So, the teenage boy says to me:
TB: Mom, I just want you to know that if I come home smelling like weed, I promise it's not me, it's just the people around me.
Me: (thinking, 'Compose yourself here, Jenna.') What is that supposed to mean?
TB: Nothing, I just didn't want you to freak out if I ever smell like weed, because I will never do drugs, it's just that everyone around me does, and I just don't want to get blamed.
Me: What do you mean, 'everyone around you?' Your friends? Because you shouldn't be hanging around anyone who is doing drugs.
TB: Mom, everyone does drugs.
Me: Everyone? Or just the losers?
TB: Most kids, Mom.
Me: Most kids? Or just the stupid loser kids? Your friends?
Me: Your friends, or just people you know?
TB: People I know.
Me: Well, there's a difference. Why are you around anyone doing drugs, ever, anyway?
TB: What am I supposed to do, just jump over all the kids at school when I'm going to class?
Me: Every kid in the hallway and all over campus is smoking weed? You seriously want me to believe that?
TB: . . .and I'm just supposed to fly over them?
Me: Oh, c'mon. They're not standing in the middle of the hallway in between classes, son. I know they're doing it, but they're hiding it a little better than that. It is illegal, you know.
TB: (this news seemed to stun him a bit)
Me: You did know that smoking pot is illegal, right? It's against the law. You can go to jail. (I threw that in for good measure.) And this is junior high. Do you really expect me to believe that you have no choice but to be friends with potheads?
TB: But I'll never do drugs, Mom, I told you.
Me: Because you're so invincible? Nobody is invincible. When you're around something enough, it doesn't seem as bad. I mean, kids smoking weed is so yesterday's news to you, you'd forgotten that every kid doing it is breaking the law.
TB: (silence, and the "she doesn't understand anything look" is on his face)
Me: You've always had courage with your friends in the past. I would hope that if someone you were really friends with decided to start using drugs, that you would have the courage to say to them, 'I really like you, but if you're going to make that choice, I can't hang around you.' That's the kind of boy I've always believed you to be.
TB: (shaking head)
Me: Oh, and don't think I won't pull your butt out of there and homeschool you again, because I will. (Again, for good measure.)
Later. . .
(to Teenage Girl)
TB: Mom's mad at me because my friends smoke weed.
TG: (Gives a great lecture on her own.)
TB is a big talker, to be sure. He always has been. But these are the issues he's dealing with. I do believe that he has decided he will never do drugs, but that isn't enough. I want him to decide he also won't be friends with other kids who will do drugs, especially kids who will in junior high! And I think the 'friends' he's talking about are not really his friends, but after more probing, friends of friends' older siblings, and kids that everyone knows of at school, but still. He's already on a short leash about whose house he can go to. I prefer they all hang out here, because I know me, and I don't know all of them.
Ah, the joys of figuring out life when you're a teenager.
It's a slow death, I tell ya. For me, I mean.