I would rather not leave my
name because of the nature of my question. I am graduating
High School in June and was hoping you could help me How
do I handle situations that will come up where there will be
drinking, drugs, and pressure to engage in inappropriate
behavior. With the Prom coming up and all the before and
after parties, I will be pressured to do things I know Iím
not supposed to do. There seems to be talk of more reckless
behavior planned and it is becoming increasingly more
difficult to say ďnoĒ. Do you have any tips on how to handle
this? Long Island, NY
when groups of teens are engaging in behavior they know they
are not supposed to, a couple of things are going on. Many
times, the story goes, that this kid wanted to be cool or
popular, so they have a party which includes alcohol, drugs
and private rooms which allow for sexual activity. Clueless
parents think its okay because they did it when they were
kids. The fact is the world has become much more dangerous
with the kind of drugs out there and the STDís which affect
thousands each year. The second thing is, that the need to
be cool only works as long as other kids go along with it.
That is at the core of the pressure. If you donít go along,
you are taking away from their needing to be cool. As a
graduating senior, chances are you wonít see these
classmates past the end of June. If you remember this fact,
decisions become easier.
When I worked with difficult
passengers on a flight back in the days when I was a flight
attendant, it was a lot easier to deal with them knowing I
would not see them again past the four hour flight. The same
principle applies when you are at a party and someone asks
you if you want a beer, or joint, or worse. By going along,
you give up your power and give it over to the person
pressuring you. Before you attend any social event where you
have to navigate around bad behavior, practice every
scenario that you may face. Repeat after each scene, ďNo,
thank youĒ. Thatís it. You donít owe anyone an explanation
as to why. If you feel you have to say why, tell them, I
just donít feel like it.
Consider the consequences:
If you drink alcohol, and you drink too much, you can wind
up in an emergency room. This time of year, thousands of
underage teens who drink wind up in emergency rooms. Many
die. This is a reality. If you drink and drive, your
passengers and the occupants of the car you hit could wind
up in the emergency room, permanently injured or dead. That
is the reality. If you do drugs, chances are you donít know
what is in the drugs you are smoking, snorting or ingesting,
and further, it is quite possible that, even if it is the
first time, you can become irrevocably addicted or die.
Addiction will ruin your life forever. Unsafe sex can lead
to infection, pregnancy and sterility. You may not think
sterility is a big deal, but it means you will never be able
to have children and it may drastically alter your future
relationships. Life as you know it now, will never be the
same if you abuse or engage in any of the above activities.
You want to stay on your
successful path. The more you say ďnoĒ to things that are
bad for you, the easier it becomes to say ďnoĒ to things in
the future that are bad for you. The moment you give in to
someone elseís expectation, you begin to stray from the
successful path meant for you. Hang out with like-minded
people even if they appear to be the minority. Good people
generally donít form gangs because they donít need others to
validate their behavior. They simply follow the path they
have carved out for themselves and move in the direction of
their goals. Itís really that simple.
You cannot be responsible
for others behavior. You can only be responsible for yours.
Donít hand the power of you over to anyone. Your power is a
lot more difficult to take back once you give it away. You
need to listen to your inner voice. It will be your best
guide. Most people who ignore that nagging feeling often are
the ones who hand their power over to someone else and
ultimately lose their way.
Be a leader. Be a person of
patience and Faith. Believe in you and what you know to be
right. By opting for doing the right thing, you gain power.
Once you give in to pressure, you have demonstrated
weakness. Never worry about how others define you. They are
on a journey trying to discover who they want to be. You
will already be well on your way. You have a head start
because you already know you want to stay on the right
path. There is great satisfaction for being who you are
rather than what someone else wants you to be.
Finally, be aware of your
surroundings. If things start to spiral out of control
(alcohol and drugs can do that), or you find yourself about
to get into a car with someone under the influence, donít
get in the car and get out of the situation. Your parents or
caretakers may be annoyed to have to get you in the middle
of the night, but they will be very happy to have the
opportunity to yell at you rather than having to identify
you at the morgue where there will be no words necessary,
just sorrow. The same goes for getting in a car with
someone who canít put their phone down. Donít get in the
car. Being distracted for even a couple of seconds can cause
a fatal crash.
There is plenty of
opportunity to have fun. Knowing what and who will be at a
party will help you decide whether to put yourself in that
situation or not. Itís best not to go at all than to be in a
situation where you will be compromised. There will be many
parties and you donít have to attend all of them. Years from
now, nobody will even remember where the parties were, no
less who was there.
Enjoy your success as you
graduate and move on to the next phase of your life holding
on to the power within you that has guided you thus far.
These upcoming few weeks will be a mere blip on the radar of
your life. Stay the course, and you will be well on your way
to attracting all your dreams. Your question already
demonstrates your wisdom and your commitment to making the
right choices. Good Luck!