Teens use drugs for a variety of reasons. They may feel alone, misunderstood, mistreated, or lonely. In order to escape these realities some teens turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate. They may want to test boundaries and rebel against their parents’ rules. By using drugs, they feel as if they are in control of their lives and don’t have to listen to anyone else. Teens may also see the glorified portrayal of drugs in movies and music and think that by using drugs they will be a part of this “desirable” type of lifestyle. While there are multiple reasons why teens turn to drugs, one of the most common reasons is peer pressure. A teen’s peer group is a powerful positive or negative force in their life. If their friends drink alcohol or use drugs, it can be hard for them to say “no”. That is why it is so important to equip them with tools and traits to resist negative peer pressure.
How to Help Your Teen Combat Negative Peer Pressure
- Education and Information: By providing teens accurate, detailed information about the dangers of drug use they can truly understand the real risks.
- Positive Role Models: Coaches, family members, religious officials, and adults dedicated to upholding your values can encourage your teen to make good choices and turn away from destructive behaviors.
- High Self-Esteem and Confidence: The teen years are often a time of frustration. Teens may have a period of low self-esteem while trying to accept the ways they are different from their peers. Usually this period will subside, but when it does not, teens may turn to drugs to instill a feeling of false By helping teens to set and achieve goals, learn to handle criticism, and accept compliments, you can build their self-esteem and confidence.
- Role-Playing and Visualization: Role-playing and visualization can help teens imagine what they would do in negative peer pressure situations before they happen. Ask your teen what they would do in a variety of situations and help them to work out ways to turn down drugs or alcohol if they are offered (i.e. refusing, changing the subject, giving an excuse, leaving the group).
- Be Ready to Listen: You want your teen to come to you and other trusted adults for advice, so it is important to not be judgmental. Frequently talk to your teen so they will know that you are always ready to listen. When teens know that you value their own opinions, you will have a greater chance of them coming to you with any problems, including negative peer pressure and drug use.
Teens need to be prepared for all sorts of adult situations and it is crucial for them to be able to navigate negative peer pressure when it arises. We are dedicated to helping teens and families in a variety of situations. If you need our assistance, please contact Georgia Psychiatric Consultants today.