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If you want your kids to stay away from marijuana, stay honest with them. Don't get involved in a deep discussion of your past drug use, but make the point that marijuana today is much stronger and more dangerous than it was a few decades ago. Tell the truth about your experiences, but be clear about what risks you took and what consequences you experienced. As part of your guidance to children about the dangers of modern adolescence, set and maintain an expectation that your children will not use this or any other illegal drug.
Current thinking on preventing drug abuse is that parents play a critical role -- "parents, the anti-drug," as the commercials say. You can't control other adults' behavior, but you can set a good example. If you turn to a glass of wine after a rough day, let your kids also see you find other ways to deal with stress.
Connection with your kids is key to preventing drug abuse. Many teens use drugs because they feel disconnected from friends, society, or themselves. A strong parent-child relationship includes knowing where your children are and who they're with, establishing reasonable limits, listening to daily stresses and larger issues, and time spent simply being together.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|