August 08, 2016 —
He was doing so well. I was so proud of my teen. No back-talking, no arguing. I mean, I thought I was rocking this parenting-a-teen thing. And then tragedy struck. I got a phone call from a dad down the street. My son had “prank texted” (more like “prank sexted”) his daughter. And it was bad. Really bad. And when I had the inevitable “what were you thinking?!” conversation...his response started with “my friend dared me.” And it was all downhill from there.
Something I wish I’d done? Talked to my teen about peer pressure. What I am doing now? Oh, my friends...I’m goading, cajoling, and generally harassing my son...and it’s so fun. Seriously.
Here are 5 FUN Ways to Talk to Your Teen about Peer Pressure--and you’re going to love ‘em.
- Corner Them. No, don’t “put them in timeout like they’re 3”, but put them in the car. And then go somewhere. All you need is 20 minutes. Or 10, even. Just make them sit still. Without headphones.
- Bribe Them. Go get some ice cream at the parlor. Or take them to their favorite burger joint. Just get them something yummy to put them in fun and happy mood. This will help make things less frustrating for them. And maybe you.
- Role Play. Do it. But not in a formal way (meaning, don’t actually tell them you’re role playing). Do something obnoxious (or pretend to) and then, elbow them and say, “I bet you can’t” or something equally as foolish. Then, when they do the thing, be sure to call them on how easily you pressured them. Because, if they can stand up to an obnoxious parent, they can stand up to their friends.
- Lead by Example & Feel Free to Fib a Little. Tell your spouse a story in front of your teen (when they are without headphones) about something crazy thing that happened at work. Talk about the crazy peer pressure you felt to do something that was borderline inappropriate or unprofessional. Then, talk about how you stood-up and said “no”. If you need to, you can exaggerate (or outright fib) a bit to make the story stronger.
- Give Them Permission to Lie. Look your child in the eye. Tell them to lie. This is one of those times when it’s ok--trust me. Tell them to inform their friends that they “can’t call Jenny on the phone, call her bad names, and then hang up because my mom will KILL me.” That works. Seriously. Tell your kids to repeat it. Get them to feign fright of you--even if they’re not really afraid.
The biggest thing: Don’t beat around the bush. Seriously. Teens don’t get subtlety. That’s what I did and now I have a guilt-complex for the feelings of a little girl I don’t even know, a son with a bad-rep, and the knowledge that it was up to me to prevent this and I did not.
The only thing I can say is thank goodness it wasn’t drugs or stealing. At least it was just words--and at least I caught it before it became something much, much less “fixable”.
Chantal wrote this. She's a nerd. A big nerd, at that. She also has kids, so that allows her nerdiness to swirl in the human gene-pool (you may decide if that's fortunate or not). All kidding aside, she has 3 beautiful kids and her husband just got a vasectomy so they'll be stopping there. Days are spent chasing said kiddos while pushing her glasses up her nose and reading books. Chantal writes (almost daily) over at NerdyMamma.com, Facebooks as NerdyMamma, tweets as @NerdyMammaD, and pins her heart out as NerdyMammaBlog with the occasional freaky-deaky photo posted to Instagram as NerdyMammaRocks.