As children move into their adolescent and teen years, their social lives start going through dramatic changes. Instead of going on playdates, social activities involve events and parties. With that also comes teen peer pressure. Wanting to be accepted and feeling like they need to fit in, many teens give into peer pressure and do things they wouldn’t normally do, such as trying drugs or alcohol.
This can lead to substance abuse problems as well as underage drinking. Knowing how to talk to your teen about peer pressure and helping them develop healthy coping mechanisms is crucial in preventing these issues. And for teens who are facing an addiction to alcohol, professional treatment can help them get on the road to recovery.
Drinking and Peer Pressure
Experimenting and pushing boundaries is a part of growing up, and for some teens, that includes trying alcohol. With the media glorifying drinking culture and parties being a regular fixture in movies and TV shows, it’s no wonder that many teens feel pressure to drink.
What they don’t see on the screen is the potential for negative consequences, such as alcohol poisoning, car accidents, and other problems that can arise from drinking. And while peer pressure is often to blame for teens trying alcohol, it can also be a factor in maintaining an addiction.
Knowing how to navigate conversations about peer pressure and alcohol can be tricky, but it’s important to have them with your teen.
Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Peer Pressure
As teens continue developing, they start caring more about what others think about and how they perceive them. Peer pressure comes in many forms, both good and bad. An example of good peer pressure is when their friends want them to play a sport. Alternatively, negative peer pressure is when their friends want them to try drinking or drugs.
Here are some strategies for talking to your teen about peer pressure:
- Talk to them about development: Give your teen some gentle reminders that their bodies are still developing and growing. So, if they try drinking or drugs, that could negatively affect their bodies.
- Avoid making your teen feel trapped: Having discussions about teen drinking or peer pressure shouldn’t involve making them feel cornered. Give your teen a safe and comfortable place to talk without feeling like you’re interrogating them.
- Discuss the risks: Teens often question why there are age restrictions for purchasing certain substances. Explain the risks associated with using them and the potential for substance abuse. Knowing these facts can change their desire to experiment.
- Let your teen lead the discussion: Having conversations about teen drinking or substance abuse is more about listening to your teen than talking. It’s normal to feel nervous about these talks, but that doesn’t mean you have to control the conversation.
- Focus on healthy friendships: Remind your teen that when they have good friends, those people aren’t going to make them do things that make them uncomfortable. Encourage your teen to focus on relationships that help them grow.
Strategies for Fighting Peer Pressure
Talking to your teen about peer pressure involves giving them strategies for how they can fight it. For example, try to encourage them to trust their gut feeling. If something feels uncomfortable, then chances are it isn’t the right thing. Talk to your teen about how essential it is to pay attention to their feelings. The more in-tune they are with their emotions, the better chance they have of:
- Identifying what they are and why they have them
- Staying calm when stressful situations occur
- Remaining in control of the situation they’re in
- Having enough confidence to say no when things don’t feel right
Because it isn’t easy being the only person to say no, talk to your teen about finding friends who can do so. Finding friends who can say no to teen drinking or using other substances means they’re not alone when facing these situations.
Trust is another critical strategy when fighting peer pressure. Remind your teen that if they continue feeling any pressure, to talk to someone they trust. That could be you, a counselor, a teacher, or a close friend. It’s helpful if they can speak to someone they depend on and can trust. They can also depend on a substance abuse treatment center such as Foothills at Red Oak Recovery.
Contact Foothills at Red Oak for Help with Drinking and Peer Pressure
It can be challenging for you to talk to your teen about peer pressure, especially if there’s a history of substance abuse already in your family. If you’re struggling with this topic, now is the time to reach out for help. Contact Foothills at Red Oak at 866.300.5275 for teen peer pressure discussion strategies and to learn more about the hidden dangers of teen drinking.