It’s hard enough for teens to say no when just one or two friends are pressuring them to take part in risky behavior. But when a whole crowd is doing something, it becomes even more difficult.
To help your teen avoid going along with the crowd, you can:
- Empathize. Always begin by telling your teen that you understand that breaking away from the group can be painful.
- Talk often about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Teens who are under the influence do things they simply would never have done otherwise. If your teen stays sober, she has a much better chance of staying safe.
- Give examples. Pick up your local newspaper for a few days straight, and you won’t have a problem finding a story about teens in trouble. Talk with your child about what happened. Ask her what she would do in that situation. Talk about ways to avoid trouble.
- Set limits. Make sure your teen knows what time you expect her to be home. This also helps her use you as an excuse: “I can’t—my mom is sitting in the front hallway right now waiting for me to walk in.”
- Encourage your teen to participate in supervised activities such as scouts, school clubs, religious youth groups or athletic teams.
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