Skunk Cannabis — It is here and it is making its presence felt across the spectrum of society. Poor or wealthy, educated or illiterate, working class mum or high society darling — there is no hiding place from this high power version of the 'fun relaxation' drug we all once knew as marijuana. In my practice as a Cannabis Cessation Specialist I witness the unseen side of Skunk on a daily basis — and the trend looks set to continue. So what can you do as a concerned parent when you discover that one of your offspring has begun an association with Skunk?
Do not Panic — The natural parental reaction can be loosely classified as 'panic'. It can take multiple forms (outrage, despair, anger) and then swiftly lead toappropriate action (confrontation, blame, punishment). You need a plan — as the parent you are beginning a journey (albeit not one of your choosing) and if you want to get to the destination quickly, painlessly and with all the passengers safe and well, then you'd better get the map out before you start driving.
You are the Adult — Yes your son may well have stubble on his chin, and your daughter is probably 3 "taller than you now she is 19 years old, but during this whole journey on which you have unwillingly embarked you must never forget that they They are just kids. Of course they are disappointing you at this moment in life, and it hurts like crazy that they have made a terrible error of judgment (despite the two decades you have spent nurturing them), however you have to act as an adult consistently throughout. There will be times when you'll feel a tremendous urge to blow your top, the temptation to scream and punch the wall will be extreme, but fight it every step of the way while the source of the frustration is within earshot. Sure, go to the park and wail like a banshee to get rid of the pent up anxiety, just do not let your child witness the display! Think back to your youth and be honest — remember all those daft opinions you had and the poor choices you made at the same age.
Plan Intelligently — Setting goals and benchmarks is crucial in the initial stages of any cannabis based family trauma. In simplistic terms these can be classified as; 'Where are we now' 'Where do we want to be' and 'What are we going to do to get there'. This is not a time for unrealistic expectations or delusions regarding the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately 95% of families will fail to structure their approach and therefore are doomed to dramatically increase the length of time that it takes to reach a suitable solution, and greatly intensify the collective pain felt during the process. Getting experienced third party input sets the scene and allows a plan to be created that ensures all concerned understand their place within, and commitment to, the speediest possible resolution. Is it all going to go smoothly from there on in? Well, you have to expect hiccups along the way and revisions to your route as unexpected additional new challenges enter the mix, but these will be far easier to manage and considerably less stress inducing when you have applied process to the situation.
Work the Problem — The expression 'The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary' is very appropriate when you are a parent managing your child through this period of cannabis dependence. Whilst life may have felt busy prior to the discovery that your offspring was dabbling in drug use — it will now be ten times more hectic. Expect your family crisis requirements to become all consuming; push any expectations of free time to one side; cut work hours down to the minimum possible; ignore time consuming hobbies; dodge social commitments; forget those romantic weekends away. Prioritise, focus and dedicate yourself to getting your child through this period and you will reap the rewards long term. Not allowing resentment to spoil your efforts is undecidedly going to be a huge test of character, and again having a professional intermediary working on your 'team' can pay dividends.
No Regrets & Stay Vigilant — So you've reached the point wherey you feel confident that your child can reject the allure of cannabis and you are feeling that the pressure is off somehow. You are actually aware of the danger signs associated with a relapse and are ready to take action should any occur. However, the emotional cost to the entire family in reaching this stage will have been considered, and there are still key considerations for you as a parent. Re-building 'normal' family life is often not a simple matter of resuming previous activities and sitting back and enjoying the harmony that once exhausted. Time has been lost, carers have suffered, siblings needs ignored, money has been spent, energy expired, plans have been put on hold, and the darker side of every family members personality has been exposed. Ensuring that an environment exists wherey no resentment surfaces will be the final part of the process, and it will require as much dedication, planning and energy as breaking the initial cannabis dependence did.