DEAR ABBY: Due to various anti-drug lectures he was exposed to at school, my 13-year-old son believes that marijuana is not only illegal, but also is very bad for you. He said it is poison.
My state has recently legalized marijuana and I am at a loss about how to explain to him that pot is no longer "that bad," as people partake of it in a responsible manner going forward. Any suggestions? -- COLORADO MOM
DEAR MOM: Marijuana isn't poison, unless it was sprayed with a poisonous chemical before being harvested. The marijuana being sold to adults in the states where it is now legal has been carefully cultivated and harvested. Its use is not encouraged among teenagers, however, because research has shown it can impair brain development among young people.
Stress to your son that like alcohol, marijuana can slow reaction time and impair judgment and memory, which is why it's illegal for minors to use it. Whether it will become legal across the nation is still an open question. If it's abused the way that alcohol sometimes is, smoking weed may also be harmful because, like any smoke, it poses a risk to the lungs.
DEAR ABBY: I moved into my boyfriend's home several months ago. In the beginning, he was very attentive and we had fun together. But over the last couple of months, he has become abusive and unbearable to live with. He orders me around and double-checks to make sure I'm doing things "his way."
I feel as though there isn't room to breathe and no way out. I have lost weight, and I'm having trouble sleeping now. I have no family or friends who can help me out. I want to end this misery! But how? -- MISERABLE IN FLORIDA
DEAR MISERABLE: Pick up the phone and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233). Although your boyfriend's controlling behavior hasn't yet escalated to physical abuse, it very well could. The counselors at the hotline can help you to formulate a plan so you can safely get away. Please don't wait to make the call, because the symptoms you're having are ones of extreme stress.
DEAR ABBY: We live in a small town. My husband is friendly and outgoing and seems to know everyone. We can't go anywhere without running into someone he knows. Meals out that should be quiet affairs turn into social situations I do not want to be part of.
I have wracked my brain as to a polite response to people when they say, "Join us!" I don't WANT to join them. How do we politely decline their friendly offer? -- "NOT TONIGHT" IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR "NOT TONIGHT": A polite way to refuse would be to say, "We'd love to do that another time, but it has been a long day and we just want to sit and be quiet." It wouldn't be considered rude unless you say it often.
If these people are friends, they should understand because not everyone is up for company all the time. It is also understandable if a couple has things they need to discuss privately.
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