Raising kids in a state that recently legalized cannabis for adult use means answering a new set of questions. Portland writer Beth Slovic figured this out when her four-year-old wanted to know what the green cross that she saw on the way home from school meant. Aware of the need to stay informed, Slovic sought out a few people who might have an opinion on the matter. One was a Ph.d who specializes in child and adolescent psychology. The other was Splimm cofounder and former classroom teacher Jenn Lauder.
The coolest thing? We, for the most part, agree! Be honest with your kids, but don’t overwhelm them with knowledge they aren’t ready for. The older they get, the more nuanced their understanding becomes, and the better prepared they are to “just say wait.” When children receive accurate information in a sensitive way from the most important adults in their lives, they’re more likely to make good choices than if they’re kept in the dark or misinformed about cannabis.
The Pot Shop Around the Corner
Late last year, Jenn Lauder and her husband, Chad Dean, launched Splimm.com, recognizing that parents who consume marijuana products represented an untapped market in the burgeoning industry. Lauder, 37, and Dean, 39, also felt huge stigmas attached to parents who partake of recreational weed — stigmas born of false assumptions about the typical consumer that didn’t fit their own image as highly functional and super-responsible parents. “We’re not just hanging out in our basement getting high,” Lauder said.
Lauder and Dean wanted to dispel the stereotypes — and have fun, too. An educator who used to teach elementary school, Lauder comes at the topic of pot and parenting earnestly. She thinks parents ought to feel comfortable talking to their children about cannabis use in age-appropriate ways. And, she said, “Kids need the language to describe the things they’re seeing and hearing.”
That doesn’t mean parents should give their children license to experiment with what they’re seeing and hearing and smelling. In fact, Lauder’s approach can be summed up in three simple words: “Just say wait.”