Teens face peer pressure daily, both positive and negative. Positive peer pressure can help your teen try new activities that improve her life, but the negative pressures push her to engage in unsafe or illegal behaviors. Your teen can stand up to the negative pressure with a little help and constructive activities in her life.
Teens increasingly lean on peers, but parents still have the power to influence older kids. Teens also benefit from having a trusted adult to talk through peer pressure circumstances. Getting involved in your teen's life allows you to recognize problems that might arise. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends meeting her friends, building her confidence and giving her an out if she gets into an uncomfortable peer pressure problem.
The peers your teen spends the most time with affect the type of pressure she experiences. Your teen can avoid negative circumstances by hanging out with other teens who stay away from dangerous activities. A social circle with similar values and interests allows your teen to participate in activities she enjoys without the pressure to engage in behaviors she wants to avoid, such as drug use, alcohol consumption and sex. The Teen Health website suggests meeting lots of different peers and spending time with positive role models.
Teaching your teen how to deal with negative peer pressure prepares her for problems when they arise. Role-playing with your teen is a simple way to practice coping skills. The AACAP suggests practicing how to get out of difficult, high-pressure positions. Your teen might practice calling you with a code message that means she needs you to pick her up right away. For example, if she's at a party when the host offers her a drink, she can call you and say, "Mom, I have a headache. Can you pick me up?" Thinking about the consequences of decisions is another way to cope with the pressure. If she gets caught drinking, she faces legal issues that could mess up her sports eligibility or future plans.
Participating in activities that build your teen's self-esteem might help her deal with negative peer pressure. The activity itself occupies her time, keeping her away from situations that could lead to unnecessary pressure. Participation in activities such as sports, leadership organizations or clubs helps your teen build a social circle with similar goals and values. These activities often build self-discipline that can help teens make positive decisions.