One of the hardest parts of growing up, is the same today as it has been for years, peer pressure. It is a part of every teenager’s junior and high school years. Some peer pressure is actually quite good in working towards developing your teen’s recognition of right and wrong. Negative peer pressure, the kind we most commonly associate with the concept, can be devastatingly corruptive.

There is quite a bit that you can do to help your teen resist negative peer pressure. Here are some examples:

First, teach your teen by your own good example. Don’t smoke, drink too much or drive too fast. Say "no" to friends when you need to. Your teen will see that it is possible to say "no" and still have friends, to be sober and still have fun.

Second, practice assertiveness skills. Rehearse for the times when your teen will have to say "no" in a difficult situation when you can’t be there to help.

Third, explore your teen’s fears of being different. Saying "No" can make one feel different, and it’s scary to face possible ridicule and rejection. Discuss what makes a true friend and how daring to be different can be mature and courageous.

Finally parents, help your teen find positive ways to feel good. Saying "yes" to self-esteem enhancing hobbies, interests and activities can help your teen to say "No" to harmful quick fixes.

Standing up to peer pressure is one of life’s greatest challenges. Your teen needs your loving help.

Mr.B