My Brother And Peer Pressure This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I walked down the hall to my brother's room. I never knock. I just walk right in. He tips his blonde head up and smiles at me through his metal mouth. I ask to borrow some CD. I'm not as interested in the CD as in how his school dance had been the night before. I am on a mission from my mother to find out who he danced. I push a few of his stuffed animals off his bed and sit down.

"So, how was the social last night, Nate?" I question innocently.

"Good," he answers carefully because he suspects it's a trick question.

"So, did you dance with any ... girls?" I question nonchalantly.

"Well, uh, yea - why do you want to know anyway, Nick?"

"I don't know, so was it Emily again or someone else? Did you ask her or did she ask you?"

The conversation goes on, mostly with me firing questions and Nate answering the best he can, without giving away too much. I do succeed in getting him to show me her picture in the yearbook.

My brother is in the seventh grade. We talk about many things - from girls, to his friends, to school. He won't tell me everything but he tells me things that he won't tell our parents. It's just him and me so I look out for him. It's not a hard job because my brother doesn't really get into too much trouble. He's a negotiator and he hardly ever gets riled up about things. I've tried my best to annoy him, but he usually calmly replies, "Ah, what are ya going to do?" So, fights at school or bullies have never been a big problem. He's also good at doing his homework. This was what plagued most middle-school boys four years ago, when I was there.

However, times, they are a changing and the things you hear kids in middle school are into nowadays is mind-boggling. They drink, dip, and smoke anything from cigarettes to weed that they get from older kids. It's not hard to get and it has become the thing to do.

I have heard of occasions where middle school kids have gotten drunk in school, or suspended for smoking in school. Some individuals were even caught bringing knives to school. What is it that possesses these kids whose bodies haven't even finished maturing to pump toxic and deadly chemicals into them? Weren't they listening in elementary school to the health lessons that taught them how bad these chemicals were? Why did they lose their innocence so quickly? Is it because we, the older high school kids, the people they look up to, are showing them that it's okay to do these things. Have we failed to be good role models?

I am scared for Nate. I am scared that he will bend to peer pressures. I fear that he will do things that seventh graders should only be reading about. I have talked to him about these worries and he assures me that he wouldn't. I hope that he is able to keep his word. I cannot be with him to protect him from his classmates, but I hope that I have influenced him in the right direction. Maybe I will be the one role model he can look up to.

I think that parents play an important role in a child's upbringing, but kids look to older kids for how to act. I hope more high school kids will stand up and tell our younger children, drugs are not cool; you don't need them to be a good, well-liked person. We don't use them and neither should you. ?Westford, MA


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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