Please welcome my guest blogger, Blaise Brooks, as she discusses how to help teens resist peer pressure! -Dr. Barbara Greenberg
Your teen goes to a house party and is offered a drink by someone he or she considers to be a good friend. You, of course, would expect your teen to be able to confidently say “No.” However, do you really know how your teen will respond?
We all know that our teens will inevitably be pressured, at some point, to engage in risky behaviors, such as underage drinking, smoking or abusing cough medicine. Our teens have an overwhelming desire to feel a sense of belonging, which may cause them to make poor decisions and participate in such activities, in order to feel accepted among their friends. However, just because peer pressure is something our teens will experience, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can do help them make the right choices.
Parents, here are three things you can do to help your teen resist peer pressure and become less likely to be influenced to engage in risky behaviors:
- Create an environment of open communication. Your teen needs to know that he or she can come talk to you about anything. By keeping communication open with your teen at all times, he or she will be less likely to hide things from you. Whenever your teen comes to talk to you, be sure to give him or her your undivided attention, so your teen feels like you are actually hearing and understanding where he or she is coming from.
- Strengthen your teen’s personal identity. Teens succumb to peer pressure because they define themselves according to who their friends are and what they are doing. Help your teen develop a stronger sense of self by encouraging your teen to explore his or her personal interests and find a niche of his or her own. Once teens form their own identities, they are less likely to be influenced by their peers because they are better equipped and more confident in making decisions for themselves on their own terms as opposed to those of their friends.
- Practice common scenarios. Role play with your teen and act out common situations where your teen will be likely to be pressured to engage in risky behaviors. It’s no longer enough to simply tell our teens to “Just Say No”. We need to show them exactly how to confidently and firmly refuse a cigarette or a drink.
It’s nerve-racking to come to terms with the idea that you may not always be able to protect your teen from peer pressure. However, when you teach your teen how to resist peer pressure, your teen will be less likely to be influenced by their peers and more likely to make positive decisions.
Blaise Brooks is a mother of one, caregiver of two and a contributor to the Five Moms blog. The Five Moms’ mission is to spread awareness about teen cough medicine abuse by openly talking about the challenges parents of teens face and offering from-the-heart advice on how everyone can work to prevent OTC cough medicine abuse in homes and communities. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.