How to help your Teen Battle Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is extremely common in teenagers due to the large amount of time they spend together in a closed environment. It occurs when a group or individual forces another individual to do something out of character for them such as smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Most parents dread their teenagers falling victim to peer pressure whilst at school or in the company of their ‘friends’. Unfortunately the majority of teens do come face to face with some form of negative peer pressure during their college years. Many parents worry about this and wonder how they can help their teenager stay strong and battle negative peer pressure. Luckily there are a few things parents can do to help their teen learn to say no.

Build up their confidence

Teenagers can quite frequently have low self-esteem. Low self esteem means they may do whatever is needed, i.e. smoking to fit into a ‘clique’. However if your teen is confident in their own right they will feel less of a need to conform to peer pressure groups. Encouraging and praising your teen for good performance in class tests is a great way to help build their confidence.

Make them feel an important part of the family

Teenagers love being part of a group, so make them an important part of your family. Encourage them to dine with the rest of the family at mealtimes rather than rush off to their bedroom to watch TV. Have family days out or trips to encourage bonding with your teen. These trips will also give you an opportunity to talk to your teen and to notice any unusual behaviour which may indicate peer pressure or bullying. A good mother and daughter or father and son relationship normally helps give your teen a sense of belonging and renders them less likely to fall victim to peer pressure.

Educate them on peer pressure and the disadvantages

It is important that parents talk to their teenagers about peer pressure and the disadvantages associated with it. Tell your teen that if they started to smoke now in order to be part of a particular clique this will lead to health and probably financial consequences later on in life. The main problem teens have is that they cannot see into the future, they just live for the here and now. As a parent you need to make them aware that present activities do influence what happens in the future. This also goes for school work. Tell your teen they will be the better person and overall winner for standing up to negative peer pressure, rather than giving in.

Encourage healthy friendships

A good way for teens to avoid negative peer pressure is to avoid friendships with certain groups. You can help your teen by encouraging healthy friendships; that is those that positively affect your teen’s school work and exam results. If your teen does make some new friends, why not suggest your son/daughter invite them around for some snacks and to watch a DVD to help build up the friendship. However be careful not to intrude to much into your teen’s life, as they like some privacy.

Helping your teen deal with negative peer pressure does not have to be a nightmare. If you spend time talking to them about peer pressure and how to deal with it they will hopefully be able to stand up for themselves and say no.