Talking to your Teen about Peer Pressure
GenPsych January 2018
Teaching your teen how to deal with peer pressure
As your child grows into their teen years, their social lives will start to flourish. There will be events, parties, and with that comes peer pressure. We may not realize it, but peer pressure plays a big part in our daily lives even as adults. From the products we buy, the music we listen to and how we act around others. Everyone must also face negative peer pressure; such as drugs and alcohol. Teens are very impressionable; the admiration of their friends and fitting in with the crowd are at the top of their list. Parents need to understand they are not powerless when it comes to educating and preparing their teenagers for standing up against peer pressure.
The first thing a teen should do when offered an illegal substance is to say no. Easy, right? Teach your teen this first, simple line of defense; NO! It’s much better than having them say yes. Right off the bat, you could potentially diffuse many situations. This simple line of defense could make a big difference.
If saying no is not enough and your teen’s pressured into trying something, coach your teen into asking why this person cares whether they use drugs or not. Talk to your teen about staying calm and explaining to their peers that they do not mind what others do. It is not your child’s business what other people do (as long as they are not driving together). For many teens, hearing that someone else will not judge them takes the weight out of the situation. It grants the person offering the drugs a way to back off, save face and still have the ability to “look cool” in front of everyone else.
If nothing is working and the person offering the drugs is persistent or getting upset, and the crowd is also pushing, it’s time for your teen to walk away. Take the time to explain the scenario step by step, and how to handle it. As adults, we have all been through it and know exactly how it feels and the importance of acceptance to a teen. If these friends are worth keeping they should respect your child’s decision. If your teen makes a stand, her real friends in the crowd will come to the rescue. Your teen will also gain the respect of others who feel the same way, and this could lead to the type of friendships you want for your teen. Like anything else, preparation is critical. Talk to your teens, understand what they are going through and explain to them that you were once their age.
GenPsych has five treatment centers throughout New Jersey. We offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) to help our clients recover from Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, Alcohol and Drug Addiction. If you or a loved one need help, don’t wait, call today.
Teen Peer Pressure