It can help teens learn to live as part of a group. It can give them a chance to make a healthy separation from their parents.
But peer pressure can also be a negative. When teens are asked why they have sex, only a few of them say it’s because they’re in love. The number one reason they give? Peer pressure.
Parents can help teens resist unhealthy pressure by telling them to think of themselves as thermostats, not thermometers.
Teens often believe that they have no control over what happens to them. When they are in a difficult situation, they simply go along with what everyone else is doing. That makes them like thermometers.
Teens should be more like thermostats. They can actually adjust the scene around them. They can offer a different choice. To avoid a party where they know liquor will be served, they can suggest bowling or skating instead.
If a teen is feeling pressure to have sex, he can say to himself, “I’m able to make up my own mind.”
Thinking of themselves as “thermostats” will probably be new for most teens. But helping them see that they have the power to influence others can give them a powerful way to resist negative peer pressure.
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