Cannabis & Children: The Dos and Don’ts of Being a Canna-Parent
Now that legalization is helping remove the stigma from responsible cannabis users, many parents are finally free to choose their own medicine and consume it in the comfort of their home. Does this make them bad at raising children? Unless they are using cannabis for all the wrong reasons, absolutely not.
Of course, no underaged child should be exposed to bad influence, nor tempted to make poor choices.
But if cannabis actually makes you a better parent, whether because it allows you to function without anxiety and stress or because it helps you relieve physical pain, then there are ways to make it a part of your family life without clouding your children’s judgment and influencing their own point of view.
Here’s what to do and what not to do as a levelheaded canna-parent.
Do: Use Cannabis Responsibly
The thing that separates a responsible cannabis user from a typical substance abuser is the ability to assess whether or not the need for consumption actually exists. So, before you fire up a joint in your living room, ask yourself will it truly help you and how. Smoking for the sake of smoking is abuse.
If you do use cannabis because it helps you improve your quality of life, then use it with care. Don’t smoke in front of your children and keep it out of their reach in child resistant packaging. Also, track your moods and behaviors when you smoke, and make sure that it doesn’t make you unproductive.
Don’t: Put Your Children at Risk
It just goes without saying – never put your children at risk when you smoke.
That’s why keeping tabs on your after-smoking behavior is so important in the first place. Of course, you’d never do anything to hurt your child on purpose. But still, consuming cannabis might make you sleepy or sedated, and you might not be able to think clearly or act fast when your kids need you to.
The general rule of thumb here is to dose carefully and use only those strains that don’t temper with your judgment and motor skills. In case you need something more potent for relieving pain or sleeping better, talk to your partner about effective strategies. One of you will have to be a designated parent.
Do: Explain What You’re Doing
Not smoking in front of your children doesn’t mean that you must continue the cycle of cannabis stigmatization. If you are a canna-parent, a responsible thing to do would be to explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Otherwise, your kids will know that their parents are hiding something.
Instead of having to guess what that is and thinking up the most frightening scenarios, your kids can be introduced to the world of cannabis while forming their own opinions about it. Keep yourself educated and explain to your children that cannabis must be treated for what it is – a medicinal plant.
Don’t: Argue with Complainers
You have to know that not all parents are as liberal as you are. Some of them will condemn what you’re doing, which may lead to ugly gossip that can hurt your child. If they confront you about your choices, don’t try to prove to these people that you are a good role model for your kids; just be one.
Being a good role model implies not arguing with other people about something that’s just not their business. If they are rude and vocal about stigmatizing your children and you as a parent, then invite them to your home and have a productive conversation about how cannabis helps you in parenting.
Do: Give a Lesson on Discretion
Because stigmatization hurts responsible users the most, they are usually very public about their choices and very involved in the peaceful promotion of the plant’s health benefits. Being a canna-parent means that these days are over for you. Stop beating this battle and pass the torch to new generations.
Even if smoking is legal in your country, anti-cannabis organizations may still hurt your reputation as a parent. As this can make your kids’ emotional development and social life difficult by extension, talk to them about the importance of being discreet and keeping certain things inside of the family circle.
At the end of the day, thinking and acting like an adult is the most important thing about being a canna-parent. As a grown person with a fully developed mind, you have a responsibility towards your kids and yourself. That responsibility should be your number one priority, so always think before you act.
Or in this case, before you smoke.