Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
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Dear Scary Mommy,
A couple of years ago, I got a medical marijuana card. I use it primarily for pain relief from endometriosis and to help me when my anxiety is particularly bad. I buy the oil, which comes in its own electronic vape. It doesn’t smell, and I can do it very discreetly—and I make sure I only ever do it after my two kids are in bed. Well, the other night, my oldest daughter (who is 10) came downstairs for a glass of water and caught me in the act. She was shocked seeing me smoke at all, because it’s something she’s never seen before. I think I did an OK job of explaining to her what I was doing and why, and about marijuana in general, but I know that can’t be our only conversation about it. I want her to feel comfortable asking me anything, but I also don’t want her telling her friends at school about this. What do I do?
Though it might be tempting to never bring it up again—and I totally get the instinct to do this—you already know that’s not the best route, and that’s good. Having an open dialogue about it sets a great precedent for you and your daughter about a whole host of things that will undoubtedly occur in the future.
You already know all the benefits of pot and how it can help people physically and mentally, so I won’t get into that here. Having evidence-based info on-hand to present to your kiddo (in a way that’s digestible for her) isn’t a bad idea, though. You can show her all the research about how marijuana helps people, you can talk about the fact that it’s still illegal in many places, and you can talk about why you hope someday it won’t be. However you talk about it, educating your daughter on the facts in addition to your personal reasons for using it is a great lesson for you both.
When it comes to wanting her to keep it private without being all “What happens in this house stays in this house,” well, I’d just be honest: “I know what I’m doing isn’t wrong, but not everyone will feel that way.” Tell her you’re not ashamed of it, but you’d prefer to tell people about it yourself if and when you choose to. That way you’re not threatening her to keep a secret, but you’re teaching her that your medical choices are your business, and only you have the agency to talk about them.