Column: How to talk to your kids about marijuana
Although I got vicarious pleasure from the American Dope Growers Union spoof on “Saturday Night Live” in 1977, my curiosity has never led me to sample marijuana, and I hope my preemptive talks with my 13-year-old son have persuaded him to confine HIS curiosity to more productive inquiries.
I bring this up because of a helpful ABC News story (“How To Talk To Your Kids About Pot”) by Dr. Carolyn Certo Gnerre. The article is a timely one because one in five Americans now live in a state where marijuana is legal without a doctor’s letter, a Yahoo-Marist poll reveals that half of American adults admit having used marijuana at least once in their lives and Canada is poised to become the first industrialized nation to legalize pot.
I recommend you Google the ABC story, but in the meantime I’ll supply my own tips on heart-to-heart talks about recreational weed.
If you’re going to take a fire-and-brimstone approach with your kids, don’t be TOO “over the top.” (“Marijuana leads to exposed ankles! And dancing the Charleston! And that legislation in Canada is just the first glimpse of the long-prophesied Four Mounties of the Apocalypse!”)
If you prefer to take a more nuanced, open-minded approach, just be aware that your youngsters may have already assembled a pro-puffing PowerPoint presentation. Don’t let your kids sway you with that stuff about being on “the right side of history.” It’s funny that they can cite details of which pharaohs and statesmen used marijuana but can’t remember where they last left their expensive cashmere sweater.
Don’t let your kids con you into believing that the dope is essential for their “spirituality.” Jesus appealed to those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” not those who “develop a case of the munchies for Funyuns and Mountain Dew.”
Watch out for the argument that marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. Such high praise! Too bad other products didn’t use the motto to boost their public image. (“The Ford Edsel: NOT a gateway drug!” “New Coke: NOT a gateway drug.” “Samsung Note 7...”)
If you’re afraid to say too much because you experimented with pot in your youth and don’t want to be called a hypocrite, at least being called a hypocrite is better than being called at 2 a.m. (“Dad, you’ll never guess where I am and what Spider expects for a pack of cigarettes...”)
If you are determined to relive your wayward youth through your children, give them a “heads up” on the focus of your talk. (“No, this isn’t about your slugging the track coach. Or about texting nude selfies to all county schools. It’s about a little herb that will help you shed your INHIBITIONS...”
If you insist on being the “cool” parent, at least mention that marijuana is a psychoactive drug that impacts brain development and can cause abnormalities until at least the age of 21. Just stay rooted in reality as you encourage your offspring. Remember the Army recruiting slogan: “Be a marginally acceptable level of all that you can be.”
And if you’re a hardcore current cannabis user/advocate, at least spare your kids the tired old “turned out fine” line.
(“My parents let all four of us partake of their stash and WE turned out fine. Four? No, wait -- there were five siblings. Dude, where’s my baby sister What’s-Her-Name????”)
Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.