Helping Teens Deal with Peer Pressure and Stress

By Tammy Posted April 05, 2013 under Talking to Your Teen

Most adults look back on their teenage days and remember the time as carefree, but spending my days teaching teenagers has helped me keep a less sentimental view of teenage life. So many teens of today are incredibly stressed out – especially the high-achieving ones.

In addition to juggling studies and extracurricular actives, teens also face pressure to be accepted by their peers.  In many cases, the pressure to “fit in” can be so stressful that even level-headed teens abandon their good judgment.

With summer quickly approaching, teens will likely be spending more time with their friends. Stressed-out teens may consider the summer a time to “cut loose” as a way to relax from the pressures of the school year – which is why now is the perfect time for parents to start the conversation and give teens the support they need to make healthy decisions this summer.

Below are a few methods parents can use to help their teen say no to peer pressure:

  1. Don’t lecture your teen, talk to them. To have an effective conversation, create a two-way dialogue with your teen instead of just telling them what they should do or how they should react in certain situations.
  2. It’s never too late to start the conversation, or too early. Talk often and openly about over-the-counter cough medicine abuse and other risky behaviors with your teen.
  3. Give your teen the tools they need to make healthy decisions. Empower them to say no and inform them about the health risks associated with medicine abuse.
  4. Know the signs of abuse; monitor your medicine cabinet and your teen’s on and offline activities. If you suspect they are abusing cough medicine, talk to them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  5. Talk through ways your teen can handle different scenarios in which their friends are peer pressuring them to engage in risky behaviors such as drug or medicine abuse. Help them devise an “exit” plan in case they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation with their peers.

These are just a few of the methods you can use to talk with teens about how to avoid risky behaviors and peer-pressure situations such as abusing drugs or medicines. Check out my video and our conversation starters for more ideas on how to talk to your teen about these issues. And let us know in the comments – how do you teach your teen to say no to peer pressure and risky behaviors such as drug and medicine abuse?