Mother Knows Best: Parenting on Pot


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Dear Mother,

Do you ever use cannabis during the day to calm yourself down and make you more patient if your children are being especially challenging?

— M.L.

Hi M.L.,

This is a question that I get a lot, and I’m happy to answer it using my own experience and those of families I know. However, the number one rule I have for parenting applies to this question as well: Every parent and every family is different and whatever works for one family may not work for another. This goes for all things parenting, from discipline and feeding methods, to sleeping methods and more—including cannabis use!

I actually stopped using cannabis the first couple of years after having my son. I was already so exhausted and drained that I didn’t need help falling asleep, and remarkably, my anxiety was at an all-time low.

Now my son is almost in middle school and times have changed. I have a prescription for medical marijuana to combat debilitating anxiety. So, I do use cannabis during the day, but that’s to combat the anxiety. Some of that anxiety does bubble up from parenting-related issues/concerns, so you can definitely say that I use marijuana to help myself parent better.

When I’m not anxious I’m a much more present and available parent and can handle all sorts of challenges with more grace than if I’m in panic mode. To that degree, cannabis does help me be a better parent.

There are also times when it’s been a long day or week and I use cannabis to relax and unwind—much like many parents turn to a glass of wine or bottle of beer to relax. That occurs when most of the parenting is done for the day, though. This seems to be the prefered routine for many of my fellow parents who puff. They treat cannabis use similarly to alcohol consumption.

I do, however, know plenty of parents—hardworking professionals—who do use cannabis as a parenting aid. Many who have demanding day jobs use it on the weekend to help them relax and be 100 percent present for their children, instead of dwelling on work-related concerns. Other parents I know who have toddlers and/or teens (very similar behavioral challenges!) use it to get through just one more round of Chutes and Ladders or to simmer down after a particularly frustrating “discussion” with an older child.

Using marijuana to help be a better parent isn’t inherently a bad thing at all. In fact, many parents derive substantial benefits from it! However, if you find yourself *needing* cannabis all the time in order to parent, you should take a look at your usage to see if you might have a problem. It could be a red flag indicating something more severe going on. Also, if you find yourself spending more time with your bong than your baby, you might want to reevaluate your priorities.

Cannabis can make parenting a more pleasant experience for everyone, so long as it doesn’t become something a parent depends on and doesn’t take precedence over safety or genuine, quality time together.

— Mother

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