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Teen Smoking Pot
Q: I am a 13-year-old girl who has done weed over 100 times. I fell behind in 7th grade and now I am in 8th grade it's near the end of the 3rd term. I have failed mostly all of my main subjects and I was wondering how I could help myself get back on track even though I still continue to use weed. I have gone from friend to friend and I am very lonely, but I just want to know how to become friends with more kids that do not abuse drugs and still have fun. I am a very lonely child and my parents abuse weed and it's so easy for me to take it even though I want to straighten my life out before I become a freshman in high school. Sorry for all my questions even though I know most of the work will have to come from my heart and trust in myself, but I'm not so sure I can handle it.
A: I am sorry that you feel so lonely and overwhelmed. I can sense the sadness in you and I am here to tell you that you can feel a lot better about yourself and your life. I'm not just saying this to make you feel better. I have worked with many kids your age who got their lives back under control and who became the people they wanted to be. They all were unsure whether they could handle turning their lives around but with their own courage and some support from caring family, friends and talented professionals, they did it.
You and I both know that weed can be very psychologically addicting. If you are lonely, getting a little high or quite stoned can temporarily make you feel better -- but as you know, when the high wears off, reality hits you in the face again. If weed is always available in your house because your folks abuse it, that will make your battle for self-worth a tougher one. There's no way around this issue. You must let your folks know how you have been feeling and tell them about your chronic use of weed. They must assume some responsibility for their part in this and be the parents that you need them to be. I know that talking to them about this scares you and I don't know what their response will be. I can only hope that they will wake up and smarten up so that they can help you get better.
You MUST trust some adult to help you. You cannot do this on your own and it's not because you're a weak or bad kid, it's because right now you are too overwhelmed with sadness and despair. Confide in an adult, school counselor or clergy member whom you trust. Let them take some of the burden. They will be honored that you have chosen them to trust. It's the first big step that you have to take. You need a support system and the knowledge that grownups will stand by you as you show how much courage and determination you have.
You were not meant to fail school, to have no true friends, to dull yourself with weed. You were meant to know happiness and joy. There are many people out there, just waiting for a friend like you - people who don't need you to do drugs with them to be your friend. Let someone into your life who will help guide you and support you as you come back to life, to be the girl you were truly meant to be. Please write me when you have taken this first step. I will hold a good thought for you until then.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.