[spacer size="20"] Marijuana use in teens causes concern for parents. Commonly thought of as a "gateway drug," marijuana is believed to lead to harder drug use. Parents sometimes see behavioral changes or academic performance declining when teens begin experimenting with marijuana. Once pot use is confirmed, parents wanting to get their child to abstain will want to use private and public resources to help educate and provide assistance for their children. Get Your Child to Stop a Marijuana Habit Educate yourself. Obtain information from the DEA (see Resources below) to learn the difference between myths and facts about medical and recreational marijuana use. Make sure you are informed about the risks of pot smoking. Marijuana smoking has been linked to health conditions like emphysema and cancer, as well as mental health risks such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Also explain to your child the effect of marijuana use on short-term memory, which can affect standardized testing and school performance.
Consult with your spouse or partner as to how to handle a discussion with your teenager about pot. Make a plan together so that you're able to present a united front as you speak to your child. Talk through the problem together or with a marriage, family and child counselor (MFCC). Set ground rules to ensure that you have an honest and mutually respectful conversation with your teen about pot.
Determine the severity of your child's marijuana use to the best of your ability. Speak to your child about the number of times he has used marijuana. Create a non-judgmental atmosphere for the conversation. Ask him why he has used marijuana. Open a dialogue where your child can be honest.
Speak to an intervention counselor once you determine how involved your child's marijuana habit is. Intervention counselors are trained to handle habitual drug use. They will often know of the most appropriate rehabilitation solution for your child. They can also be helpful in staging an intervention where members of your family and circle of friends express their concern and encourage your child to enter rehab.
Perform routine drug testing on your child. You can purchase drug testing kits at local pharmacies or order them online. Make it clear to your child that you will be testing him regularly or after he returns home from parties or gatherings.
Find a free local recovery group to attend. Organizations such as Marijuana Anonymous may be useful for your child to attend with you to see where drug use leads and to learn coping mechanisms.
Get your child to talk to a certified counselor or psychologist. Look in your city's yellow pages for qualified counselors or ask a school guidance counselor about psychological referrals. Your insurance company can also make referrals for child and teen counselors in your area and coverage plan. Your child may be using marijuana to self-medicate for other psychological problems or simply because of social pressures or teenage stress. Marijuana use may be masking deeper issues that therapy can help resolve.
Obtain the names of drug rehabilitation programs. You can obtain referrals from the National Drug & Alcohol Treatment Line. You can also look in your yellow pages for programs or call your local crisis hot line listed in your phone book's government pages. Ask for drug rehabilitation program referrals. Ask specifically for outpatient programs if your child is still in school.
Encourage your child to place his energy into more positive activities. As teens begin to see the payoffs of hard work, sports, creativity, or socializing, they will be more apt to invest time in those activities beyond partying.