Naughty or nice? Dealing with cannabis-related family conflict

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for some families, so if you decide to bring up tricky conversation topics like cannabis use, here's some tips on how best to approach it.

 

Christmas – does it send shivers down your spine or do you look forward to the chance to stuff yourself silly and do reindeer rides with your grandchildren? If you’re someone who doesn’t get on so well with your extended family, clashes with your children, or actively avoids family gatherings – it’s likely to bring on a sense of dread. Family conflict is an unfortunate by-product of the festive season – along with weight gain, depleted finances and a whole lot of washing up to do. There’s something about the froth and bubble surrounding our expectations of a harmonious and joyful Christmas that makes the reality of the day hard to stomach. If your family isn’t the one depicted singing carols around the tree on those sparkly Christmas cards, it can be a bit of a downer.

Is your child using marijuana?

Drug and alcohol use can be increased over the holiday period – and if your teenager or grown up son or daughter has a problem with marijuana, arguing about it at Christmas can cause a lot of frustration and angst for both you. If you’re a parent, it can seem like a good idea to make use of the time you have with your son or daughter to bring up the issue and make your feelings on the subject known. If you’re that son or daughter, it can feel like an attack. No doubt there are siblings or cousins who are more successful, virtuous or well-liked by the family, who seem to escape this yearly grilling. It can make Christmas one big pain in the neck for everyone.

Avoiding family conflict – discussing marijuana use without the tears

If you do want to talk about your son or daughter’s marijuana use with them, it’s a good idea to refrain from embarrassing them in front of other family members – and certainly not on special occasions like Christmas. Using ultimatums, judgemental comments or staging an ‘intervention’ are all unhelpful strategies which are likely to have your child running for the hills until next Christmas!

Offering support, encouragement and gently suggesting they seek help is going to be far more effective. Arming yourself with information, being concerned instead of critical, and expressing empathy about how hard it is to make a change are all ways to get through to your child. An important thing to remember is that at the end of the day, the decision to quit has to be theirs – they have to be personally motivated to do this in order to be more successful.

If you need a helping hand when talking to your child about their drug use, NCPIC has a range of videos demonstrating how to effectively discuss these issues with your child, as well as a booklet that you can order or download detailing similar useful strategies. We also offer a great helpline – so call our trained team to have a vent, get some advice or just to share your problem.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year from all of us here at NCPIC.

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