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Ten Steps to Battle Teen Peer Pressure

Apr 15, 2008
I thought I had seen it all. As a mother of 5, I was used to dealing with a messy house, skinned knees and sibling rivalry. I am sure I could write a book on each of these subjects. While they seemed difficult at the time, I have found recently that they were pretty easy to deal with compared to what I am dealing with now. You see, I now have a teen! When your child is young, almost any problem can be whisked away with a hug and a kiss.

As of a few days ago, I have a teenager! Now the problems are much more difficult. Raising young children is easy. If something goes wrong, all you have to do is give them a few kisses, a quick hug, and maybe a few minutes on mom or dad's lap.

The issues that face teenagers, drugs, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, smoking, aren't quite so easy to solve. These problems need a well thought out plan to address their many complexities.

When are kids are young we spend a lot of time teaching right from wrong. With teens, this teaching is much more important and needs to be practiced just as much. Here are some specific steps you can take to help your teen deal with peer pressure.

1. I want to know who I am?: Your teens friends are really important to him or her because they help your teen figure out who they are and what they stand for. That's not always a bad thing, but you want to be big influence in this area also. Spend time talking to your teen about what they believe in. Get them to say it out loud. Once they can verbalize what they stand for, it gets easier to make the right decision. When faced with an unclear decision, they should ask themselves, how does this compare to what I want to be?

2. We are going where?: Make sure your teen knows what they are getting into before it's too late. If they are unsure about what will happen in a situation, make sure they understand who will be there and what will happen in advance. Many kids get in trouble because they are too embarrassed once they are in a bad situation. It's far safer to know what will be going on before they get in a bad situation.

3. Know what questions to ask: Make sure your teen has a good arsenal of questions to ask their friends to find out what will be going on. Who will there? Are there parents there? Will there be alcohol or drugs there? It might be embarrassing the first time for your teen, but make sure they understand that their safety is more important than a slight bit of embarrassment.

4. HELP is just a phone call away!!!!: Your teen may find himself or herself in a situation that they know you would not approve of. Make sure they know that they can call you for help no matter what situation they find themselves in. Your teen needs to feel confident that they can count on you when they need you most.

5. Practice, practice, practice: Role playing can seem a bit goofy at times, but it will really give your teens the necessary skills they need later. Pretend you are one of your teen's best friends and really try to convince him to do something he shouldn't. Be as persistent as another teen would and really put the pressure on your teen.

6. My mom would kill me!: If your teen doesn't want to look un-cool, have them make you the bad guy for not going some where. Most teens can identify with this and will give your teen a pass when this excuse is used.

7. Is that a "real friend"?: Ask your teen to make a list of the characteristics of a friend. Review this list and then ask them why "get me into trouble" or "cause me harm" isn't on their list. When they answer you, point out to them that a real friend would never ask them to do something they were uncomfortable with or will get them in trouble. They should evaluate their friendships through that lens.

8. How do you define cool?: Who does your teen think is cool? Ask them to make a list (FYI - If you make the list, this is going to be a lot easier). Ask them to tell you why they thing these people are cool. Point out to your teen that people who are cool are not cool because they follow the crowd, but because they do their "own thing". You are not cool when you follow the crowd, but you are when you blaze your own path.

9. My confidence is growing: As parents, we have to work hard at staying positive. Sometimes we get so focused on getting things done, and what isn't getting done, that we forget about spending quality time with our kids. It is incredibly important to let all of our kids, but especially our teens, to know how important they are to us. Our teens are feeling very unsure about themselves and they are looking to us to build their confidence. Let them know how you feel about them. If there is another adult around, let your teen "overhear" you bragging about them. It will really give them a boost!

10. Its family time: Your teens are going to have a ton of tough choices to make. They best way to help them make the right choices is to give them a strong foundation of love and support. Make sure that you block off time to spend as a family just having fun. It's a great time for your teen who can relax and just be themselves without having to worry about peer pressure.

Raising a teen is tough. They are facing some really difficult issues as are you. You will both make mistakes. Make the mistakes out of love, not pride or stubbornness and always be willing to forgive each other.
About the Author
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