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How to Help Your Teen Cope with Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is an ever-present monster lurking within your teenager’s everyday life. It’s likely that most of their decisions ride on the acceptance of their friends or classmates. In today’s world, a teenager is bombarded with information from the media, their parents, teachers and friends, so making the right choice is not always easy, especially if your teenager doesn’t have strong parental guidance. It’s your job to guide your teen through these difficult years, so read on for some great ways to approach the topic. 

1. Strengthen Your Relationship

The stronger the relationship with your teen, the greater influence you’ll have. Ideally, you want your teen to be able to talk to you about anything that is going on in their life. Otherwise, they will turn to their friends for help, who may not always be that wise. Strengthening your relationship may not be a quick task, but it’s important that you listen and let them know that you are their best resource.

If your teen feels as though you’re judging or scolding them, they’re likely to distance themselves. Try to put yourself in their shoes and recall what it was like when you were their age. Once they’re comfortable opening up to you, help them come up with solutions to the problem and guide them towards the right choice.

2. Set Clear Rules and Expectations

It’s important that your teen know what the rules are and what you expect of them. Set a reasonable curfew and ensure that they understand what your expectations are as far as academic performance. You don’t want to your teen to be unsure of the rules for smoking, sex, drinking, or dating either. Some of these topics may be uncomfortable, but they should be addressed. All rules and expectations need to be crystal clear. 

3. Consult a Counselor

If your teen is engaging in troubling behavior, it may be wise to seek help from a professional counselor.  Make sure that they will work with both you and your teen, together and separately. This experience will certainly help improve your relationship and you’ll learn new communication skills that will likely benefit you well into the future.

4. Peer Pressure Can Be Positive

The phrase “positive peer pressure” may seem like an oxymoron. However, if your teen is hanging out with friends that perform well at school, are involved in sports, or other positive behaviors, they’ll be pressured to reach the same goals. This can be a positive situation for everyone and should be encouraged. Talk to your teen and make sure that they are happy engaging in these activities. 

Despite what you may be reading in the news or seeing on TV, most teens move on to adulthood without trouble. However, having a parent they can turn to will make the journey much easier. If you are an important influence in your teen’s life, they will strive to please you and hold your expectations in high regard.