Your parents, you, and your kids: A CGRCO Essay Related to Marijuana:
You’ve heard the cautions before. Good pre-natal care is important for development, and babies can become addicted to drugs in utero if their mother is a drug user. Keeping children isolated from drugs (including marijuana) is important, all the way to adulthood.
Newborn humans are among the most dependent creatures in the animal kingdom. They lack mobility, full brain development, and survival instincts. Therefore, parenting is necessary for their survival, for a period approaching 20 years. Kids ought not to pre-decease their parents, and neither should they become “boomerang” children who return to live in the basement. Smoking (nearly always begun during teen years) is still the number one cause of U.S. mortality at 480,000 annually.
Parents protect their young, often fiercely. Just as with the advanced elderly, direct supervision and controls are necessary. Parental opposition to unlimited freedom for teenagers (whose brains are late to fully mature) is as important as trip-proofing the households of the aged (whose brains may be confused or forgetful about nearby dangers).
If you’re over 25, you’ve already navigated your teen years, thus demonstrating that your parents, your society, and maybe even some of your peers have helped you survive a period of vulnerability. Now all you have to do is manage risk as an adult. If you’re around 25, you may already have children of your own. Have you ever uttered words like, “If my parents knew about some of the things I did, they’d have a heart attack?”
Now, as a parent, it’s your turn to worry about how much your kids will tell you. Much of what they’ll identify as normal will come from your influence, just as with your parents. If parents smoke or drink alcohol, there is a greater chance their children will, too. If their driving is speedy and/or high risk, this can also be imprinted.
Parents are smarter than teens think they are. They’ve been there and done that. Most will choose whether they explain any regrets about their youthful stupidity, or whether they’ll stay silent in the hope their poorer choices will not be repeated by their kids. This parental concern can help explain why there is such a demand to know where teens are at any moment and with whom they are associating.
To teens, their parents can seem ignorant, untrusting, and dedicated to taking most of the fun out of life—just as they are finding ways to enjoy it. There is no operating manual as required reading before we become parents. Helping children avoid undue influences within our culture doesn’t come automatically. That’s why we have guidance from sociologists and psychologists who have identified indicator behaviors that might help us know when to steer teens closer to the center lanes in life, as opposed to letting them veer into a ditch. Communication, observation, and setting a good example by parents will also help.
The CGRCO (Citizens Group for a Responsible Cannabis Ordinance) exists because commercial marijuana grows will have unproductive influences on our youth. Marijuana related businesses flourish with more consumers, just as large tobacco does. We should isolate our youth from marijuana as much as we can to help prevent their getting “started” with this substance. Smoking tobacco or marijuana is not a biological or evolutionary necessity. Either can change a teen’s peer group for the worse and negatively affect their brain’s final stages of development.
The CGRCO stands for a Plumas County without commercial marijuana interests for many reasons. Protecting our children from any additional jeopardy by an expanded marijuana presence is an important one.