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Parents Want to Be the Ones to Talk with Children About Dangers of Underage Cannabis Use, Though Some Think Their Children Are Too Young to Have the Conversation

ARLINGTON, VA – released a new study today that revealed information about how parents approach talking with their kids about cannabis:

  • 78 percent of parents believe it is very important to have children learn about the dangers of underage cannabis use.
  • 71 percent of parents believe it is very important that they be the one to talk to their children about this issue.
  • About half (49 percent) say barriers exist to talking to their kids, including children getting this information from other sources such as peers, other family members, or school counselors instead.

“Parents may think their child is too young for a conversation about the dangers of cannabis use, but the truth is no, they are not,” said Chris Swonger, President and CEO, There are resources and tips specifically designed to help parents confidently have these important health related conversations with their children – and with the holidays here, there is no time like the present.”

Parents cited a variety of obstacles in starting a conversation with their child(ren) about the dangers of underage drinking and underage cannabis use according to a new survey of parents with children aged 9-13 years living in their household. In this new research a plurality of parents identified barriers including they think it’s awkward, they don’t have the authority because they consume alcohol or use cannabis themselves, they don’t know what to say, or that their kids are too young. However, according to the most recent Monitoring the Future survey, one in four teens reported using marijuana in the past year and 11 percent of 8th graders used marijuana in the past year.

Parents want to speak to their children about the dangers of underage cannabis use but don’t always know the right way to do it. has put together some tips to make it easier for parents to have conversations with their children about healthy lifestyles as part of their Ask, Listen, Learn program featuring innovative, science and evidence-based digital resources for teachers, counselors, school nurses and other educators that teach kids about avoiding risky behaviors:

  • The best way to reach a young adolescent is to honor their intellect, treat them as the expert in their own life, avoid lecturing, focus on developing their critical-thinking skills, and give them age-appropriate, factual information.
  • Approach your child from a stance of calm curiosity. You can ask, “What have you heard about cannabis?” or “Do you think you know more or less than what I think you know?” or “Do you think most kids think it’s dangerous to use cannabis?”
  • Practice your poker face and stay nonreactive if they say something shocking. You want to make it safe for them to be honest and open.
  • Work with your child on communications skills so they know what to do when faced with a tough decision regarding cannabis, and always offer to talk it out with them if they’re nervous about going to a party or event.


About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest survey organization in the world and has a reputation for delivering strategic, actionable advice and interpretation based on high quality and accurate results – often within unmatched turnaround times. Ipsos specializes in organizational reputation, issues management, strategic communications, and sociopolitical trends, serving the needs of government, nonprofit organizations, corporations, public relations firms, and news media. In the U.S. and internationally, Ipsos is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.


The online survey was conducted the week of November 30, 2020 utilizing the Ipsos Knowledge Panel providing a statistically valid representative sample of 1,000 parents with a child or children living in their household. All respondents included in this research study had at least one child between the ages of 9 and 13. To learn more about Ipsos, please visit

About’s Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program:
Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix launched in 2003 and is the most widely-distributed underage drinking prevention program of its kind. Developed and distributed by, and recognizing more than a decade of success, the program has innovative, science and evidence-based digital resources for teachers, counselors, school nurses and other educators that teach kids about what the developing brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what THAT does to them. The program also includes resources for parents, such as conversation starters and tips, to help kids say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking. A module addressing underage cannabis use was added in September 2020.

Ask, Listen, Learn features an eight-part animation series with corresponding lesson plans that align with National Health Education, Common Core State, and Next Generation Science Standards, to ensure synergy with curriculum teachers already have in place in the classrooms. This alignment also ensures that the resources can be used in multiple education settings, such as science and health classes. Program content regarding the effects of alcohol on the developing brain was reviewed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and is consistent with currently available science. For more information, visit


The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky Distillery, LLC; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 30 years, has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit

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