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Ask Nattie

By Nattie Swan -   Jan 25, 2007

Nattie Swan is St. Charles Parish’s best new advice columnist for kids and their parents. Let her help you. Send questions to editor@heraldguide.com.

My best friend’s smoking cancer sticks and I want her to stop

Dear Nattie: I caught my best friend smoking a cigarette the other day. When I asked her why, she denied it - even though I saw her puffing on it behind the gym at school.

She was even blowing those little "smoke rings" which makes me think this wasn’t her first cigarette.

She's about 20 pounds overweight. And I know another girl has been telling her that if she smokes she won't eat as much and she'll lose weight.

I don't want my friend to become a nicotine addict and get cancer, Nattie. What can I do to make her stop smoking and think about how she’s hurting herself? - Worried in Luling

Dear Worried: Smoking cigarettes is a hard habit to kick, especially if your friend has been doing it for a while.

I think you’re a good friend and have her best interests at heart. But let’s face it - you can't make her quit, she has to want to quit.

Maybe she’ll wake up if you tell her that stopping cigarettes might be hard, but it’s easier than fighting cancer. 

The kids who ride my bus are wild and crazy

Dear Nattie: I'm a bus driver in St. Charles Parish. When I first saw your column in the Herald-Guide, I remember thinking, "This is silly - that kid is too young to be giving advice."

But I’ve read every letter and all of your answers since then, and I'm now ready to admit that I was wrong - your answers are good and your advice makes sense.

So now I've got a question for you. How do I control the kids on my bus - well, not so much control them, but make them behave and treat me with respect. Most of the kids are pretty good, but at least 10 or 12 of them make life hard on me.

They're smart alecks. Should I just smile and put up with the abuse? Or is there something I can say or do that would make them be nice to me. If the situation were really serious, I would would seek disciplinary action.

But it's not that bad ... just borderline stuff that I'd rather not have to deal with. You're a teenager. Is there ANYTHING I can do? - Hoping in Destrehan

Dear Hoping: You might want to try using the authority that’s given to you by the school board.

If the students continue to misbehave, you can speak to them about it and tell them that you will take away or give freedoms depending on how they act.

“Taking away” could be as simple as turning off the bus’s radio or tuning it in to a news or classical station that the kids wouldn’tlike.

Or you could assign them to seats they didn’t like.

When their behavior improves, you could “give back” their freedom to sit where they want and turn the radio back on their favorite station.

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