healthy lifestyle is one of the responsibilities of being a parent. One thing that’s always good to pass on to them throughout their journey is how to say “no” to drugs of any kind, including cannabis. They’re likely to be offered cannabis, alcohol, or other drugs at some point before the legal consumption age, so these tips will help guide you and them by knowing how to respond when someone offers these. It can be easier to explain why you don’t want these things by saying, “That stuff is really bad for you,” “I don’t have time for these things,” and simply “I’m not into that.” If there’s peer pressure or if the other person isn’t being understanding of why you’re declining, sometimes it’s easier to create an excuse rather than simply explaining to the other person why you don’t want it. Some popular excuses include: “that stuff makes me sick,” “I’d be suspended from the team/fired from work,” and “my parents would kill me if they found out.” Helping them through common obstacles like this will help create a bond between you and them, and also show them that you can relate to the things they may be going through at this point in their lives.

Safe Storage from Them

With all of these laws changing and edibles about to become legal this fall, it’s important to know how to keep your products safe from those who shouldn’t be consuming, including youth and pets. This is very important because otherwise, it can lead to unexpected hospitalization or vet visits. Something great that the licensed producers already do is ship your cannabis in child-proof containers to prevent any accidents, but storing it in a safe place away from all other members of your family is also key to ensuring nothing happens. Keeping it in locked containers or safes, especially out of reach of small children, will help ensure that no one is harmed. There are even some producers who have discreet storage places like in clocks or in special cupboards and drawers.

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