Teens face a lot of pressure from what to wear, how to act, to whether or not to smoke, drink, do drugs, or engage in sex. How can you help your teen deal with peer pressure?
One of the best things you can do is help them find a peer group that shares your beliefs like a sports team, after school club, or church organization.
A second thing is to have discussions. During a carpool or similar occasion, ask your teen and several friends to take turns finishing the sentence, “I feel peer pressure to _______.” After each statement all the kids should discuss it – is there really any pressure to do that? From whom? What should they do? When the discussion loses energy, have the next child finish the sentence and discuss her answer.
A third thing you can do is create an imaginary situation where your child is with Susie, Kanesha, and Maria (name three of her real friends), and one lights up a cigarette. You play the role of Susie and say, “Try it – it’s cool.” Help your child practice saying, “No, thanks, not for me.” Push her, tease her, plead with her, insult her, and do everything you can imagine the other kids will say. The more aggressive and more uncomfortable you make your child feel, the more effective it will be. It’s easy to resist in a cold emotional state, but people act entirely differently in a hot emotional state, so if you can get her to practice in a hot state (like feeling peer pressure), it may be more effective.
If she doesn’t know what to say or how to answer, help her figure it out, and keep practicing until you are both confident in the result.
You can get more activities and advice on handling difficult issues with your teen by clicking on the Shop navigation bar above, then on Complete Books and Chapters to see your options.