Did you know that one in five teens, aged between 15 and 19, have used cannabis in the past year? As a parent or guardian, it is important to talk with your teenager about drugs so that they have information and know where to go for help if they need it.
Teens may experiment with marijuana for various reasons including, to have fun, to fit in, or to try something new. While cannabis may make you feel relaxed and happy, Health Canada points out that it could have unpleasant, unwanted or negative effects on your brain and body.
Confusion, sleepiness, difficulty remembering things, concentrating or paying attention are among the short-term effects listed at Canada.ca/cannabis. While long-term use can affect your memory, concentration, and intelligence. Regular use of marijuana can lead to dependence, which causes users to have a very hard time stopping.
Teens may find they end up craving the drug and find themselves giving up important activities to use marijuana. If they stop using, they may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which can include irritability, anxiety, and changes in mood, sleep, and appetite.
Keeping the lines of communications open with your child, even when they are in elementary or middle school, in an honest and open way can prevent drug use in the future but knowing how to talk with your teen can be challenging. It helps if you can keep an open mind, put yourself in their shoes, be calm, aware of your body language, and… don’t lecture!
To help make the conversation easier, Drugfreekidscanada.org has made a “Cannabis Talk Kit. This informative tool includes; the risks, how to communicate, and what to say. Drug Free Kids Canada wants to educate, inspire and support parents to prevent substance abuse by youth.
Remember to be clear about your goals, be positive and use compassion. These skills take practice, so if the talk doesn’t go the way you hoped it might, remember that you will have other opportunities to try them.
If you suspect cannabis use in your teen, some signs to watch for include: declining school work or grades, changes in friends, less honesty and openness, and deteriorating relationships with family members. What it comes down to is that you know your teen best. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!
For more information on cannabis, visit Drugfreekidscanada.org.
Don’t forget to nominate someone who is making a difference in the region’s English-speaking community by August 25 for Townshippers’ Association’s two community leadership awards – the Outstanding Townshippers (OT) and Young Townships Leaders Award (YTLA).
The YTLA’s are candidates who are aged 15-35 years old and are changing their communities, while the OT’s are individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions to the Townships English-speaking community.
These two awards provide a chance for us to collectively thank those who are making a difference.
Details posted at www.Townshippers.org/Awards or contact Townshippers’ offices.
For more on Townshippers’ Association and our activities, keep reading this weekly column in The Record and visit our website www.Townshippers.org. You can also follow us on Twitter @Townshippers and Facebook.com/Townshippers. Connect with Townshippers’ offices in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen, 819-566-5717, toll-free: 1-866-566-5717, or Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll-free: 1-877-242-4421.
Published: Keeping in Touch column, Sherbrooke Record, Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Photo Caption: Keeping the lines of communications open with your teen in an honest and open way can prevent drug use in the future but knowing how to start the conversation can be challenging. Drugfreekidscanada.org has tools to make the conversation easier.