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Talk Early, Talk Often

Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.

It can be difficult for kids to resist peer pressure, especially in the heat of the moment when a parent or other caring adult isn't there to advise them. Also, kids often get into trouble when they act without thinking, so talking about peer pressure can help prepare your child when they have to face a difficult situation with friends.

Try to have regular conversations about peer pressure with your child.

Here are five tips from TeenSafe for helping your child deal with pressure from friends:

Tip 1: Be proactive: Talk through scenarios ahead of time. Don’t wait until your teen stumbles home reeking of pot to have a conversation about drugs and alcohol. It’s not going to do your teen any favors to shelter them from the realities they’ll face.

Tip 2: The way you say it is just as important as what you say. When having these talks, it’s easy to become emotional and resort to lecturing. However, try to maintain a calm, friendly, and neutral tone of voice.

Tip 3: Don’t criticize their experimental peers. For teens, their friends often function as their (chosen) family. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of the company your child keeps, refrain from attacking or criticizing their more experimental pals.

Tip 4: Appeal to their goals, not yours. Every person measures success in their own way. Make the extra effort to learn how your teen understands success, and guide them in making choices that will help them reach those goals.

Tip 5: Come up with a script. As humans, it’s very hard for us to come up with intelligent answers on the spot. Sit down with your teen and help them come up with answers that feel natural and personal. Let your kids know that if they ever face peer pressure they don't know how to resist, they can always refuse by blaming you.

Parents are the most powerful influence in a child’s life. Talk early and often about the risks, set clear rules against drug use, and enforce reasonable consequences for breaking the rules.

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