How Being “Nice” Just Isn’t Good Enough- On Teenagers and Their Friends (Short-Version).

By: Michelle J. Haas

Recently, I’ve noticed that most of the kids that live in my community have three things in common (besides a well-to do family):  being privileged, white, and being “nice kids.” For the sake of word over usage, I will refer to any drug /alcohol use solely as drug abuse. Summer just started here in Bay Village, and the sum of everyone’s spring and summer is showing up on snap chat. The key words in the snap chats are “lit, fire,” and of course “YOLO” (if you don’t die from a drug overdose, I suppose). After I hacked my daughters phone (after some suspicions), it came clear that Bay Village, as a community, was either not aware of the drug abuse, was in denial, or knew but didn’t see it as a big deal (cliche old people sayings). I saw one kid chug beer after beer on his “snap chats”. The videos of him on Snap Chat last approximately from 15-30 seconds per kid. Video after video, this 16 year old kid had 7 videos of him chugging a full can of beer after can. Another girl thought it was funny to clean out her box of empty vodka bottles from under her bed, with a hashtag saying #spring-cleaning. But this is the “thing” to do in Bay Village according to all the social media posts. Hey, some kids are even selling beautiful eye catching buds of marijuana on social media. Cool right? No. I observed it, I saw it again and again on social media, and I experienced it in my own home. Everyday is full of fun with drinking, smoking, or snorting pills. Day after day, most of these kids are trying to find party after party. What’s there to look forward to if everyday is a party?Nothing! And life becomes hopeless, so more and more drugs are needed to make it fun again. According to one kid, who will remain anonymous, “a little heroin too.” A LITTLE HEROIN! Talk about minimization at it’s best. Who does only a little heroin? I’ve never heard of a heroin addict being only “a little” addicted.

When I talked to my daughter and some kids in Bay, the words that used to describe their troubled friends is “They’re so nice. He’s like the nicest kid. He gets straight A’s. She so respectful.” The hard part is, these teenagers have a hard time marking a person as “bad” if they’re nice. They’re not in the inner city, right? If you lived off 79th in Cleveland, your mom would automatically assume the kid was bad. The neighborhood is bad. That’s just the way this racist system was set up. I lived there. I know. Anyways, Conversation after conversation it seemed as if the better decision makers of community (better kids at decision making) felt bad for calling someone as they are (drug abuser).Nice kids use too. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “are these kids on the path to destruction or progress?” If little Jimmy is smoking weed everyday, I would say he is on the wrong path. He’s a “nice kid,” but on the wrong path.

There are so many problems with these scenarios

  1. We are too worried about hurting others people’s feelings. But we are causing ourselves harm, by enabling kid after kid, who has a problem. We are harmed by the alcoholic/addicts abuse and patterns. It’s called codependency. It leaves our children codependent from otherwise normal families. It causes mothers and fathers to become codependent too.It basically means that others are controlling your life. Google it.
  2. We are in denial. It’s hard to face hurtful emotions, so we compensate with denial. Denial is wrong. Denial can lead to death. Denial… it’s in the community, all around.
  3. Not monitoring our children’s social media. We have to look. My modo is, “I’d rather become an advocate for drug abuse before my daughter’s death then after.” It’s all over their social media. If you are in denial, you’ll probably give them a warning before looking at their social media.
  4. I was nice. My friends who used all sorts of drugs were nice. That doesn’t make it valid for me to hang out with them. Yes, you’re nice. Yes, you’re respectful and a good student, but NO; I don’t want you around my kid. Period. Work out your life first.

In ending, if you suspect your child even a little bit, go with your gut. Tell other parents if you know something. Don’t be embarrassed. Be an advocate for your son or daughter and check up on them! Often! Even if they are the most precious children in the world, they are teens! I lied as a teen, and I’m sure you did too. We have 2 choices as parents 1) Hold them accountable: It’s hard work day in and day out, or 2) Stay in denial so we don’t have to do any work. Like my friend Lisa says, “You know when you ground your child, you’re grounded too.”

For More Information on Codependency

For More Information on Drugs and Teenagers


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