Avoiding peer pressure.
Summer is finally in session! With the highly anticipated summer break, there comes a lot of extra free time for your children. Family vacations, summer camps, and sports can usually take up a good chunk of this time, but for those who may not have much going on this summer, boredom can start to kick in. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health Report, first-time use of most substances peaks during the summer months of June and July. Although we may not know the reason behind this, it's still concerning.
As parents, it's always important to know your child's peers. The kind of people they surround themselves with often will influence their choices. Peer pressure doesn't always have to be a negative thing. The influence of their peer's can also lead to good actions such as helping each other develop new skills, join new clubs, or want to study for better grades. Good and bad peer pressure is common, and often times, hard to avoid. It is never too early to prepare your children for situations where they feel pressured.
What can you do?
Sometimes it's better to look beyond teaching children to "just say no" and focus on the why. Other tips that can help with peer pressure are:
-Teach your children to listen to their gut. Teaching them to be independent thinkers at a young age can help them grow up to make their own decisions. This can help them confidently be able to say no.
-Seek out positive relationships. Encourage your children to surround themselves with others who respect them. Remind them that good friends should make them feel valued and not judged.
-Learning effective exit strategies. When peer pressure can't be avoided, it's important that they know how to confidently remove themselves from uncomfortable situations.
-Talk to your teens about peer pressure. Whether it may be about substance abuse or underage drinking, talk to your children about how they feel about these topics. SAMHSA.gov is a great resource for parents to practice these conversations ahead of time.