Smart ways to help your tweens & teens navigate the real world by Rosalind Wiseman

Q: My 16-year-old just showed me a post on the Facebook page of his older cousin—a guy he really looks up to—that says he smoked pot with his college history professor. How should I approach this? And should I tell his parents? He’s 19 but I think they’d want to know.

A: Can we just take a moment to point out how pathetic it is that some professors think smoking pot with their students is cool? And safe to say it’s not exactly where parents want their tuition dollars going. But back to your son: The good news is he values your opinion enough to implicitly ask whether this behavior is acceptable. Initiate a dialogue by communicating your thoughts clearly, then listening carefully to his. Say something like, “Thanks for showing me. It seems the professor is trying way too hard to be popular with students. What do you think about that? Why do you think Sam feels the need to post this?” As far as talking to his parents, inform them of what you know so they aren’t in the dark; they can make whatever decision they feel is most appropriate. For example, say, “I saw Sam posted something on his Facebook page about partying with a professor. Not sure if you’ve seen it but you may want to check it out.”

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Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes inspired the hit movie Mean Girls. For more info, go to