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Having The Drug Talk With Your Teen

Having the “drug talk with your teen” has become increasingly problematic recently as more states allow medical marijuana or simply decriminalize its use. Conversations about marijuana and other drugs between parents and their children have become “extraordinarily complicated,” according to Steven Pasierb, president of the Partnership at

The legalization and medical use of marijuana have “created a perception among kids that this is no big deal. You need a calm, rational conversation, not yelling and screaming, and you need the discipline to listen to your child,” said Pasierb.

Experts caution parents to be honest about the dangers of drug use, including marijuana, and the possibility of becoming addicted to drugs, while still being aware that children are listening for cues from their parents. There is, however, the perception that marijuana is an innocuous drug, void of any negative effects or consequences.

“Parents know a lot more about what they’re talking about, and kids probably suspect that their parents did this when they were younger and didn’t get in trouble with drugs. There’s still hypocrisy, but the level of honesty and frankness in the parent-child dialogue about marijuana is increasing every year,” said Ethan Nadelman, the executive director of Drug Policy Alliance.

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