Marijuana vs. Alcohol: What to Say to Your Teen When They Say Weed is Safer

marijuana vs alcohol

When it comes to talking to your teen about marijuana and alcohol, it’s not always easy to know what to say.

For example, what should you say if your teen asked you, “Would you rather I drink alcohol? Weed is so much safer.”

First, instead of getting rattled by your teen’s question, try posing a question back. (This can also act as a buffer while you think about how to phrase your answer.) Try something like: “What is going on in your life that makes you feel like you want to do either?”

Your teen may likely mumble back, “Nothing” (or another one-word answer), but keep in mind that even the word “nothing” is an opportunity to lead to another supportive statement from you.

You can then try, “I’m glad to hear there isn’t anything going on in your life that makes you want to drink or smoke.”

You could also try asking your teen, “What do you know about brain development and how drugs — alcohol or marijuana both — affect your brain?” Any type of substances can adversely affect the teen brain when it hasn’t yet fully grown.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to say something along these lines: “Honestly, I don’t want you to be doing anything that can harm you — whether that’s smoking pot, cigarettes, drinking or behaving recklessly. I’m interested in knowing why you think weed is safer than alcohol.”

This type of sentiment reminds your teen that you care deeply about his health and well-being, and expresses genuine curiosity about his thought process. This might help him open up.

And that’s what it’s all about — engaging your teen so you can have ongoing, open and positive conversations. That’s how you’ll better understand the pressures he or she may be facing. And that’s how you can express your concern, support, and love. And while your teen may not admit it, deep down that’s something all teenagers want.

Marijuana Talk Kit

Learn more about what to say to your teen about marijuana when they ask the tough questions.

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    April 15, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    Marijuana has been proven safer than alcohol… that being said you need to get down to the root of the problem. Usually in teens, steady marijuana use is due to an emotional factor or a type of mental instability. That being said if it is being used for medicinal purposes like pain, anorexia, etc. Explain that they are not of age and once they are old enough they can make that decision themself. Offer alternative medicines for the problem they believe they need marijuana for. And lastly, parents opinions will not stop them. This battle can not be won. Especially with the legalization of medical marijuana and the recreational use being legalized slowly around the country. Study up before you talk about this with your children, because they will have fact from studies showing your wrong.

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    April 14, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    Great question!

    Your teen will most likely have an arsenal of very compelling points and arguments that are pro-marijuana use. One of the most important things to remember as a parent is that this is not a debate. Your goal should not be to convince your teen that he shouldn’t use marijuana or that it is as harmful as alcohol.

    Instead, it is to show your teen that you love him; that you care about what the emotion or thought is behind the harmful behavior (i.e. boredom, anxiety, depression, fitting in, self-esteem, etc.) just as much as the behavior itself. By asking your teen why he thinks one is safer than the other, you are collecting information about why he finds marijuana compelling to use while also making him think about why alcohol is harmful.

    By not addressing which you think is safer or engaging in a rebuttal to your teen’s rational and factual explanation, you are showing that the point is irrelevant to you — you don’t want him doing either because of the unique risks involved with substance use at his age.

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    April 9, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    This is a great article and I think your talk kit is a great idea. It is very important to have the drug conversation with your teens as early as you can so that they can be aware of the dangers. It seems like the kids these days that are experimenting with drugs are getting younger and younger. It is very scary, but because of sites like yours parents can be aware of how to handle having important conversations such as this one and the steps to take to educate their teens on drugs.

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