I am a 14 year old girl and my best friend is having a lot of family problems. If she messes up, her Dad acts like he doesn’t like her anymore. It really makes her sad. Her step-mom tries to be the super cool mom by letting her have sex. She tells her that she (the step-mom) had sex at her age, and it won’t hurt her. Her mom smokes a lot of weed, and last month smoked with her. My friend said she had never smoked a blunt before, and she got too high. Her Dad found out and hasn’t talked to her in two weeks. I feel like I’m losing the best friend I’ve ever had, and I don’t know what to do. I read all of your stuff online, and I know you say it’s always a big problem that people are trying to make someone else change, but I can’t just give up on her. What do I do?
Lonely Best Friend
Dear Fine Friend,
We have two problems here: yours and hers. Let’s take hers first. This is a job for genuine counseling. Ask around to see if any of your friends have met a good one. Call the counselor and get some instruction on how to motivate her to go in. S/he might tell you for you to make an appointment for yourself and talk your friend into going with you. In situations like this, the kids can seek help without a parent’s permission. Although it is preferable to include the parent in deciding to get counseling, it’s not required with drug use or abuse. As goony mommy might object, she may want to just go with you. The counselor will have plenty of issues to help with, but an obvious one is how to overcome the dysfunction of having handicapped parents. Blunt-smokin’ stepmom is trying to “bond” by getting loaded with your friend. Her dad, rather than being there to stand up for her, abandons her. This really has the potential for long lasting issues. Motivate her to get competent counseling. If the initial counselor isn’t any good, then shop around. There’s usually a bunch to choose from.
As for you, as a good friend and a good person, you need to work hard on your friend’s behalf. Step one: try not to let her make you so discouraged you disgustedly give up on her. Stay in contact with her. Remind her that young sex may mean young pregnancy and means her screwed up parents will now screw up her child as well. If she is unadvisedly going to engage in sexual behavior, she needs to be knowledgeable about birth control. However, fourteen year old abstinence is highly advisable. Be a positive model for her. You might be her reminder that there are normal, loving people in the world. Text her friendly notes, spend time with her. Have her over your house for supper and/or spending the night. Never underestimate the influence kindness and love can have on people.
Secondly, re-read the first part of this. This is likely a job for a good counselor. A pathetic woman figure coupled with a father abandonment issue is a big deal. She likely needs the big guns in addition to your loving kindness. But one thing is for certain: everyone needs a fine friend like you.