The problem with teenage drug abuse often starts with a child not being able to fight off peer pressure. Kids and drugs are just two of the challenging issues that you may need to tackle yourself as a parent; it happens when a kid starts middle school and starts going out with peers who are also into drugs. If left unchecked, peer pressure can continue until high school and may escalate to more serious problems aside from drug abuse.
The key to helping your child overcome peer pressure is to talk about it, offer help and always keep the lines of communication available and open between you and your child. Keep in mind that not all types of peer pressure can have a negative impact on your child. Here is how to help your child with peer pressure:
Talk about It
The first step to helping your child overcome negative peer pressure is to start talking about it. It is inevitable and almost all of us go through it during our teen stage at one point. Start talking about your own experiences as a teen and how you handled peer pressure.
Ask your child if some of his friends at school have pressured him to do things he doesn't want to do like smoking, taking drugs or being mean to another child at school. You can ask how he handled the situation or if he has questions how to handle peer pressure. Be firm on what the rules are as well. Tell your child of the consequences if he gives in to negative peer pressure.
Help Develop Self-Confidence
It is quite obvious that children who have low confidence tend to give into peer pressure easily. So, how can you help develop self-confidence? Make them feel good about themselves; ask for their opinions and show them that you value what is it that they have to say.
Encourage Pursuit of Hobbies and Passion
Encourage and support your child in pursuit of positive activities such as athletics, music, arts, literature and joining youth groups that will more likely have a positive influence on your child. By doing so, it will occupy your child with time particularly after school which means less time spent with peers with negative influences.
Know Your Child's Company
Get to know who your child's friends are. To do this in a subtle manner, volunteer to host slumber parties, movie marathons or weekend hangout parties with friends. By doing such, you'll know your child's friends better and have an idea what type of people these friends are. Just for the price of some punch, pizza and popcorn, you can help prevent your child from giving into peer pressure.
Teach Your Child to Say "No"
Oftentimes, the shortest response to anything is the easiest and the best. Teach your child to say "No" in a pleasant but firm manner. You can also teach him to think of other appropriate responses that equate to "No" such as "I am doing something else tonight" or "My parents will kill me." The latter has already proven to be effective over the years.
In the end, it's all about listening to what your child has to say
and making sure that you are available whenever your child wants to talk
about peer pressure.