How Do I Talk To My Child About Peer Pressure and Alcohol/Drugs?

Every child will experience some form of peer pressure in their life.  Parents can help.

Here are some ideas to help your youth manage peer pressure:
  • Keep the lines of communication open so they know they can talk to you if they are feeling pressured into something they are uncomfortable with..
  • Suggest ways to say "no" - practice these with your child; it can help when the real life situation presents.
  • Give your teen a "way out" of sticky situations with a code word (see below for more details).
  • Encourage a wide social network so that your teen has many sources of support and friendship.
  • Build up your child's sense of self-esteem to ensure they feel confident to stand up for themselves.

Sticky Situations - Code Words Can Help

  • It is not uncommon for teens to find themselves someplace they would rather not be, which can be scary and can feel downright hard to get out of. 
  • Plan ahead with your teen to  text you for backup if they need it. You can agree on a code word to help - it can be anything like "tree" or "dog".  The code word says: "I need you to get me out of this situation. And I need you to not judge me, at least not right this second".  
  • When the parent gets the text, they call the teen and say something like, "Hey, didn't you remember that Aunt Gertrude is coming over?" and demand that the teen come home and/or that you're coming to pick them up. 
  • The teen gets out of the sticky situation--and saves face.