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Grandparents Teach, too

Difficult conversations important

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Are parent and child conversations getting harder and more important than ever? Every stage of growth requires important conversations. Along the way your family has surrounded children with what Communities That Care call Protective Factors and conversations, researched proven ways to prevent problems before they start. They include:

Providing a strong family unit that works together, learning a moral order, emotional control, and being volunteers to help others and receiving praise and hugs, learning a positive helpful view toward other people.

Providing opportunities for prosocial involvement in the community like Scouts, sports, Y, 4-H, faith based clubs, and giving recognition for prosocial involvement.

At school having opportunities for participation in prosocial learning, volunteering, working hard, helping in many activities nurturing talents and potential, and receiving recognition.

Learning before conversing

And then comes the kicker. Your fifth grader is using marijuana THC and it is not like the any marijuana before. Families can go to government sites like drugabuse.gov, learnaboutsam. org, and ccu.edu for trusted information to be knowledgeable before these new conversations. Google images “brains on marijuana” has images of THC effects on the brain.

Here is a sample of information: A child’s brain, including middle school, high school and beyond is still developing and highly susceptible to the chemical changes that occur in the body when substances, like THC are introduced. It can affect decision making, concentration, and memory for days after use, especially in people who use marijuana regularly.

Some impacts include: Reduced school performance. Students who use marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school than non- using peers. Usage affects attention, memory, and learning lasting for days or weeks. Children who start young are 4-7 times more likely to develop dependency. They are significantly less likely than non-using peers to finish high school or a degree.

Research suggests that people who use marijuana regularly for a long time are less satisfied with their lives and have more problems with friends and family compared to people who do not use marijuana.

Marijuana impairs driving. It affects skills required for safe driving–alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time, judging distance, and reaction to signs. It’s not safe to drive high or to ride with someone using. High school seniors who use marijuana are twice as likely to receive a traffic ticket and 65% more likely to get into an accident.

Marijuana potency, measured by the percentage of THC found in confiscated samples, has risen from an average of 3.8% in the 90’s to more than 50% to 80% and greater THC content today. For every tax dollar taken in, taxpayers spend $4.50 on consequences.

Parent and child education and conversations may be the greatest of protective factors. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.