Talk With Your Kids ABout


Did You Know?

Studies show that talking with your kids about the dangers of substance use makes them 50% less likely to start using

Tennessee Together Survey Results

The Tennessee Together Survey is given every two years to 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. It captures data on substance use attitudes and behaviors.

When asked how often students talked with their parents about the dangers of alcohol or other drugs in the past year, these were the results: 

Results by Grade

8th - 52.3%

10th - 57.1%

12th - 51.6%

Overall Total - 53.7%

Based on the above data, it is clear parents need to engage with their kids more often and in a more consistent manner regarding not using substances.

Where to Begin: Talking Checklist

1. Educate Yourself

2. Find the Time

3. Develop a Plan

4. Resistance Skills for Them

5. Resistance Skills for You

6. Practice Listening

7. Delay Use

8. Natural High

1. Educate Yourself

Take time to research the substances you want to discuss with your kids. Cannabis can be an especially tricky topic, so having a basic understanding will help you answer their questions. 

But don't worry, if you don't know how to answer a question, take the time to look it up. You can even look it up together with your kid to make it a learning experience for both of you. 


Under both federal and state laws, marijuana is illegal. Delta-8 products are legal in Tennessee but only over the age of 21. 

When looking at potential medical benefits, the FDA has approved one cannabis-derived drug product: 

and three synthetic cannabis-related drug products: 

Medical marijuana is not legal in Tennessee.


THC is a compound found in cannabis that is responsible for the "high" feeling. THC potency has been climbing over the years. 

The increase in THC percentage can lead to serious issues for youth due to their ongoing brain development, which doesn't end until around the age of 25. Some of these long term problems include:


The data shows that not everyone is using cannabis products. According to the Tennessee Together Student Survey 2022-2023, only 12.7% of Sullivan County students have used marijuana in their lifetimes, and only 6.9% of Sullivan County students have used marijuana in the past 30 days.

When talking with your kids, these numbers might put the total number of kids using into perspective. Just because someone at school says they are using drugs does not mean they actual are, and it also does not mean everyone else is using.

2. Find the Time

3. Develop a Family Plan

Working together to develop a plan shows your kid you are invested and care about the topic at hand. There is no-one-size-fits-all approach. The plan needs to work for your family.


4. Build Their Resistance Skills

No isn’t always enough. Discuss reasons they feel comfortable with.

5. Build Your Resistance Skills

Remember, you are the parent, you need to be able to say no. It might be hard, but saying no is the correct response in some situations. 

This is also the time to be honest with them about your past history of use if asked. Let them know why is was unsafe and some of the differences between today's cannabis products and products in the past (such as the much higher THC content).

6. Practice Listening

Working on active listening can go a long way. Ask questions and get them talking. Follow-up with any points that can keep the conversation going and play dumb. The more they explain, the better the conversation can become. 

It's never too early to have age appropriate conversations.

7. Delay Use

As mentioned above in greater detail, the use of cannabis products during adolescence can lead to a variety of serious developmental issues.

The longer substance use is delayed, the more likely your kid will never start in the first place and it will also reduce the chance of them developing a substance use disorder down the road.

8. Natural High

One of the main reasons kids are using substances is due to stress and anxiety.

If your kid can find a healthy alternative “Natural High," this can help alleviate stress and anxiety as well as increase their natural dopamine in their brain. Some examples of natural highs include:


Some of these skills can take time to learn. The more practice you have, the better you will become.

We also offer workshops which go into greater detail on these topics and give an in depth background on cannabis products. For more information contact, or