teenagers playing poker and drinking

The struggle is indeed real when it comes to negative peer pressure — not just for teens, but for parents as well. Even though you dread the day that your child will make hard decisions on their own, it’s inevitable. You can’t be on their side every moment to shield them from bad influences, but you can certainly educate and train them now to deal with such. Here are the best ways to help your teen handle peer pressure:

Encourage finding good friends

The best way to deal with negative peer pressure is to avoid it, at all costs. Your teen should never have to do anything with toxic relationships. What they should instead look for are good friends. Remember that not all peer pressure is bad. When your child is surrounded by good company, they would have a far better potential in achieving academic success, emotional maturity, and sometimes, even spiritual growth. This is the kind of community fostered in a private Christian high school. Gilbert, AZ-based educators prioritize a safe, supportive climate conducive for pupils to create healthy relationships with one another. Consider sending your teen in such institutions. You can’t choose your teen’s friends for themselves, but you can always influence the pool in which they can find their peers.

Teach them to be strong-willed

The more assertive your child is, the less likely they are to be victims of peer pressure. They should be able to speak their mind and to refuse to do something that goes against their morals and values, when necessary. One of the best ways to instill this value in them is to model it. For instance, when you say no to someone who violated your boundaries, stick to your word. When your teens see that it’s okay to turn people down, they’d be comfortable saying no as well. Of course, beyond demonstrating what assertiveness is, you have to let them practice it, too. When you have family decisions to discuss, talk it over at the dinner table, and let your children express what they think and feel. Early on, they should feel that they have a voice and that their voice matters.

Let them assess risks

teens drinking alcohol in car
A lot of teens get pressured because they feel that nothing bad can happen out of it. Or, at times, they just are completely unaware that they’re already being forced. It’s this underestimating or oblivious attitude that the youth succumb to activities they would have never done if they were in the right frame of mind. That’s why it’s your goal to bring them to that logical mental space whenever they’re confronted with peer pressure. Tell your teen to assess the risks involved if they do what their classmates tell them to do. Will it cause physical harm, to them or others? Is it against the law? Will it negatively affect the relationship with parents? They should be able to process these questions, answer them with honesty, and act according to their moral standards.

Persistence under Pressure

The struggle is indeed real in the matter of peer pressure. Ironically though, you want your teens to feel the struggle of such situations — precisely because the absence of it means them finally giving in. Stay through their struggles. Keep pressing on.