How to Teach Your Teen to Deal with Peer Pressure

If you are raising a teenager, you know there are going to be some ups and downs. It is like a roller coaster that never seems to slow down. Before you know it, they will be adults, and going to live on their own. In the meantime, it is up to you to raise them to be healthy, well-functioning adolescents. One of the things many teenagers deal with is pressure from their friends. Even their best friends may be putting pressure on them to do things they don’t want to do. There are some tips that can help you to teach your teen how to deal with that pressure.

1. Present them with scenarios. The more scenarios you can come up with and go through with your teen, the better. They need to know what could happen. For instance, their best friend may want to do drugs, and they don’t want to. It can be difficult for a teen to say no to their best friend. If you go over different scenarios they may be pushed into, you can help prepare them and build their confidence in saying “no.”

2. Teaching them how to say no. Unfortunately, teen alcohol abuse and drug abuse is high in many areas around the world. You, as a parent or caregiver, never want your teen to fall into drug and alcohol abuse. Sometimes teens don’t feel confident enough just saying “no.” Instead, you want to teach them the different ways they can say “no.” For instance, they can say, “No, thanks, I won’t drink and drive.” They could say, “No. I have medications that don’t allow me to drink.” Your teen could say, “No. I would rather not get arrested for using drugs.” It can be tough for teens to say “no.” However, the more ways they have of turning down drugs and alcohol, the more confident they may be in doing so.

3. Let them come to you. Many teens don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about the pressure they are receiving from friends. They are worried their parents won’t let them hang out with their friends anymore or worse, turn in those kids. No teen wants to be the school or local “snitch.” If you allow your teen to come to you, without judgment, they will be more likely to open up. They will be more likely to tell you all about what is going on in their life. If they feel pressured to do something, they will open up to you and tell you about the situation that is happening. Then, you can help them cope with it and learn to handle it as well.

4. Help them become more self-confident. Does your teen have goals for their life? Do they have the chance of getting a college scholarship if they keep doing well? Maybe they want to become a doctor or a financial executive? What are your teen’s goals? If they have some already, help them focus on those goals and do what is right in the meantime, to get closer to achieving those goals. If your teen doesn’t yet have those types of goals, help them work towards creating them. The more self-confident your teen becomes in their life goals, the more likely they will be to turn down pressure from friends. 

5. Teach them that humor goes a long way. Some teens will keep pressuring their friends to do things if they just say “no.” However, you can teach your teen that humor goes a long way. Using humor to turn down the pressure from friends is a great way to relieve the tension and still feel comfortable hanging around those friends. For instance, when offered a drink at a party, your teen could say “No, thanks. I only drink powerful drinks, like Powerade.” Even if it isn’t necessarily a funny joke, their friends may be more likely to laugh it off and stop pressuring your teen.

6. Teach your teen deep breathing techniques. There are many types of techniques they can use to breathe deeply. Studies show that deep breathing can help to reduce anxiety, stress, and tension. Teens who are more anxious, stressed, and tense are more likely to give in to the peer pressure. If your teen can learn how to relax and stay calm, they will be more likely to turn down the pressure from their friends.

7. Letting go. There might be sometimes when your teen should just stop hanging out with a certain friend. People change over time, even those people who your teen has been friends with since Kindergarten. Many of these changes occur when teens are going through puberty. If one of your teen’s friends is now constantly getting high, going out to parties, or doing illegal things, it may be time for your teen to let go of that friend. It may be difficult for them to do, but it can help them. They won’t feel as drawn into the pressure from that friend and they will keep themselves out of the troubling situations as well. Your teen can just slowly stop accepting invitations over to that friend’s house. If they feel confident enough, they can even tell that person they will no longer be hanging out with them.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of peer pressure between teens and even from friends. Many teens are unprepared and don’t know how to handle it. They are struggling and don’t know where to go for help. If you have a teen, it is important they know you are there for them. There are many things you can teach them regarding the pressure they are or might receive from friends and others in their life. The tips here today are a great start. Start by teaching your teen just one of these. Make sure they know they don’t have to give in to the pressure, even if it is a friend trying to convince them to do something. It is okay to say “no.”

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. You can keep up with him on his blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.