Tips and Tricks for Teens on Managing Peer Pressure

thOk teens…

In high school, there can be a decent amount of pressure to attend parties and sometimes drink or do drugs. Yes, you can certainly say no to attending the party and avoid the whole thing; however, in some cases you then become the topic of conversation, not at the party, but on Monday at school. That’s no fun.  Not to mention that you want to hang out with your friends and be social, but don’t want to feel the pressure from others.  Be proactive! I suggest coming up with a shortlist of responses that you can use when faced with peer pressure, so you aren’t ostracized for doing the right thing. Here, I started the list for you with a few and when stated confidently and honestly, will be respected by your peers.  Trust me!

(These are related to the example of drinking at a party, but can also be applied to when being pressured to do drugs as well.)

  1. I can’t drink, I’m on medication/antibiotics.
  2. I can’t drink, I’m the designated driver.
  3. I can’t drink, I have practice in the morning (or a big game.)
  4. I can’t drink, I have to work in the morning and really need the money.

What would you add to the list?

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Dr Carol’s Self-Esteem Scale

measure self-esteemI designed this self-esteem scale as a quick reference tool for the teen girls I work with. It’s notso much a scale as it is a starting point for building healthy self-esteem. It allows for honest reflection on where you see your self-esteem presently and where you would like it to be.  Remember, self-esteem is not “fixed” meaning… it can change and grow with time.

1–3: Your self-esteem is on the lower end. You’re more concerned with how others view you or define you. You basically see yourself through the eyes of others. You don’t trust in your own decisions. You tend to go along with the crowd, whether you want to or not. You don’t rock the boat and aren’t sure how to stand up for yourself in tough situations. You don’t like to make others angry and will avoid confrontation at all costs. You aren’t sure if you can trust your friends 100%. You may have felt bullied at some point in life and still feel negative effects from it.

4-6: You have moderate self-esteem. You look to others for guidance when making decisions. You trust in what others say a bit more than trusting in yourself. You sometimes hold back how you feel because you’re concerned about your friends passing judgment. You can be a people pleaser. You feel you can comfortably trust your friends 75-80% of the time with most information without them using it against you.

  7–8: You have relatively strong self-esteem. You have a strong sense of self and you listen to yourself over the opinions of others. You aren’t easily swayed into uncomfortable situations and rarely feel peer pressured. You are unique and independent, and you can comfortably stand up for what is right without worrying about the consequences. You have a strong group of friends that you trust 80% to 100% of the time.

9-10: You have high self-esteem. You are comfortable in most situations at school and with friends. You are comfortable with all aspects of yourself. You’re accepting of your friends and the way they are. You do not fall victim to peer pressuring or bullying and don’t allow it to occur around you either. You do not feel the need to judge or gossip about others. You are a trustworthy friend.

Questions for Reflection

1) Where do you see yourself on the scale of self-esteem and why?

2) What external factors (looks, grades, boyfriends, etc.) do you depend on to “raise” your self-esteem?

3) Can any of these factors truly help your long-term self-esteem? Explain.

How to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is basically how we see ourselves in relation to others. It’s not fixed, which means it’s changeable. We all have good days and bad days, but every day is a new opportunity for changing or repairing our self-esteem. To treat ourselves right.  Here are just 5 quick tips that will help repair your self-esteem.

1. Have a positive outlook

Wake up telling yourself all the good things in your life before getting out of bed. Literally….  Don’t allow negative thoughts in as you lay there, push them out.  If it helps, say all the good things out-loud, then get out of the bed.  Every day it will get easier and easier and you will feel yourself waking up with more things to share and a more positive attitude. Acknowledge and stop the negative thoughts about yourself before the day gets started.

2. Challenge yourself once a week 

I don’t care if it’s trying a new activity, cooking a foreign meal or going somewhere you have never  been.  This helps us stretch our world and opens up our mind to more possibilities and opportunities. This type of action builds upon itself and you will find your challenges getting more and more bold or daring.  Ultimately, your self pride will grow.

3. Do something scary

I don’t mean walk down any dark allies at nigh, but I do mean take a risk!  Try zip lining….. say hi to a boy you have never talked to of run for class officer. You will be surprised by how amazing it feels after you have accomplished the action. You will experience a natural high similar to the one runners experience.  It’s a great uplifting feeling and it’s addictive.  You’ll be looking for the next big challenge.

4. Share your thoughts/feelings with your parents or close friends

Yes, this can also constitute as something scary, but this time it’s verbal action not physical action. A lot of teens don’t tell others about their worries or serious concerns.  They don’t think parents want to hear it and/or they don’t trust their friends with truly personal matters.  Take a chance…… share your feelings.  You will be surprised by how the information is received by your family and friends. It will bring you closer and you will feel a sense of relief for getting something off your chest, not to mention your level of trust in others will increase.

5. Stop engaging in negative activities that bring you down

Don’t hang around with people who put you down or don’t treat you right. They have no room in your life.  Stop mistreating your body with poor sleep, processed foods and no physical exercise. These things do affect your mood which in turn, affects your self-esteem whether you realize it or not. If you don’t think that you are worth it, no one else will either.