In the moment, when your child is offered drugs or alcohol, it can be hard to say no. It can help if you role play and practice with them. Here are some ways to help them make good choices by saying no in the face of peer pressure.
Lots of Ways to Say No
The classic, of course, is the forceful “No!” that can get you a long way. Other statements can include:
- “Nah, my family would be really mad.”
- “I’m not into that.”
Practice pushing your children and prompting responses. Always stress that the lines of communication are open with you and that, if they’re ever uncomfortable in a situation, they need to leave.
Reverse the Pressure
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out that not all peer pressure is bad. Teach your children to support their friends when they see them being pressured to use drugs or alcohol. The key word in these responses is the word we:
- We’re not into that.
- We don’t do that.
- We’re leaving to go see a movie.
Sometimes, a friend’s support can save a life.
Spoken vs. Unspoken Peer Pressure
There’s another, sneakier kind of peer pressure. The kind that doesn’t act directly.
Prepare your children for the kind of peer pressure that comes when a party full of people are drinking. No one may directly ask them to drink, but the impression they may get is that they’re not cool if they don’t. Stress making the right decision in either situation.
Remind and Reinforce
This isn’t a one-time conversation. It’s one that happens early and often. Make sure to talk to your children regularly about the social situations they find themselves in, dealing with peer pressure and making good decisions.