Peer pressure can be a difficult thing for teens to overcome with school, friends and others in the community exerting both positive and negative influence. A peer group may have more influence on a teen’s choices than parents, mentors or other adults. It is important to learn how to stand up against peer pressure of negative influences such as drinking or drugs. Learn about peer pressure and how it impacts teen drug use and what can be done to support positive engagement in teens.
One of the most powerful influences in a teen’s life is peer pressure. Starting early by providing the right tools can combat this negative influence in a teen’s life and turn it into a positive experience. Resisting negative peer pressure is not easy but is possible by starting a conversation with a teen in the home. Frequent, open conversations are helpful but professional help is available when this seems difficult.
Ways to Help
The following tips can be helpful with broaching the topic of peer pressure with teens.
Understand the psychology. Helping teens to stand against peer pressure starts with knowing what kind of friends and people surround the teen. A little psychology goes a long way to supporting a teen in understanding the reasons behind peer pressure to act and behave in a certain way. Teens desire acceptance and independence. Validation seems the key to teen’s existence many times and when a teen can understand the motives behind a peer’s message, it can help teens analyze the situation better and make informed choices.
Encourage doing the right thing. Choosing to do the right thing because it is always the better alternative to caving in may seem a steep hill to climb with a teen but is not impossible. If a teen behaves poorly or causes harm to another, the teen may be afraid of ridicule if it is pointed out. A teen who takes pride in doing the right thing and helping others is more incentivized to continue speaking out than one who has no empathy or compassion for others.
Use the power of visualization. Parents can support teen’s understanding of peer pressure by helping teens decide how to behave in certain circumstances before the situations get out of hand. Work with the teen to determine acceptable behaviors to turn down if drugs or alcohol are offered. Role play some scenarios to get teens to feel more comfortable and how to behave. Remind the teen to stay calm and confident so peers respect the decision.
Set limits and talk through scenarios. Parents can help teens understand the consequences of actions by going over the most effective ways to reduce teen drug or alcohol use. Model the real world as it relates to consequences such as health risks associated with drug or alcohol use. Arming short-sighted teens with long-term vision and understanding can be a powerful teaching tool to resist peer pressure when it arises.
Empowering teens with knowledge and information is key to preventing peer pressure from getting the best of a teen. If a teen is struggling to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol, the Villa has resources and tools to help teens and families recover.