Author: Leslie Walker, MD

Marijuana legalization: what parents can say to their children

With the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana-infused foods and beverages in Washington state this week, and the development of a commercial marijuana market over the next year, parents are asking what they should say to their children.

Since parents are the primary influence on adolescent behavior, even if it may not seem that way, it is important to discuss the new law and what is expected in your family.  High school students who smoke marijuana report that they started between the ages of 13 -14 so conversations need to start early.

First, ask children what they know about marijuana.  This is a good time to correct the many myths about marijuana.  For example, many teenagers tell us that marijuana cures cancer.  This is not true.

Then move on to the facts. Read full post »

Teens and Volunteering

Guest post to Teenology 101 by Leslie Walker, MD

Did you know that teens volunteer at nearly double the rate as adults? It’s true, nearly 55% of teenagers volunteer, mostly through their school, family or religious organizations.  Only 29% percent of adults can say the same. The 2005 Youth Volunteering and Civic Engagement Survey based on Census data looked comprehensively at youth and service.  You may say most kids have to do some sort of service to graduate from public and private high schools and that is why the numbers of teen volunteers is so high and drops off after age 18. But I think we would be missing something important here.  Maybe we are doing something right in expecting our youth to volunteer and give back to society and they are actually getting the message, the survey found that teens most often stated they volunteer because the youth see the importance of helping others.

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