With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, it’s safe to say many states may not be far behind. Profit margins and ability to tax are huge draws, and personally I’m interested in regulating and taxing a substance that people are already accessing. This does raise questions about how this will change marijuana’s social acceptance and how people choose to use. Instead of parents hiding in their bedrooms taking a hit off the old peace pipe, are they going to be smoking it openly in front of their kiddos? I’m not really sure I like that idea.
While I’m the first person to say it’s fun to go out with friends and have a couple of drinks, I’m also the first person to say there is something wrong if someone needs to alter their consciousness to handle the ins and outs of everyday life. And parenthood can be a very stressful time. Why wouldn’t people want to smoke some pot, vegetate on the couch and escape from these stressors? Its way easier than tackling some of the big, ugly feelings associated with parenting, like ambiguity, feeling trapped, aggravated and resentful at times.
In my time as a child protection worker, calls concerning parents using marijuana were the least of my worries. While these parents were probably not model parents, the safety issues were far lower. I was more concerned about homes where alcohol, methamphetamines, crack, and heroine were present. Parents were in a different dimension on these substances. Kids in these homes were getting neglected, physically, emotionally and sexually abused.
The research does exist supporting that parental substance use can disrupt attachment in children. Early attachment in children helps them to grow up with the ability to feel connection to other individuals, develop empathy and regulate their emotions in a healthy manner. However, depression, stress, sickness, neglect, etc. can all disrupt attachment too. So what’s safer? Zoning out and over feeding your kids Doritos or being so stressed you’re having a meltdown in front of your kids each day?
I don’t think there are any easy answers to these questions. I know personally, I don’t want my kids growing up seeing mommy and daddy getting high and escaping the sometimes drudgery of everyday life, but I don’t want them seeing us emotionally unhinged due to the stress of everyday life either. I want them to be inspired by life. I want them to experience a full range of emotions and know that they can handle these emotions in an appropriate and productive manner. I don’t want them using any drugs. I want them to alter their consciousness through travel, exercise, music, love, nature, etc. Ultimately, kids learn from their parents how to manage their emotions and I pray I’m teaching my kiddos to do this in a healthy way.