Dear Ms. Demeanor:
I am in sixth grade. All my friends tease me because I have not smoked marijuana. They say it is the best way to cool off from all the stuff we have to do at school, like practices. They say it is not bad for you, and even that most of our parents did it, so why not. I am confused and I just do not think I want to do it, but I want to keep my friends, too.
- B.T., New Jersey
Nothing is tougher than ear listening to that "still, small voice inside" when outside voices roar with very different messages. It is very difficult to resist the pressure friends put on us. We all want to be accepted, especially by our friends.
One thought to consider is that your friends might be looking for a different kind of leader, one who resists such pressures.
No matter what, though, you should be armed with some, facts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here are tips adapted from "10 Things Every Teen Should Know About Marijuana":
It impairs psychomotor skills and may contribute to car accidents.
It impairs attention and memory, so you can not concentrate, solve problems, or retain new information.
It impairs development of healthy social relationships, possibly alienating and isolating young people from bonding with positive role
models and good friends.
It impairs your ability to make good decisions. Studies show that a young Marijuana user is more likely to use bad drugs later in life than a
person who doesn't use it.
The bold truth is, we all want to be happy. We all want to be popular. We all want to learn skills to help us be successful adults.
Marijuana is not the ticket to success. Instead, talk with adults, family members, and others you can trust. They will help.
Above all, remember you are not alone. Just by writing this letter, you have taken an important step in overcoming peer pressure and heading in a positive direction.
Even though perfection is impossible to achieve, go on reaching for it.
- Ms. Demeanor