you would like more tips on communication and parenting, visit
a Web site designed to help parents help kids stay safe and
drug-free. The site offers specific information about marijuana
and other drugs and a brochure called "Keeping Your Kids
Drug-Free: A How-to Guide for Parents and Caregivers,"
which may also be ordered by phone at 1-800-788-2800. Or call
Majken Whitaker (730-2503) or Kierstin Montaņo (365-8043), Hanover
County Intervention Counselors.
How to Tell Your Kids to Say No, Even if You Didn't
Marijuana: How to Tell Your Kids to Say No, Even if You Didn't
this: you're driving your child home one afternoon and she turns to you
and asks, "Mom, did you ever use marijuana when you were a
kid?" Or, you're helping your child with homework and he asks,
"Dad, did you smoke pot when you were in high school?"
is a question many parents hope to avoid. Unless the answer is an
unequivocal "no," it may be difficult to know what to say.
honest should you be? Phillippe Cunningham, a family therapist at the Medical University of
South Carolina, recommends an honest answer when a child asks about your
past. Otherwise, you risk losing credibility with your kids. "This
doesn't mean you should recount every detail of your high school or
college years," says Dr. Cunningham. "But use it as an
opportunity to talk with your child. Kids can learn a lot from their
if your child thinks that since you admitted to using marijuana and
you've grown up just fine it is okay for her to use marijuana, too?
The fact is, we all want what's best for our children. Today's marijuana
is more potent than it was a generation ago and more kids are using it
at a younger age, when their bodies and minds are developing. We also
know much more about the real risks of marijuana use, thanks to new
research. Parents can also draw on real-life examples of friends who had
trouble as a result of marijuana use, such as a friend who used
marijuana for years and lost interest in school, a fellow student who
failed to get a scholarship, or the neighbor who caused a car crash
if you are afraid of sounding like a hypocrite? "Do as I say, not as I do" has never been a
good method of parenting. Parents can emphasize that this discussion is
about your child's future, and not about your past. Even if you made
mistakes in the past, be clear you do not want your child to repeat
importantly, remember that when your child asks you about your past, he
or she has just opened the door for an ongoing dialogue about drugs. Use
this opportunity to talk to them about making good choices. Studies show
that parents are the single most powerful influence on their children's
decisions about drug use. Research affirms that parents who are involved
and talk to their kids about drugs are more likely to keep their kids
away from drugs.
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