Pressure peer groups can have an immense effect on your teen, but that doesn’t mean it needs to affect his or her life in a negative way. You can help your teen turn this type of pressure into the valuable lesson of becoming self-reliant and independent.
Dealing with Peer Groups
The pressure peer groups can put on your teen is tremendous. And while it seems like this has become a sort of rite of passage for teens, it doesn’t have to be a time that’s fraught with bad decisions and negative consequences.
By helping your teenager anticipate peer pressure,he or she will be able to react accordingly.
Establishing Family Rules
In the home, you can begin to tackle peer pressure by teaching family rules from a very young age. For example:
We don’t try drugs.
We don't drink until we're 21, and even then in moderation.
We don't get into cars with people we don't know.
We think before we act.
By creating simple rules that offer no leeway, you will instill these ideas into your teen as they grow up. As the teen gets older, you can begin to expound upon the “why” of these rules so that they understand your reasoning.
Show the Consequences
Many parents try to employ scare tactics to show their teens what they should and shouldn’t do, but this can sometimes backfire. Instead, teach your teens the realistic consequences of their decisions. For example, if they are caught drinking, they can get in trouble with the law which can go on their permanent record and cause them trouble when trying to find a job. That’s the truth. Another strong point to make is that drinking and driving can kill.
As a parent, you can emphasize awareness of many instances where your teen should not succumb to peer pressure. During these discussions, be patient and be sure to LISTEN to your teen.
Role-Play Scenarios with Your Teen
If you’ve taught your teen the difference between right and wrong, you’ve already helped them immensely. They’re going to have those ideas in their head, helping to guide him or her through peer groups and pressure. At home, some role playing might be beneficial for your teen as they learn how to handle people who try to pressure them.
By acting as the “pressure-er,” you can show them smart ways to turn down drugs and alcohol without facing repercussions from classmates. For example, you might teach them to stand up for their athletic careers or for the legality of not drinking before they’re 21 or that it’s simply their choice not to do so!
In any case, the pressure peer groups have on your teen will still be there, no matter how you plan for this situation. By having discussions with your teen, you’ll help them feel stronger and more confident in the face of adversity.