DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband likes to smoke weed. Now that our children are older -- in high school -- I worry that they are going to think it’s OK for them to smoke because they know their father does. No matter what I say to my husband, he won’t quit.
Weed is still illegal in our state. The last thing I need is for either of our kids to get arrested for smoking or possession. Plus, I don’t think it is wise for them to use it. They have developing brains, and they are smart. I want them to stay focused on school, not get sidetracked because they are too busy getting high. -- Stop Smoking
STOP SMOKING: Teenagers try things. And many of them these days try weed. Whether or not your husband smokes it, there’s a reasonable chance that your teens will try it at least once during this period in their life. Does that make it OK? Absolutely not.
Talk to your kids about why you discourage them from smoking. Give them your reasons clearly and without emotion. Give examples of real-life situations, if you know them, where smoking weed negatively impacted a teen.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, there are many effects of smoking marijuana that teens should be aware of. Short-term effects include: altered senses (such as seeing brighter colors), altered sense of time, changes in mood, slow reaction time, problems with balance and coordination, increased appetite, trouble thinking and solving problems, memory problems, hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there), delusions (believing something that is not true) and psychosis (having false thoughts). Long-term effects include lung problems (including lung cancer) and even compromised childbirth. Explain all of this to your teenagers.
If they say, “But Dad smokes,” you can counter that you may not be able to control his behavior, but you definitely want to influence theirs so that they can make smarter choices. For more information and support, visit: teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have one friend who is really rich. She inherited money from both of her parents and never has to work again. She does a lot of philanthropic work, which is great. She isn’t a spendthrift, but she can afford a lifestyle that I can’t even imagine. We have gone out for dinner or drinks a few times and split the tab, and I could hardly pay my part. I don’t know why she wouldn’t just foot the bill. She knows my situation. I am not asking for handouts. It’s just if I were in her position, I would be more generous, especially when she knows that I am struggling financially right now. -- Rich Friend, Poor Friend
DEAR RICH FRIEND, POOR FRIEND: Don't count what’s in somebody else’s wallet. Rather than pondering why your friend isn’t more generous, be clear about what you can and cannot afford. If she wants to go out somewhere you know you can’t afford, speak up in advance. Suggest that you go to a different place that is within your budget. Plan a get-together at home, where you can prepare food and drinks affordably. Or plan an outing that doesn’t cost anything at all.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)