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How Do I Reconcile Pot and Parenting? 

By David Dickerman

   When a person becomes a parent, he or she often feels like there is a significant loss of personal identity. Individual desires and goals once used to guide behavior, but now there is another life to consider. Actions no longer impact just yourself but also others. A lot of parents feel like they have to make significant changes to their lifestyle in order to be “responsible.” While it is true that you cannot go out at all hours and have to put someone else’s needs in front of your own, there comes a time when the child becomes more independent and you must reclaim that sense of self in order to be a better model for your child. 
    I have always loved marijuana. It has balanced me out, given me pleasure, and strengthened relationships that I value to this day. That said, I always wanted to be a dad and when I became one, I felt that I could not reconcile these two aspects of my life. If I did anything to jeopardize or hurt my children, I could not live with myself. As I grew as a parent, I realized that the two were not mutually exclusive. Have my behaviors and relationship with marijuana changed? Sure. I am fully aware that sometimes are more appropriate to smoke than others when children are in the picture. That said, it does not make me lazy but rather helps me be more engaged/patient, focus less on the negative, and appreciate all the good that is in my life. 
    The question has now become; how do I discuss it with my children when the time comes? As I gained a small shred of wisdom, my focus moved away from if it is good or bad and more towards how I want my children to relate to it or any substance. As a parent the eternal struggle is whether to forbid something and make it enticing out of a desire to rebel, or permit experimentation and worry constantly. Thus, my goal as a parent is to encourage moderation Of course there are limits to this approach. For example, I do not want my children to dabble in black tar heroin casually. That said, there are other substances that are often considered negative because of historical context and social stigma. My intention is not to isolate the substance and create allure, but to refer to it as I would anything in life whether it is food, drinking, or screen time. Teach them how to weigh all factors and make decisions for themselves. It may be a gamble, but if I help my children learn how to govern their behavior then I imagine that they could have a similar positive relationship with marijuana, should they choose to when the time comes.