Teen Peer Pressure: Raising a Peer Pressure-Proof Child

Posted by wendy on May 25, 2010 under Uncategorized | Comments are off for this article

 

Learn what kinds of peer pressure teens face, who’s most vulnerable, and how to help your son or daughter resist.

Making Your Child Resilient to Teen Peer Pressure

In spite of adolescents’ vulnerability and the strong influence of peers, parents can exert a positive influence on their adolescents’ decision-making processes, offering them ways to combat the effects of peer pressure. Experts explain how.

  • Keep communication lines open
    Talk to your kids — and don’t wait until they’re teens. Healthcare professionals, counselors, and educators agree unanimously that open communication between parents and their children helps youth better manage teen peer pressure. “It’s not too early to have an honest conversation about drugs, sex and other pressures when your child is in fifth grade,” Miller says.

    Dialogue that starts early pays off in the long run. “The kids who weather the decision-making process are those who can talk to their parents, no matter what the issue, and who know that even if their parents don’t approve of it, they will listen and help them make a decision that makes sense to them,” Forcier says.

    Research supports this theory. Teens who report learning a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who say they haven’t learned a lot about drugs from their parents. That’s according to results of an annual, nationwide survey of teens in grades 6 through 12, conducted by Partnership for a Drug-Free America and reported by Tom Hedrick, senior communications officer and founding member of the association.

  • Practice peer pressure scenarios
    Teen peer pressure may come as a surprise to your child. Out of the blue, he may be offered a cigarette or a swig of alcohol, and he may have no idea how to respond. You can help prepare him for these scenarios. “Find a calm period, prior to or during early adolescence, and role play,” Solotar suggests. “It’s much easier to manage a situation if you’ve already thought it out.”
  • Listen to your teen’s perspective
    Express your personal opinions, but don’t let them shut down communication, advises Forcier. “You want to make clear to your adolescent what you believe in. But if you shut down on certain topics, your kid won’t come to you as a trusted adult,” Forcier says. She offers the example of the parent who adamantly refuses to discuss birth control with her 15-year-old daughter. “These kids are the ones we often end up seeing for pregnancy tests,” Forcier says.
  • Keep inviting your kids into your life
    “There is a natural break [between teens and their parents], and it should happen. But I tell parents to keep inviting kids to do things. Kids want their parents to maintain the relationship,” Allen says. He warns that it may take some creativity and effort on the part of the parent. “You might have to find new ways to relate to your kid,” he says. He suggests trying to find mutual, life-long interests to share with your adolescent, like playing tennis or cooking together.
  • Think beyond punitive responses
    A parent’s initial reaction to an adolescent who comes home inebriated may be to punish. But, ultimately, that’s not a solution to the real problem. “A punitive response doesn’t get at what you need to change the behavior,” Forcier says. “If a teen is 14 and she’s drinking, there’s probably a good reason for it. If you address it, maybe she won’t need the alcohol.”

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