Learn effective communication strategies when talking about cannabis with children and teens.
Talking to children and teens about cannabis is not a one-time event. Talk with your children early (around 10 years old or younger) and often about the risks and benefits of cannabis and other substance use, such as alcohol and tobacco. Try starting a conversation when you're in the car, out for a walk or if you see someone using cannabis.
An open, non-judgmental approach works best when talking about substance use. Avoid scare tactics and using negative, shaming language. If a child or teen feels like they are being judged or lectured, he or she is less likely to hear your message and open up to you. Stay calm and respectful, even if your child's opinion is different from your own. This can be difficult and takes practice! You don't have to be an expert, either. If there is something you don't know, look up the answer together.
The boundaries you set will be different depending on the age of your child. As your child gets older, talk about the possible impact that cannabis use could have on all major areas of their life, especially those that matter to them, like getting along with their friends, saving money or being a role model for others. Be open to hearing your teen's perspective.
While there are no perfect parents, if you model healthy behaviors around substance use, your child is more likely to follow your example.
Before the age of 25, the brain isn't fully developed, which means that using cannabis can have a negative effect on memory, learning, attention, judgment, and decision-making. Using cannabis can have an impact on performance at school, sports, and other activities.
If your teen is using cannabis, talk to them about:
If you are concerned about your teen's use of cannabis, connect with a Healthcare Provider for support or call Health Link at 811 (1-866-408-5465 for internet phone users) or the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322.
Whether or not they say it, your children care about your opinion. It matters and can help them to make healthier decisions. For more ideas on how to talk to children and teens about cannabis, check out the Cannabis Talk Kit.
Find out what to do if your teen asks you if you have used drugs before.