I want us to talk about teenage marijuana use and how to keep your children safe in a world that normalizes it’s use. Schools are on holidays and children are home. Many observant parents use this period in discovering unsettling truths about their teenagers from drugs, sexual activity or cultism (yes, even for the secondary school students). The cases around teenage marijuana use has become unsettling and seeing the level of desensitization around this topic does not help either.
Firstly, don’t get me started on the medicinal uses of Marijuana because we have researched, released publications and spoken on this as well. Today we will be focusing on our adolescents and teenagers. After all, I believe that even a parent who uses marijuana for whatever reason deep down does not want their child dependent on it.
It goes by many names Marijuana, Mary-J, weed, pot, dope, grass. They’re all different names for the same drug that comes from the cannabis plant. Smoke it, vape it, drink it or eat it, weed is still weed. Many now use it for relaxation or pleasure thereby desensitizing the society on it’s harmful side-effects. Drug Abuse in teenagers is a growing concern. The only way to even begin to prevent this occurrence is by having candid conversations around the topic with your ward.
Connecting with a teenager or adolescent during their formative years is important but many parents and guardians struggle to achieve this only after the emergence of a deadly habit. – Temple Obike
Connecting with your kids and making them free to have all kinds of conversations with you is a sure-fire way of reducing their chances of involvement with drugs or making mistakes. This activity must be carried out even up until their university days and we’ll into their adult life anytime the chance avails itself. An effort must be put into understanding their social and extracurricular events. This level of monitoring (it may not sound nice but it is beneficial in the long-run) can wield a measure of influence on the child positively.
WAYS TO STOP TEENAGERS FROM USING MARIJUANA
Build-up Their Self-confidence
As a dad of 3 amazing adolescents and 1 newbie teenager, i believed that the first step was for me to even get this children to become confident. I wouldn’t always be there but i could leave a mind-set that allows them make certain decisions based on what they know and not what someone thinks of them or asked them to do. This is one of the main reasons individuals get into drug use due to peer pressure.
The your teenage always ensure that you do the following;
- Engage in conversations about topics of interest.
- Show them failure is not final and let them watch you recover from mistakes.
- Encourage decision-making on their part
- Listen when they voice their opinions.
- Support team activities for them.
- Exemplify “healthy” giving and reception of compliments
- Always praise efforts but don’t celebrate mediocrity.
- Demonstrate positive self-talk for them
With these, you are well on your way to having kids who are very confident.
Have Regular Conversations With Them
Having a fairly regular conversation around “taboo topics” with your adolescents is going to be one of your biggest strategies in ensuring that they do not use marijuana or any other drug. Tell them about various strains, it’s medicinal use and the adverse side effects of using it.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and more than 39% of it’s users started before Senior Secondary 1 class.
Any question from your kid that gives you the opportunity to delve into the adverse effects of drugs MUST be taken.
Discuss it’s Adverse Effects & Risks
The media has desensitized the populace especially children, adolescents and teenagers on the adverse effects of drug use. With different countries legalizing marijuana, many teens assume it is safe.
The celebrities and influencers haven’t also helped in passing this message across because it is mostly “glorified” in white light as something relied upon for depth and inspiration. Marijuana like other substances such as coffee, alcohol, steroids, cigarettes’ etc. is always going to be dangerous if used recreationally. Legal does not always mean safe. This is the mantra you must entrench in their minds because that’s the angle peer pressure will mostly be introduced from.
Marijuana will alter your sense of judgement, predispose you to risky sexual activity, affect your motor coordination, induce psychosis and amplify paranoia. Take it as both a professional and experiential advice from someone who was once a youth and faced peer pressure on a local and international scale.
– Temple Obike
Tell your teenager that their brain is still developing and Marijuana use will impair their brain function. this happens because it changes the development pattern and leads to a potential addiction. Tell them their short-term memory will be affected making it difficult for them to retain what they’ve learnt. What this means in the long run is that the teenager will struggle with learning and this increases their chances of giving up on education.
Simply put, Marijuana is an IQ assassin.
It’s A Plant So Can’t Do No Harm (That’s not True)
This is one of the points that would be raised by their friends or others trying to lure them into this lane. Make your teenager understand that the fact marijuana is a plant does not make it safe. There are many dangerous plants used for medicinal purposes.
Some ingredients in cannabis are very psychoactive (mind-altering), but others are not. The processing and growth factors relied upon by the manufacturer/farmer is what determines how potent or balanced the plant is. It is therefore not farfetched to believe that a local street dealer would go for the finest strain. This is the reason you have it come with menacing street names such as Igbo! Kpoli ! Kush! Deaf! Eja! Pot! Weed! Ganja! Hemp! Dope! Grass! Reefer! Ewe! Oja! Wee-Wee! (Feel free to expand).
Know Who Their Friends Are
This is one of the most important things you could do for your child. Do not stop at the image their friends sell to you. Get to know their parents, their home set-up, value systems etc. Make your home open for friends to come visit (all genders). Watch the dynamics of their relationship. Does your teenager suddenly forget everything you taught them, act mean to their siblings, lose themselves, become less confident in the presence of this friend? Sorry to sound overbearing and while i believe that you can only do what you can do, I also know that with kids, your opportunities for impact dwindle as they get older.
It’s becoming a bit too frequent in my practice to see clients sit down and surprisingly bash a parent who was too nice. The one who allowed them get away with everything suddenly becomes the enemy.
After you have noticed everything you need to know about their friends, you can then suggest (not enforce) who you believe is a good option for them. This is one of the true tests of how highly they trust your input. Teach them that the real qualities to look out for when choosing a friend are loyalty, respect, honesty and integrity. Personally, I love all these qualities but won’t pretend that a kid who loves God automatically fits into our household. A good friend could support your kid at a time when they need someone else to be strong for them and this is why you must be sure of who they mix up with.
Rules, Limits and discipline are a Must
Many parents who raised kids who are now in my current age bracket made loads of mistakes. However these mistakes are things most of these children can look back at now and laugh about. In contrast, it beats me on how a generation who is obviously informed, read, exposed and more suddenly threw away one of the most important things that made them the people they are becoming today. Rules and Limits.
A walk through the mall and you see a kid punching a parent for denying them an opportunity to have candy. In a desperate attempt at conviction you suddenly then hear the parent shouting in the best accent money can buy on the kid. In a bid to maybe convince everyone around on the level of effort they put in at home. The real issue is that the first lesson was lost. You do not take unless mama or papa gives their permission. Those are rules and limits. It comes first. – Temple Obike
As much as i will never be caught trying to give my “not-sought-for” opinion on how another parent should raise their kids, it’s heart-breaking seeing kids being praised for mediocre achievement. Kids not getting spanked a little for bad behavior because it’s no longer cool. Wow! We think the world is filled with narcissists’ but it’s painful seeing spouses who claim their partners are narcissists raising the next super-generation of narcissists. Parents, rules, limits and discipline when necessary are still a MUST.
Here are some rules that could help you ensure that you’re not to out of the joint with your teenagers development;
- Let’s create a code that once you say it, I will know you are in danger and need me to help you exit somewhere e.g Calling me and saying “Daddy, are we still going? Ok i am ready”
- Do not allow friends come to the house if i or your mum are not home (this helps with curbing sexual abuse too).
- A no uncles/aunties home once the kids hit ages 5 and above (sad as it sounds but that’s the reality of the times)
- We need at least 48 hours to allow sleep-overs. This allows me talk to the other parents and check out the situation before giving my consent. (personally, my kids do not sleep in no-ones house until they are of age).
- If you go out, your location must be activated and your Life360app must be active
- If there will be no parent at the party, you are not going
- Memorize your parents phone numbers and recite it before going out.
- Always give me the address of ANYWHERE you will be going to.
- Whatever movies/shows you watch MUST be run through mum and dad
- Whatever songs you listen to MUST be age-appropriate and because it’s trending or known by everyone else in school still does NOT make it okay.
Setting rules is important but administering punishments when they are broken will make your teens more likely to adhere to family rules. On the other hand, reward good choices sparingly when your teen makes them.
Enlist for Drug Prevention Programs
Getting involved in drug abuse prevention programs in your community or your child’s school is a key step to curbing this menace. Most of these programmes will randomly test participants on a monthly basis and this keeps teens accountable. Even when under pressure by peers, they would most likely not indulge because they do not want to fail random drug tests.
SIGNS YOUR TEENAGER MAY BE ON DRUGS
These signs come as either behavioral or physical indicators. Many parents in therapy mention that they didn’t see the signs that something was wrong with their teenager despite the fact that the teenager would have exhibited both types of signs. These signs are a whole lot and just one of them is enough to get your antenna’s up. Missing out on all of them is simply carelessness:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Ignoring or breaking curfew
- Acting irresponsibly
- Frequently asking for money
- Locking bedroom doors
- Making secretive calls
- Isolating from others/damaging relationships with family or friends
- Making excuses (or outright lying)
- Withdrawing from classroom participation/slipping in grades
- Resisting discipline or feedback
- Missing school or work
- Losing interest in hobbies or activities
- Abandoning long-time friends
- Poor hygiene/change in appearance
- Glazed or bloodshot eyes
- Frequent runny nose or nosebleeds
- Paranoia, irritability, anxiety, fidgeting
- Changes in mood or attitude
- Difficulty staying on task/staying focused
- Small track marks on arms or legs (wears long sleeves even in warm weather)
- Pupils larger or smaller than usual
- Cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands
- Sores on mouth
- Puffy, swollen face
- Extremely tired or extremely hyperactive
- Rapid weight gain or loss
Well, this article may have been a buzz-kill but trust me when i say it was absolutely necessary. Primary school kids are now being introduced to marijuana, tramadol, hemp etc. The world we live in today is so spontaneous that you can’t protect these kids enough. They must be armed with the truth that will allow them make good decisions for themselves. Regardless of where you are at this moment, I can guarantee you that less than 2 miles from you is a dealer who knows at least 1 person who knows your teenager.
If you’d like to speak with someone regarding your teenagers drug use or behavioral issues, feel free to contact us via email.