Confronting Peer Pressure With Your Teen This Summer

Guest blog By Tammy Walsh

With school out for summer break, teens are likely to spend a lot of free time with friends and may face challenging situations they weren’t expecting. This can be scary for parents, but know that you are not helpless!

Summertime presents a great opportunity to start talking with your teen about peer pressure and the influences it can have on his or her behavior. Take advantage of this time to work with your teen on confronting peer pressure and doing what they think is right.

Here are some things you can do this summer to make sure your teen can appropriately handle situations where they feel pressured to participate in something they aren’t entirely comfortable with:

  • Have a conversation, not confrontation: Whenever you choose to talk to your teen about peer pressure, make sure you are having a discussion with them, not lecturing to them. If your teen feels like he or she is being lectured to, he or she may respond defensively and not listen to you. Even if your teen is being unresponsive or appears agitated, remain calm and don’t give up. If you are looking for ways to initiate a conversation, take a look at these conversation starters.
  • Prepare an exit strategy: Sometimes teens simply don’t know what to say when pressured to participate in a risky behavior like experimenting with drug and medicine abuse. Take some time to brainstorm phrases that your teen can say if pressured to engage in a potentially dangerous activity. Here are a few examples to get started:
    • “No thanks, I don’t do that stuff.”
    • “No thanks, I’m not interested.”
    • “The side effects just aren’t worth it to me.”
    • “I’m committed to living a healthy lifestyle and doing drugs is not part of that.”

Even saying something like, “If you were my real friend, you wouldn’t ask me to do that” can turn the conversation on the perpetrator. And finally, be sure to remind your teen that sometimes the best option is to simply walk away.

  • Continue the conversation: Just because you’ve had the conversation once, doesn’t mean you can’t continue it. Bringing up the topic of peer pressure every once in a while will help keep it top of mind for both you and your teen. Casually check in with your teen when an opportunity presents itself. For example, if you see an article about peer pressure in the news, don’t be afraid to share it with your teen—sometimes seeing real life examples can help put things into perspective.

Do you have any other tips for talking to teens about peer pressure? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Tammy Walsh

Tammy is a mother of two, a high school math teacher and a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org. Tammy has a passion for addressing the issue of substance abuse openly and honestly with parents and teens. Through her work with The Five Moms, she hopes to reach more parents on a national level, educating and empowering them with the tools to make positive change in their communities. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter

TEEN MONOLOGUE SERIES at Thick House Theatre in SF Aug 9th, 2015!

TEEN MONOLOGUE SERIES: A collection of true stories about real teens struggling  teenage girl Sharing Secret With Friend In Park
with tough issues surrounding self-esteem.

Stories about teens…for teens.

Maybe you know someone like Katie? She is dying to fit in. Literally. A bulimic freshman in high school, she’s drinking and hanging out with the mean girls. Maybe you know someone like her?

Or Cindy. A high school junior who acts like everything is always fine. Playing three sports, getting straight A’s, partying on the weekends, but struggling with depression, perfectionism and addiction.

Seventy-five percent of teenage girls with self-esteem issues (have reported) engaging in negative activities such as: smoking, drinking, bullying, cutting, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and even suicide attempts. Story telling is a very powerful form of acceptance and self-healing.

Dates: August 9th, 2015

LocationThick House Theatre in SF (Playwright Festival)

Time: 12pm & 2pm

For ticket information click here!

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?