When you find out that your child is using pot, this news can be heartbreaking and confusing. Whether you caught your son smoking pot, found paraphernalia in your daughter’s room or they came home clearly high — you may be wondering what to do or if you should do anything at all.
No matter your personal feelings about marijuana, it’s important to be open with your son or daughter who smokes weed. Early drug use carries many dangers, and an honest and thoughtful discussion about cannabis use can address this problem before it gets out of hand.
If you’re unsure how to help your child stop using marijuana, here are some suggestions on how to open a dialogue and create an action plan for how to stop your child from smoking weed.
Should I Let My Child Smoke Weed?
As the movement to legalize marijuana spreads across the nation, teenagers are increasingly at risk of experimenting with pot. As a parent, it can be difficult to navigate this terrain since more news and medical reports espouse the drug’s benefits.
Marijuana is not safe for children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to encourage their children to avoid pot use in all its forms — including smoking, vaping and edibles. Studies show that using cannabis during these formative years can lead to abnormalities in their brain’s development and have long-term and lasting effects on the brain’s maturation and functioning. Not to mention, inhaling pot smoke or vapor will have a serious impact on the lungs and airways.
6 Tips on What to Do if Your Teenager Is Smoking Pot
1. Talk It out With Someone Else First
Whether you had an inkling your child was smoking weed, or you know for sure your son smokes weed, you’re bound to have strong emotions. From anger to fear, these feelings are completely understandable.
As you work through your emotions, find a trusted person you can talk to about your next steps. It could be your spouse, your child’s other parent, a friend, a pediatrician or even a mental health professional. This person can act as a sounding board as you come up with your next steps.
2. Have the Inevitable Sit Down With Your Teenager
Instead of harsh threats or a domineering attitude, try coming to your child with a desire to understand. By asking questions, you can get the information you need far easier than with a condescending or angry attitude.
Choose a comfortable place where you can have a heart to heart, whether it’s over breakfast or during a car ride with just the two of you.
3. Try to Understand Why Your Child Is Using
You may feel tempted to focus on the behavior, but something is going on underneath the surface that’s pushing your child to smoke pot. While your overall goal is to get them to quit, try to understand the emotional or social issues informing their decision. Reasons could include:
- Peer pressure or peer acceptance
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Belief that marijuana is harmless
- Problems sleeping
- And more
4. Express Your Feelings
If you caught your son smoking pot and are wondering what to do, tell your teenager straight out that you do not approve of them using marijuana. Be sure to include your reasoning, such as fear of them getting arrested, health concerns and whatever else is on your mind.
5. Set a Family Drug Policy and Establish Consequences
Now that your child knows that drug use is unacceptable, you can explain the consequences if they choose to disregard your family drug policy. This could include an early curfew, inability to go out with friends, or even home drug tests if necessary. You may also want to establish rewards for positive behavior if you notice your child has really taken what you’ve said to heart.
6. Admit Your Child Into an Addiction Treatment Program
If things have reached the breaking point, an adolescent substance abuse treatment program may offer your child their greatest hope for recovery. At Gateway, our teenage rehabilitation center specializes in working with young people who struggle with addiction. We provide individualized treatment programs that allow teenagers to continue their studies while getting the help they need.
If you need advice about how to speak to your child about pot use, or you’d like to learn more about our caring and compassionate facility, contact us today.