Thursday, October 7, 2010

Helping Your Child Deal With Peer Pressure

The issue of teen drug and alcohol use is alarming, but parents can and do make a difference in a teen’s decisions to use or not. Family researchers say you have to establish a firm “no use” drug and alcohol family rule. Once the rule has been established, here are some ideas from researchers at Brown University about how to help your child deal with peer pressure and drugs.

Responding to peer pressure in a kind but firm tone of voice is the best way to go. Parents can role-play scenarios with teens and come up with ideas for catch-phrases to legitimize the teen’s reasons for not using drugs, such as, “I’ve tried that before and I don’t like it.” Or “No, that’s not my kind of stuff.”

You might help your teen to consider other reasons that refer to consequences, such as “The one time I tried that, I got really sick and threw up all over the place.” Use any idea that will work for your teen and help him or her practice saying it. Another tactic your teen might use is to change the subject, and, if push comes to shove, leave the scene.

Peer pressure is not always the biggest enemy when it comes to substance abuse. The issue is not always outside influences, but those within the family. When teens don’t feel that their family supports them, they are at the greatest risk for problems.

Keep lines of communication open, use active listening while conveying support and concern, and calmly reinforce a “no use” view of drug and alcohol. These are the most effective ways to help teens resist using or depending on drugs and alcohol. Stay involved and stay connected with your teen.

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