Teaching your teen to say no to peer pressure doesn’t have to be a battle. There are simple ways that your teen can say no without losing face with their peers.
Your Teen CAN Say No
Learning to say no to peer pressure will be a valuable life-long tool for your teen. As he or she interacts with more people and they encounter difficult situations, your teen needs to be ready to say “no” if they don’t want to do something. But this is tough for a teen who wants to fit in with their “friends” and wants to be a part of a group.
It’s important for your teen to know that they don’t HAVE to fit in with a particular group, especially when it comes to belonging to a certain clique. When offered a can of beer, they should be honest enough to say “no.” The more your teen associates with friends involved in inappropriate behaviors, the more likely they are to adopt these behaviors and atttitudes. Sometimes teens need to openly declare their stand.
Here are some suggestions on how your teen can respond when caught in a tricky situation.
Making Up an Excuse
If your teen feels more comfortable making up an excuse when asked to do something they don’t want to do, encourage this practice. For example, if your teen is asked if they want to skip class, they can always use the excuse that they have to do something else that requires them to stay in class. If one of your teen’s friends invites them to a questionable party, the excuse can be that your teen needs to complete a school assignment that’s due right away.
There are times when a good excuse is appropriate to get your teen out of trouble.
Acknowledging Your Parents’ Stand
Another way for your teen to get out doing something wrong is to emphasize their parents’ stand. If they are asked to stay out late, they can always say, “My parents don’t allow late nights, so that’s not going to work.” If your teen is asked to sneak out, then the answer shold be a clear “NO.” Teens should always be prepared to take a firm stand. Referring to parental rules can deflect any animosity toward the teen.
Giving Their Reasons
But for your teen to really learn how to handle peer pressure, they can simply tell their friends why they don’t want to do whatever it is that “the group” wants them to do. By listing their reasons, they are showing their friends that they are not going to be swayed, no matter how hard they are pushed. If these are real friends, this tactic will usually make them back off. If not, the teen can leave the situation altogether.
Learning to say no to peer pressure is one of the hardest things a teen has to deal with … but it’s also the best way to stay safe. Let your teenager know that you trust him or her to make the right decisions.