You don’t need all the answers, just a willingness to talk and listen. Open, non-judgmental conversations about marijuana promote your teenager’s safety and health.

What is and isn’t okay as an adult? How does that look different for children and why? What religious beliefs, family history or other experiences inform your values? Get on the same page as your co-parent so you can be consistent with rules and expectations.

When and where you approach your child will set the tone for your conversation. Look for blocks of time where you can talk without the distraction of electronic devices. Go for a walk, clean up after dinner together or shoot hoops. You’ll have less eye contact when you’re active, and your child won’t feel like they are under a microscope.

Share your values with your child, and let them know what your expectations are when it comes to marijuana.

Ask your child what they think about marijuana, or if they know anyone at school who’s using it already. Ask open ended questions to avoid yes or no answers. Keep an open mind. If you remain curious and calm, your child is more likely to be receptive to what you have to say.

Let your child know you are listening by using phrases such as:

“It seems like you’re feeling…”
“I hear you say you’re feeling…”
“Am I right that you’re feeling…”

If they have questions, try your best to answer them. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers. If you come up against something you don’t know, research the answer together.

Consider making a written or verbal contract about your expectations when it comes to marijuana, and outline the consequences for breaking the rules.

Even if your child doesn’t use marijuana now, they may at some point. Help them think through what to do if they’re ever in a tricky situation such as:

“What would you do if someone offered you marijuana?”
“What would you do if you or a friend got too high and might be in danger?”
“What would you do if your driver gets high?”
“How do you think being high could impact your ability to ask for or give consent?”

Remind them that they can always call you for a ride or use you as an excuse to reject peer pressure. They can say “I’ll get in a lot of trouble with my parents if I do that” or “I’m supposed to be home soon”.

If you and other adults in the household use marijuana in front of children and teens, consider limiting use in front of them and locking up all substances in the home. Explaining your use as an adult can start the conversation about your expectations for them as a child.