Learn how to support your child’s well being in challenging times.

The Parent Connection videos

Week 1 - Youth and Mental Wellbeing

 A conversation with Dr. Abby Goldstein -  delivered September 15th.

Dr. Abby Goldstein shares what parents can do to support the mental wellbeing of their kids, especially within the context of this new reality.

We discuss:

  • The links between mental health issues and substance use
  • Whether alcohol and cannabis use by young people has increased during the pandemic and why?
  • Risk factors and protective factors
  • How to recognize if kids have begun to use substances
  • Some practical and effective ways for parents to intervene
  • When to begin a dialogue about drugs with your kids

Dr. Abby Goldstein is a clinical psychologist, Associate Professor of Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and Canada Research Chair in the Psychology of Emerging Adulthood. She is also a member of Drug Free Kids' Advisory Council.

Dr. Goldstein's work examines factors that contribute to alcohol and cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood, focusing on risk and protective factors to inform prevention and intervention.  Dr. Goldstein is passionate about helping parents and youth have developmentally-appropriate conversations about alcohol and cannabis use to promote healthy decision-making and reduce alcohol- and cannabis-related harms.  Dr. Goldstein has a private practice in Toronto where she sees adolescents and adults.



Week 2  -  Cannabis and Youth

Two experts weigh in!

Many kids think cannabis is safer to consume than alcohol. We learn more about how kids are using cannabis and whether they are consuming more during COVID and we get some extremely helpful insights into why some kids decide to turn cannabis to cope with stress and anxiety.

A conversation with Robert Gabrys, PhD

Robert Gabrys from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) discusses the latest research regarding youth and cannabis

We discuss:

  • Has cannabis use by youth increased and why?
  • Which is less harmful to youth – ingesting or inhaling?
  • Is the degree of a young person’s cannabis use important?
  • What about stigma? Does a more compassionate approach with kids work?

Dr. Robert Gabrys is a research and policy analyst, and one of CCSA’s lead researchers on the cannabis file. He has been involved in monitoring cannabis research activities in Canada, synthesizing the evidence on the health impacts of cannabis, and in the development of cannabis public education.

A conversation with Dr. Claude Cyr, MD

We speak with Dr. Claude Cyr about cannabis use by youth and how to recognize when a young person’s recreational use of cannabis might become self-medication to cope with mental issues.

We discuss:

  • What are the differences between recreational and medical use of cannabis?
  • Explain self-medication with cannabis - are kids using cannabis to alleviate symptoms of stress or anxiety they may experience, especially during the pandemic?
  • Are people using cannabis without a prescription to treat kids? Are there risks?

Dr. Cyr has been practicing family medicine in Quebec since 1996. His major clinical interests are in pain management, geriatrics, mental health, and the use of cannabinoid-based medicines in palliative and cancer care.  He is a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University and an Associate Researcher for the Quebec Cannabis Registry, the world’s first research database on the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

Dr. Cyr is the founder of Doctors for Responsible Access, an association of medical cannabis practitioners whose mission was to support responsible access to cannabis in light of legalization in Canada. He is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigations of Cannabinoids and a member of Drug Free Kids Canada’s Advisory Council.


Learn how to talk about cannabis with your kids!  Get more evidence-based information about cannabis along with some great practical tools to help you start the cannabis conversation with your kids!

Click here to order a free copy of The DFK Cannabis Talk Kit with an insert on edibles.







Looking for more resources about youth and substance use?  Check out the DFK Resources for Parents page.



The Parent Connection videos will be posted here and available until October 30th, 2020. 


Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

If you would like to support us as we continue to help Canadian families, please consider making a donation here.

Thank you!