Discovering that your child has a weed problem can be shattering. Research shows that many youths going into rehab list weed as their first choice drug. Since 2007, weed use among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders has been going up yearly, monthly and daily. This despite the fact that in the U.S., weed use is illegal for anyone below the age of 21. However, the youths are unsure about how to quit smoking weed on their own. And without help, they risk being initiated into the broader drug culture, and developing psychosis. A UCLA study revealed that there were 50 percent more psychotic episodes among those who began taking weed from a young age, than among those who began taking it as adults. So the benefits of quitting weed are obvious.

If you’re worried about your child suffering the long-term consequences of weed dependence, here are tips I believe will be of use to you:

1.  Identify the Problem

Firstly, I think it’s important to establish that your child has a weed problem. Here are some pointers:

  • Anger and violence
  • Depression, insomnia, poor appetite
  • Poor memory
  • Poor school performance
  • Brushes with the law
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Lack of motivation

This underage weed dependence has been associated with mental disorder, bullying, failure to ‘fit in’, fear and parental pressure to perform academically. Learn more here.

2.  Stay Engaged

Your involvement is crucial in getting your child to open up to discussion. Without a sense of the security that you can provide, I don’t see how your child can learn how to stop smoking weed.

Be Patient

Your child’s path to addiction was a process. And learning how to quit smoking weed will be tough too.  So allow them to proceed at their own pace.

Prepare Fully

Parents tell me that they achieved big when they have a clear plan for continued communication, for enforcing and monitoring the set rules, and for applying the consequences for rule violation.

Lead by Example

If you want to seriously teach your child how to stop smoking weed, I suggest you maintain the boundaries you’ve set. And if you’re weed dependent, yourself, don’t indulge in front of your kid. Better still, work on your weed problem. This way you’ll be representative of the behavior you expect from your child.

3.  Initiate Interaction

Parents tell me that the more informal the meetings, the less the tension. You could converse while on a walk, or while sitting side by side in the garden.  It’s important to listen and be empathetic so you can fully communicate the benefits of quitting weed.

I suggest you open dialog by asking your child’s permission to hear them speak. This will give your child a sense of empowerment and may encourage more openness.

Example:

  • May I know what you feel about …?

I’ve found that thought-provoking open-ended questions enrich this type of dialog.

Example:

  • When you see … how do you feel?

In my experience, leading questions don’t work. They get you the answers you want but these won’t necessarily be genuine.

Example:

  • Don’t you think/realize/feel/ that you should …?

Avoid the following antagonizing expressions:

  • You should/can’t …
  • I want/need you to …
  • It’s stupid to …
  • I don’t like …

 

Do use these friendly sounding approaches that show empathy and deep concern:

  • I’m interested in finding out why …
  • We’re worried /concerned …
  • I’m sorry you feel …
  • Life has many drawbacks … it’s difficult to make the right choices
  • I’m getting the sense that …

To signal you’re listening and are on the same page, use words like:

  • Am I on the right track?
  • Is there something I’ve missed?

Suggest ways he or she can cope with life’s pressures without recourse to weed.

Example:

  • Can we talk about other things you can do that are healthier than weed and can help you feel even better?”

Each time you make progress in instilling the benefits of quitting weed, thank your child for being honest.

4.  Keep the Child Active

If your child admits to taking weed for the buzz, get him or her involved in activities that up the adrenaline. If the weed is taken to curb anxiety, get the child involved in activities that induce calm such as mindfulness and yoga.

Engagement in problem-solving tasks is another diversion. Learning how to stop smoking weed in this way, helps the child to develop into a confident self-assured person who solves problems the healthy way.

5.  Enforcing Consequences

If your child violates your laid down rules, enforce penalties. Ground them, cut the money supply, take away the car, or make them do difficult chores. Older children who have brushes with the law, should face the consequences including jail time or license suspension. Then they’ll later see how their weed record stops them getting a college place, job or apartment. This is shock therapy on how to quit smoking weed.

6.  Get Outside Help

If your child remains hostile and uncommunicative, I would suggest professional help. Even if you’ve had some success, the full benefits of quitting weed are more obvious with this help. Your doctor can direct you to reputable inpatient and outpatient centers. You can also arrange for counseling, support group meetings, and help from teachers and other family. Without all this help, the relapse rate is said to be 80 percent.

7.  Put Pen to Paper

If you still have trouble getting through to your child, I suggest you write a letter. Many parents tell me they communicate better in writing and can express raw emotion while letting their concern and protective instincts shine through. If you get a reply, even better. You may be able to use your letters as a springboard for more interaction.