Welcome to part two of this mini series on how to help your teenager resist the peer pressures of drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. If you're new to this series, you can read part one by clicking here. To recap, part one covers what peer pressure is and how it plays a role in your teen's life. Today's post is meant to help you teach your child how to recognize and resist peer pressure, as well as sharing your own values with your child, and how to say no in certain situations.
So how can you help your child realize and resist negative peer pressure? It all begins at home. You have to first share your own thoughts, feelings and values as a parent and be a positive role model on drinking, smoking, and drug use. You also have to demonstrate these values every day to prove to your child that you believe in what you say. Share your own stories about things that have happened in your past and what you did, or how you reacted to resist peer pressure. Be honest and open.
Teens are a tricky bunch, no doubt. They can often think they are indestructible and can also be quite curious and fearless. You have to spend time with your child and show them the devastating effects of what can happen when drugs and alcohol are used by teens. Show them all the terrible pictures of how badly drug use affects a person's appearance and health. Show them pictures of the consequences of drinking and driving. Be aware that some of these might seem graphic, but making a strong impact might one day save their life.
By sharing your experiences, your values, and demonstrating the effects of substance abuse, you will help your child understand the importance of staying clean and sober. You will also help them understand the difference between positive and negative peer pressure. Talking to your child in a calm and open manner will also carry over into cultivating open lines of communication. This will really be beneficial in the future. When a teen knows that they can talk to a parent without being scared of being judged or punished, they will open up to you in a whole new way. You'll be able to talk daily about their problems, and celebrate their successes.
When you do talk to your teen about negative peer pressure, show them different ways to resist and say no. It can be as simple as making up an excuse. Offer yourself, as the parent, to always be the bad guy in their excuses for saying no. Your child will appreciate you having their back and giving yourself up like this to protect them. Also, encourage your child to stick up for themselves, what they believe in, and each other as well. Bullying can be a side effect of peer pressure so make sure your child is well equipped by acting out some real-life situations.
Encourage your child to find friends that are like-minded about drinking, smoking, and using drugs. After all, there has always been strength in numbers. Show your child how self-esteem comes from being able to accomplish positive goals and by being a good role model to their peers. Have your child get involved in local activities, like sports teams, academic clubs, theater groups or any other healthy activity that will build confidence.
Negative peer pressure is a powerful force, but good parenting can overcome it. All you have to do is take the lead to develop a good relationship with your teenager, and everything else should fall into place.
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