Five Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Peer Pressure

As your child gets older, s/he may spend more time with friends and less with you. Here are some tips for helping your teen deal with peer pressure and make good choices.

November 25, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

Your teen faces many choices each day. Some choices are easy, and some are difficult. Your child’s friends—his or her peer group—can influence these choices. This influence is called peer pressure.

Some peer pressure is good. For example, your teen’s friends may influence him or her to work hard at school or excel at sports. But some peer pressure can be damaging to your child, especially if s/he is pressured to make choices that hurt his or her health or risk his or her safety.

Teens react to peer pressure for many different reasons. They may want to be liked or feel a need to fit in with their peer groups. They may worry that they will be made fun of if they don’t act a certain way or go along with a group because everyone else is behaving a certain way.

You can’t always control who or what is influencing your teen, but you can take action to help your teen prepare for situations where s/he will experience peer pressure, and help him or her find healthy ways to manage it. Click on the images to learn more.

Be Involved

 

You can’t control who your teen spends time with, but you can show that you care. Ask your teen about his or her friends, what s/he likes about them, and why. Set rules—for example, what time your teen has to be home every night. You’ll be building trust with your teen and making it easier to talk to you when s/he needs.

 

Offer Guidance, Not Decisions

 

Make it easier for your teen to ask for advice by offering guidance rather than making choices for him or her. Instead of telling your teen where s/he can or can’t go, discuss what s/he can expect in situations and how to react. Prepare your teen to make his or her own good decisions instead of offering your own.

 

Make Your Teen
Aware of Choices

 

Your teen may not be aware that s/he has choices. You can help by teaching him or her what those choices are. Explain that saying “no,” walking away, and asking for help are all options for avoiding conflict or not doing something s/he doesn’t want to do. Let him or her know that s/he can ask you for help, too.

 

Practice and Role Play

 

Help your teen make a plan for how to manage peer pressure by acting out situations s/he may face, like how to say no to smoking, avoid drinking at a party, or turn down a ride from someone who shouldn’t be driving. This will make it easier for him or her to make the right choice when those situations occur in real life.

 

Respect Your Teen

 

Your teen will be an adult soon and will be making all of his or her own choices. Teens with high self-esteem and self-respect are more likely to make good decisions, so show that you respect your teen as an independent person, be supportive, and do not punish him or her for being honest or sharing things with you.

 

Is your teenager acting out or showing behavior you don’t recognize? It could be a sign that s/he needs help. Find out how to protect your child from bullying, and make sure you know how to spot these signs of depression in kids and teens.

 

© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Dealing With Peer Pressure,” KidsHealth. July 2015.
http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/peer-pressure.html#

“Helping Teens Deal With Peer Pressure,” Child Development Institute. Accessed November 3, 2016.
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/ages-stages/teenager-adolescent-development-parenting/teens-peer-pressure/

“Helping Your Teen Make Responsible Choices,” Sutter Health. 2001.
http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/emotions/responsible-choices/choices.html

“Talking with Teens,” Office of Adolescent Health. October 17, 2016.
http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-publications/info/parents/other-conversations/peer-relationships/peer-relationships-teen-talk.html

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