As Legalization Looms, Experts Say it’s Time to Talk to Your Kids Honestly About Pot

Article by CBC News

Bonnie Leadbeater and Cindy Andrew say "just say no" tactics aren't the way to go. Psychology and addictions specialists say parents should open up conversation instead of shaming their kids

With the promise of marijuana legalization just around the corner, experts say the scare tactics of yesteryear won’t work on modern kids.

‘Shift the conversation’

University of Victoria psychology professor Bonnie Leadbeater, who studies marijuana use in teens, said often young people simply aren’t aware of the risks surrounding the substance.

The way to teach them, she said, is to talk with them, not at them and to ask questions — what do they think about legalization, for instance? Do they think anything will change?

“This is the perfect time to bring up conversations about marijuana and to really find out what your kids think,” she said.

It can be uncomfortable at first, but Cindy Andrew, a consultant for the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., said parents might just have to suck it up.

“Lots of parents have the same struggles when it comes to talking about sexuality with our kids,” she said. “Like sexuality, the time to start that conversation isn’t when they’re teenagers in high school.”

Andrew said parents can capitalize on “teachable moments” — like news reports or real-life events involving weed — to start a conversation.

Read full article here.

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