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Teenage Marijuana Use: How to Keep Your Children Safe in a World That Normalizes Its Use

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I want us to talk about teenage marijuana use and how to keep your children safe in a world that normalizes it’s use. Schools are on holidays and children are home. Many observant parents use this period in discovering unsettling truths about their teenagers from drugs, sexual activity or cultism (yes, even for the secondary school students). The cases around teenage marijuana use has become unsettling and seeing the level of desensitization around this topic does not help either.

Firstly, don’t get me started on the medicinal uses of Marijuana because we have researched, released publications and spoken on this as well. Today we will be focusing on our adolescents and teenagers. After all, I believe that even a parent who uses marijuana for whatever reason deep down does not want their child dependent on it.

It goes by many names Marijuana, Mary-J, weed, pot, dope, grass. They’re all different names for the same drug that comes from the cannabis plant. Smoke it, vape it, drink it or eat it, weed is still weed. Many now use it for relaxation or pleasure thereby desensitizing the society on it’s harmful side-effects. Drug Abuse in teenagers is a growing concern. The only way to even begin to prevent this occurrence is by having candid conversations around the topic with your ward.

Connecting with a teenager or adolescent during their formative years is important but many parents and guardians struggle to achieve this only after the emergence of a deadly habit. – Temple  Obike

Connecting with your kids and making them free to have all kinds of conversations with you is a sure-fire way of reducing their chances of involvement with drugs or making mistakes. This activity must be carried out even up until their university days and we’ll into their adult life anytime the chance avails itself. An effort must be put into understanding their social and extracurricular events. This level of monitoring (it may not sound nice but it is beneficial in the long-run) can wield a measure of influence on the child positively.

WAYS TO STOP TEENAGERS FROM USING MARIJUANA

Build-up Their Self-confidence

As a dad of 3 amazing adolescents and 1 newbie teenager, i believed that the first step was for me to even get this children to become confident. I wouldn’t always be there but i could leave a mind-set that allows them make certain decisions based on what they know and not what someone thinks of them or asked them to do. This is one of the main reasons individuals get into drug use due to peer pressure.

The your teenage always ensure that you do the following;

  • Engage in conversations about topics of interest.
  • Show them failure is not final and let them watch you recover from mistakes.
  • Encourage decision-making on their part
  • Listen when they voice their opinions.
  • Support team activities for them.
  • Exemplify “healthy” giving and reception of compliments
  • Always praise efforts but don’t celebrate mediocrity.
  • Demonstrate positive self-talk for them

With these, you are well on your way to having kids who are very confident.

Have Regular Conversations With Them

Having a fairly regular conversation around “taboo topics” with your adolescents is going to be one of your biggest strategies in ensuring that they do not use marijuana or any other drug. Tell them about various strains, it’s medicinal use and the adverse side effects of using it.

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Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and more than 39% of  it’s users started before Senior Secondary 1 class.

Any question from your kid that gives you the opportunity to delve into the adverse effects of drugs MUST be taken.

Discuss it’s Adverse Effects & Risks

The media has desensitized the populace especially children, adolescents and teenagers on the adverse effects of drug use. With different countries legalizing marijuana, many teens assume it is safe.

The celebrities and influencers haven’t also helped in passing this message across because it is mostly “glorified” in white light as something relied upon for depth and inspiration. Marijuana like other substances such as coffee, alcohol, steroids, cigarettes’ etc. is always going to be dangerous if used recreationally. Legal does not always mean safe. This is the mantra you must entrench in their minds because that’s the angle peer pressure will mostly be introduced from.

Marijuana will alter your sense of judgement, predispose you to risky sexual activity, affect your motor coordination, induce psychosis and amplify paranoia. Take it as both a professional and experiential advice from someone who was once a youth and faced peer pressure on a local and international scale.

– Temple Obike

THE TRUTH

Tell your teenager that their brain is still developing and Marijuana use will impair their brain function. this happens because it changes the development pattern and leads to a potential addiction. Tell them their short-term memory will be affected  making it difficult for them to retain what they’ve learnt. What this means in the long run is that the teenager will struggle with learning and this increases their chances of giving up on education.

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Simply put, Marijuana is an IQ assassin.

It’s A Plant So Can’t Do No Harm (That’s not True)

This is one of the points that would be raised by their friends or others trying to lure them into this lane. Make your teenager understand that the fact marijuana is a plant does not make it safe. There are many dangerous plants used for medicinal purposes.

Some ingredients in cannabis are very psychoactive (mind-altering), but others are not. The processing and growth  factors relied upon by the manufacturer/farmer is what determines how potent or balanced the plant is. It is therefore not farfetched to believe that a local street dealer would go for the finest strain. This is the reason you have it come with menacing street names such as Igbo! Kpoli ! Kush! Deaf! Eja! Pot! Weed! Ganja! Hemp! Dope! Grass! Reefer! Ewe! Oja! Wee-Wee! (Feel free to expand).

Know Who Their Friends Are

This is one of the most important things you could do for your child. Do not stop at the image their friends sell to you. Get to know their parents, their home set-up, value systems etc.  Make your home open for friends to come visit (all genders). Watch the dynamics of their relationship. Does your teenager suddenly forget everything you taught them, act mean to their siblings, lose themselves, become less confident in the presence of this friend? Sorry to sound overbearing and while i believe that you can only do what you can do, I also know that with kids, your opportunities for impact dwindle as they get older.

It’s becoming a bit too frequent in my practice to see clients sit down and surprisingly bash a parent who was too nice. The one who allowed them get away with everything suddenly becomes the enemy.

After you have noticed everything you need to know about their friends, you can then suggest (not enforce) who you believe is a good option for them. This is one of the true tests of how highly they trust your input. Teach them that the real qualities to look out for when choosing a friend are loyalty, respect, honesty and integrity. Personally, I love all these qualities but won’t pretend that a kid who loves God automatically fits into our household. A good friend could support your kid at a time when they need someone else to be strong for them and this is why you must be sure of who they mix up with.

    Rules, Limits and discipline are a Must

    Many parents who raised kids who are now in my current age bracket made loads of mistakes. However these mistakes are things most of these children can look back at now and laugh about. In contrast, it beats me on how a generation who is obviously informed, read, exposed and more suddenly threw away one of the most important things that made them the people they are becoming today. Rules and Limits.

    A walk through the mall and you see a kid punching a parent for denying them an opportunity to have candy. In a desperate attempt at conviction you suddenly then hear the parent shouting in the best accent money can buy on the kid. In a bid to maybe convince everyone around on the level of effort they put in at home. The real issue is that the first lesson was lost. You do not take unless mama or papa gives their permission. Those are rules and limits. It comes first. – Temple Obike

    As much as i will never be caught trying to give my “not-sought-for” opinion on how another parent should raise their kids, it’s heart-breaking seeing kids being praised for mediocre achievement. Kids not getting spanked a little for bad behavior because it’s no longer cool. Wow! We think the world is filled with narcissists’ but it’s painful seeing spouses who claim their partners are narcissists raising the next super-generation of narcissists. Parents, rules, limits and discipline when necessary are still a MUST.

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    Here are some rules that could help you ensure that you’re not to out of the joint with your teenagers development;

    • Let’s create a code that once you say it, I will know you are in danger and need me to help you exit somewhere e.g Calling me and saying  “Daddy, are we still going? Ok i am ready”
    • Do not allow friends come to the house if i or your mum are not home (this helps with curbing sexual abuse too).
    • A no uncles/aunties home once the kids hit ages 5 and above (sad as it sounds but that’s the reality of the times)
    • We need at least 48 hours to allow sleep-overs. This allows me talk to the other parents and check out the situation before giving my consent. (personally, my kids do not sleep in no-ones house until they are of age).
    • If you go out, your location must be activated and your Life360app must be active
    • If there will be no parent at the party, you are not going
    • Memorize your parents phone numbers and recite it before going out.
    • Always give me the address of ANYWHERE you will be going to.
    • Whatever movies/shows you watch MUST be run through mum and dad
    • Whatever songs you listen to MUST be age-appropriate and because it’s trending or known by everyone else in school still does NOT make it okay.

    Setting rules is important but administering punishments when they are broken will make your teens more likely to adhere to family rules. On the other hand, reward good choices sparingly when your teen makes them.

    Enlist for Drug Prevention Programs

    Getting involved in drug abuse prevention programs in your community or your child’s school is a key step to curbing this menace. Most of these programmes will randomly test participants on a monthly basis and this keeps teens accountable. Even when under pressure by peers, they would most likely not indulge because they do not want to fail random drug tests.

    SIGNS YOUR TEENAGER MAY BE ON DRUGS

    These signs come as either behavioral or physical indicators. Many parents in therapy mention that they didn’t see the signs that something was wrong with their teenager despite the fact that the teenager would have exhibited both types of signs. These signs are a whole lot and just one of them is enough to get your antenna’s up.  Missing out on all of them is simply carelessness:

    Behavioral Indicators:

    • Avoiding eye contact
    • Ignoring or breaking curfew
    • Acting irresponsibly
    • Frequently asking for money
    • Stealing
    • Locking bedroom doors
    • Making secretive calls
    • Isolating from others/damaging relationships with family or friends
    • Making excuses (or outright lying)
    • Withdrawing from classroom participation/slipping in grades
    • Resisting discipline or feedback
    • Missing school or work
    • Losing interest in hobbies or activities
    • Abandoning long-time friends

    Physical Indicators:

    • Poor hygiene/change in appearance
    • Glazed or bloodshot eyes
    • Frequent runny nose or nosebleeds
    • Paranoia, irritability, anxiety, fidgeting
    • Changes in mood or attitude
    • Difficulty staying on task/staying focused
    • Small track marks on arms or legs (wears long sleeves even in warm weather)
    • Pupils larger or smaller than usual
    • Cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands
    • Sores on mouth
    • Headaches
    • Puffy, swollen face
    • Extremely tired or extremely hyperactive
    • Rapid weight gain or loss

     

    Well, this article may have been a buzz-kill but trust me when i say it was absolutely necessary. Primary school kids are now being introduced to marijuana, tramadol, hemp etc. The world we live in today is so spontaneous that you can’t protect these kids enough. They must be armed with the truth that will allow them make good decisions for themselves. Regardless of where you are at this moment, I can guarantee you that less than 2 miles from you is a dealer who knows at least 1 person who knows your teenager.

    If you’d like to speak with someone regarding your teenagers drug use or behavioral issues, feel free to contact us via email.

    Written by Obike Temple.
    Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 100,000 in-counseling minutes accrued in practice.
    He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  
    Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templescounsel.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!
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    AFRICA

    AICC: Egyptian Grandmasters Dominate Tourney

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    With just two rounds left to play, top Nigerian chess players have dropped out in the ranking at the on-going African Individual Chess Championship holding at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

    Although Nigerian players showed shade of genius in the battle field as the tournament reached its climax on Sunday night, the Egyptian who are higher rated players dominate play with Adly Ahmed (African number 2) and Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda leading the pack of other players in both Open and Women sections.

    Both have consolidated their lead in the competition, as every win counts to games 4 and 5.

    WGM Wafa trounced her Angolan opponent, Woman International Master Esperanca Caxita, in a Sicilian opening with black mostly dominating the game right from the middle play.

    The Egyptian WGM is all but a massive one point ahead of the pack leading into the final rounds starting this morning.

    While the Egyptian masters are dominating play, credit also goes to some Nigerians raising their heads to be countedNigeria Youth Games product, Onoja Iyefu Joy continues to show resilience and determination to earn her first chess title and create a record while at it.

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    She had on Saturday continued her fine run of form by scoring an entire point against Paulo Jemima to register the second position on the ranking table with 9 points. A win in the 7th round will help Joy secure a Woman International Master Title.

    WIM (elect) Ofowino Toritsemuwa bettered her AICC Tunisia 2019 record, and she is bound to create a new one as she takes on WGM Wafa in the seventh round.

    Toritsemuwa currently shares second place with her compatriot, Iyefu Onoja, both holding 4.5 points, hence making the 7th game point as crucial for the player.

    In the Open section, 20-year-old Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus is pulling his weight. He scored an outstanding 4.5 points after six games, but it is not about the score, somewhat the opponents; defeating 1 GM, 2 IMs, and three draws against two IMs and FM, the youngster will get his chance at GM Adly in the seventh round.

    With a half point behind the tournament leader, African Number 1–GM AminBassem landed his second consecutive win after the drawn game with compatriot GM Ahmed Adly, demonstrating he still stands a chance to catch up and maybe win the tournament.

    Bassem faces IM David Silva of Angola in the seventh round, who had to offer a draw to his opponent in the sixth round due to health issues. We hope he’s gotten his strength back for this crucial game.

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    The tournament ends tomorrow with Maltina and Gulder are among the top sponsor of the event.

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    AFRICA

    Don’t vote for ‘killers’ in 2023 elections – ex-President Jonathan urges Nigerian youths

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    A former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has urged Nigerians not to elect “killers” in the 2023 general elections.

    Mr Johnathan stated this on Sunday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State during a thanksgiving service to mark the 35th anniversary of the state.

    Mr Johnathn and his wife, Patience, were the special guests of honour at the service which was also attended by the governor of his home state — Bayelsa — Douye Diri.

    “In 2023, you must not make the mistake to vote killers. Those who carry knives, guns, and all kinds of gadgets to go and kill people because of politics, are the enemies of society.

    “If you kill to become a leader, you will continue to kill to remain a leader and the people will continue to suffer.”

    The former president said he has monitored the growth of Akwa Ibom, adding that he has been visiting the state at least once a year since he joined the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, now Niger Delta Development Commission, in 1994 as an assistant director.

    While thanking the youth of the state for not vandalising infrastructure, the former president recalled how some people sabotaged his development efforts in the power sector by using arc saws to fell towers because they wanted Nigeria to remain in darkness.

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    Mr Johnathan said the election of the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, should teach politicians a good lesson, especially those who doubted Mr Emmanuel’s ability to manage “human beings”.

    Governor Emmanuel was an executive director at Zenith Bank before he was appointed Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, a position he later resigned from to vie for the governorship of the state which he won in 2015.

    Akwa Ibom is ‘strong national story’ – Gov Emmanuel

    Earlier in his speech, Mr Emmanuel thanked the people of the state for their support and described this year’s state anniversary as his last as the state governor.

    The governor said Akwa Ibom has become a state with a “strong national story and a sparkling destination of choice for Nigerians and others around the world”.

    He appreciated the people for the choice of “Moving Forward,” as the theme of the celebrations but also reminded them that in “moving forward we have to also look back.”

    He referenced Joseph, a Biblical figure who later became the Prime Minister of Egypt and added that the children of Israel suffered because of Joseph’s mistake.

    “Joseph made a mistake in Egypt when he was about to go, he did not look at the issue of who succeeded him and that is why the children of Israel suffered.

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    “If you are a God-sent man you must also learn. I’ve learnt from what Joseph did and today we went back to God and I want to appreciate all Akwa Ibomites because a man after God’s heart will come after another man after God’s heart,” Mr Emmanuel said.

    He promised to complete before leaving office next year, the international worship centre that his administration is building in the state.

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    AFRICA

    Knocks, Kudos as Peter Obi promises 100m poor Nigerians ‘access to free medical care’

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    Mixed reactions have trailed the promise by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, stating that his administration will prioritise the welfare of the poor Nigerians if elected.

    Obi said youths would be the proponent of his agenda to transform the economy.

    “If elected the next president of Nigeria, youths would be the main proponents of my main agenda to transform Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation. The two main components of this agenda are human capital development and finance.”

    Obi further said health and education are vital to the development of the country, promising to ensure “at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical care”.

    “Given the role of health in reinforcing education in the measure of productivity, my leadership will pay serious attention to the health system by ensuring that at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme.”

    Obi’s promise which has gone viral, generated divergent reactions on social media platforms.

    While some supporters of Obi believed the promise made by their candidate is possible, they argued in support that the country is buoyant enough to take care of citizens’ medical care.

    Reacting, a Twitter user; @el_bonga posited: “Peter Obi governed Anambra State for 8 years and he couldn’t provide the state— probably less than 10 million— with free healthcare but he wants to give free medical care to 100 million Nigerians. Interestingly, under his watch, Doctors went on a 13-month strike in Anambra in 2013.”

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    Favour Abdalla Destiny said: “The problem is not to vote; the problem is that they know how to promise and after election they will forget all.”

    kingharzyz1 argued: “How is this possible? Can you even do free medical care for carcinoma patients alone? Aspirants need to start telling us “How”.

    Another user @tha_niel said: “Affordable healthcare is different from free healthcare. Affordable is realistic because the beneficiaries wld contribute an amount. We cannot have a subsidised economy yet. Except when we begin to efficiently recognise all revenues and apply subsidies where it’s needed.”

    Oluwashola @Sholexx_ said: “Health is very expensive. Even in the US, you can’t get free medical healthcare due to the cost. What you can get anywhere in the world is subsidised healthcare via health insurance. He should be realistic with his electoral promises.”

    Defending Obi’s promise, @drpenking stated that: “Peter Obi said that 100m Nigerians will have access to free medical care and you people think it’s not possible. In Akwa Ibom State there has been free medical care for elderly, children and pregnant women. Our country is rich enough to do these things. Politicians just refuse it”

    @urchilla01 said: “This is why I’ve always said that this election should be about antecedents. There’s nothing Peter Obi says he’ll do that he didn’t do as Governor. This is the famous “Anambra ANIDS card” with which students, disabled, & elderly accessed free health care in govt hospitals. ‘

    “Under Peter Obi’s Government. When we say #GoAndVerify verify, it is because we fear not for what you will find. Our principal na talk & do. A comprehensive integrated health insurance scheme made this possible, just the same way he said he’ll do it.”

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    AFRICA

    ASUU: Seven months after, FG orders VC’s to reopen schools

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    The Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike for about seven months now.

    The association is demanding from FG the funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.

    Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.

    Recall that the federal government went to court to challenge the action of the association. Last week the national industrial court through Polycarp Hamman, the judge in the NIC, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.

    The outcome of the judgement was questioned by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who stated that the national industrial court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the case between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

    However, tired of the lingering strike the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission ordered vice-chancellors to re-open schools and allow students resume lectures.

    In a letter disclosed to journalists on Monday, signed by the Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, FG instructed all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities to re-open schools.

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    “Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, part of the letter read.

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