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Peer Pressure and Your Teen

     One of the hardest parts of growing up, is the same today as it has been for years, peer pressure. Although most people think of peer pressure in a negative way, 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 are some things 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.

* Secondly, help your children handle peer pressure when they are alone by helping them to handle making responsible choices when they are younger. Allowing them room to become confident decision-makers is a place to start. As your child becomes more skilled at making all kinds of good choices, both you and she will feel more secure in her ability to make the right decision concerning alcohol and drugs if and when the time arrives.

* Third, 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.

* Fourth, 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.

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