Doctor Love: Grounded because of friends

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Dear Doctor Love,
I have been grounded since one week before school was out. I have been in more trouble this year than I ever have in my life. Most of it is for fighting. I don’t feel like it is all my fault, though. I hang with a bunch of guys that just seem to get in trouble all of the time. It is not me that is causing the trouble. I like to lay back and stay cool. Then one of them will always do something stupid and the rest of us have to be there to help him. That’s when the trouble starts.
My dad says that he has gotten me out of trouble for the last time and from now on, I’m on my own when I get in trouble. He grounded me and said that if my friends are the one who are causing me the problems, then I need some new friends. He thinks that grounding me will help me decide whether I want to hang out with the same guys or try to find new friends. I don’t want new friends. I like the ones that I’ve got now. I have known these guys since I know myself and I can’t just turn my back and walk away from them.
What can I do?
/s/ Grounded Again

Dr-Love

Dear Grounded,
All of us have friends who do stupid things. It is unavoidable. If you have ten friends, at least one in ten of them will do stupid things consistently. If you are in high school, the percentages are a lot higher.
This is a good time for self-examination on your part. Think of ten of your friends and consider how many of them consistently do stupid things. Now, think of a specific friend of yours. Are you one of the ten stupid ones that he knows? If you answered “No” then you’d better think again. Anyone who gets in trouble over someone else’s problems is doing something stupid. They also have issues with immaturity.
Think of this. How many times have you seen guys get in a fight over a girl? A year later, the girl is going with some other guy and she has nothing to do with either of the fighters anymore. The fighters still have the scars from their fight and the same bad feelings toward each other while the girl is no longer an issue to either of them. Even worse, the two fighters have gotten their friends involved and in trouble at the same time.
This situation pretty much defines stupidity.
Part of growing up and maturing is taking responsibility for your own actions. This usually happens naturally as guys get older. They get married and have children and they have new loyalties other than their high school buddies. You don’t have to wait until later to start this process. It is time to let your friends know that you are responsible for yourself from now on. If they get in trouble through their stupidity, they are on their own.

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