Peer pressure can be a positive influence. However, it can also lead teens to do things they wouldn’t usually, or stop them from doing something they would like to do. And it can challenge their view of what’s right and what’s wrong.
The best protection from peer pressure is for teens to have a strong and loving relationship with their parents.
It’s normal to want to feel liked and have a sense of belonging and acceptance from peers. Unfortunately, peer pressure increases as teens struggle to work out where they fit in their social world. This can be especially true when it comes to trying alcohol.
Other social pressures such as social media and celebrities behaving badly can also influence our kids’ attitude towards alcohol.
As a parent, you’re the most important influence in their lives and your relationship can help protect them against peer pressure.
Tips for helping your teen deal with peer pressure
- Show an interest in your teen’s life. Let them know that what they’re doing is important to you, even if it’s something you’re not interested in personally.
- Get to know their friends’ parents. That way you’ll have a better idea of where your teens are who they’re with. It also means you’re more likely to have a strong and united voice.
- Have your teen’s friends around so you can get to know them and what they’re doing. If they like being at your place and with you, it’s harder for them to ask your teen to behave in ways that work against you.
- Enjoy your teens and their friends. Have fun with them when they’re at your house, but make sure there are boundaries in place. Your teen and their friends will appreciate knowing exactly where they stand and what the consequences are if rules are broken.
- Sort out issues quickly. If you have problems with your teen’s friends, clear these up privately, quickly and respectfully. Help them reflect on the situation. Would a friend do that to their mate? Would you do that to them?
- Follow through with consequences. If rules and boundaries have been broken, make sure you follow through. Your teen needs to know you’re serious.
- Seek professional help. If things get too difficult, speak to your GP about the problem and ask for a referral to a health professional with expertise in the area.
DrinkWise - Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix brochure