To help your teenager say ‘no’ to peer pressure, firstly, discuss when saying ‘no’ to friends would be useful. Such as if they were asked to do something sexual or offered cigarettes or drugs by a friend.
Secondly, help them work out useful strategies. And there are 10.
So just say a group of friends tried to persuade them to try a cigarette:
- They could just say ‘no’ firmly –‘no- I don’t think so. No thanks.’ And if they’re asked why they can say, I just don’t want to.’
- They could explain why it is a bad idea. I don’t want to stink like an ashtray. Or I’d rather not have that taste in my mouth. Or perhaps ‘My uncle Jack died of lung cancer – I’ve seen what those things can do!
- Be funny “Smoke? Do I look like an idiot?” Or – “no way – my mum would kill me before the cigarettes could!” “I’d never make it past my mom’s smoke detector: her nose!” Making a joke is sometimes a good way to react – it lightens the mood and is a distraction.
- Could they suggest something else to do? ‘No, come on, let’s ride down to the park’ or ‘Let’s go and get something to eat, I’m hungry’
- Just ignore what they said. Just pretend they didn’t hear. Act like it wasn’t an idea even worth considering. Maybe turn their shoulder and talk to someone else in the group.
- Your teenager could give a reason why they can’t: ‘My Mum just called. She wants me home. Sorry –gotta go’ ‘Nah- my parents would ground me for life.’
- if their friends keep asking keep saying no over and over again – a bit like a broken record
- The next idea would be to have a pact with a friend or friends in the group that they back each-other up when they don’t want to do something. Often there’s safety in numbers. And it’s easier if there’s someone else in the group sticking up for them.
- Just walk away – get up and say – ‘nah- it’s not my thing.’ And walk off. Just say no and go.
- Could your teenager avoid those ‘friends?’ Could they hang out with other friends who are less likely to get them into trouble or persuade them to do risky things?
Finally, get them to practice saying no – find a strategy that feels comfortable and practice it, so it feels more natural when they want to say ‘no’.
So to help your teenager say no to peer pressure, 3 things you can do are to:
- Discuss when saying ‘no’ to friends would be useful.
- Help them work out useful strategies.
- And get them to practice saying no.
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