Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:36 pm | Fair 67º


Louise Palanker: Drinking Age, Girlfriend with a Boyfriend, Long-Distance Relationships

Question from Peter

Is it bad to drink alcohol as a teenager? We are around 16 years old and we don’t drink a ton, but is it OK to have a few sips?

I don’t drink yet. I’m just wondering if it’s bad because there are plenty of teens I know who do it.


My opinion is that it is dangerous. Teenagers are already impulsive and somewhat irresponsible. Alcohol adds a match to that furnace.

The teenage brain is not yet fully able grasp the consequences of actions. Alcohol can convince even really thoughtful adults to make dumb choices. It will completely have its way with teenagers.

The irony-laced loop of doom is that alcohol is a bad idea that leads to far worse ideas.

A few sips can fool your brain into believing that more sips would be truly excellent. Add peer pressure to this cocktail and now you are in a car with someone who has been drinking or you are making out with someone who does not listen when you say, “Stop.”

Please wait until you are 21 before endeavoring to learn how to drink responsibly.

Here is some solid advice from Megan Parken:

(Megan Parken video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Elizabeth

My friend is starting to act differently now that she has a boyfriend. We’ve been friends for almost 10 years, and it feels like we’re starting to drift apart. She always picks him over me. What should I do?


What you are experiencing is not just common, it is expected. Your appointed duty at this moment in time is to ride this out calmly. Do not ask her to choose. This will happen to you, too, when you start to date.

Give each other that space. You can tell her that you miss her and that you want to hear all about everything. Be patient. She will come around.

Falling in love with someone who loves you back is a solid head rush. It picks you up, spins you around and sends you soaring.

Your friend is not in complete possession of her bearings right now. She still loves you. Be there when she returns to earth.

Meghan Rienks has more advice for you:

(AwesomenessTV video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Trevor

How do I deal with a long-distance relationship? I’m in the United States and my girlfriend is in Australia. I’m 15 and she’s 17, so it’s not like we can visit each other.


Don’t classify this as a relationship. I know that what you are experiencing feels like love and I do not wish to disrespect that. But treating this like a commitment is not being fair to either of you. Additionally, at your ages you are not being safe.

Watch a few episodes of Catfish: The TV Show on MTV.

It’s an eye opener. You may not be talking to a 17-year-old girl. Don’t get yourself too emotionally invested in someone you have never seen in person.

Call this an online friendship. You don’t know each other in real life. This is like a pen pal. It can enrich your life, but it should not replace your life. Both of you should continue to be present for the people who are present.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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