It’s all about being open, honest and upfront. I have three kids, a bunch of pets, and my wife Ali to think about before myself. Life, as parents know, is not about them. Having a family has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but not without its trials. Nothing good ever is.
I love my family, but in order to really make it count I have to be a happy dad and husband. I have to be the best I can be, both for myself and for them. A long time ago I realized that using cannabis connected me to these qualities and aspirations in life. Take it from me, you can be an amazing canna dad or mom.
In my case, cannabis also helped me cut out alcohol. That, in itself, was a game-changer on multiple levels. nAs far as the cannabis stigma goes, it starts with you. Don't be blowing smoke in kid’s faces, but I also don’t think it’s necessary to hide cannabis use from them. Kids are smart and pick up on stuff like that. When I was a kid, my folks drank (responsibly haha) on special occasions and on some not-so-special occasions. But the one thing they never did was hide it from us. I grew up thinking it was okay to drink because my parents thought it was okay to drink. They drank like everybody else, nothing out of the ordinary for the ‘70s and ‘80s.
I’m 49 now and have phased out drinking for cannabis. I openly use cannabis around my kids and I’d like to think my cannabis use and the non-drinking will rub off on them the same way my parents drinking and stigma against cannabis rubbed off on me when I was a kid. But the opposite.
Cannabis is an adult's choice. Of course I have extensive cannabis experience and didn't just start using cannabis yesterday or last year. And like many new parents you're probably in your late 20's and have had some life experience. I was 38 when I had my first kid and was solid about myself and my cannabis use. A great place to start for a new parent at any age.
Think about your relationship with your kids. If your kids catch you sneaking puffs around the corner they're going to wonder why and the stigma starts right there. Instead be honest with your kids. Use cannabis openly, responsibly and in doing so teaching them cannabis is a natural, healthy choice.
I first talked to my kids about my cannabis plants and what they’re for before they could talk. It’s as natural as honey to them. They’ve learned that cannabis is a medicine that can be used in many ways. The kids sometimes help with the plants and appreciate gardening and natural living things.
They also know about my sports history and how cannabis was a part of that. They understand I played a role in normalizing cannabis long before they were born by helping it be part of the conversation to become what it is and always has been—an amazing plant for all to benefit from. My children know what I do for work as well which is to produce and sell Ross’ Gold cannabis products. At the end of the day, to them, I’m just their dad. And that’s pretty much it.
It’s really about getting over your own stigma, because kids don’t naturally have one. It’s not only about being honest with your kids—it’s about being honest with yourself.
Ross Rebagliati, the kind parenting columnist, is the 1998 Canadian gold-medal award winning Olympic snowboarder. He is the only Olympian who had his medal stripped from him—for cannabis—and then promptly returned after the Olympic committee admitted their mistake that THC was not on their list of banned substances. If you have a parenting question for Ross, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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