The time will come in almost every teen’s life when they are confronted with drugs or alcohol. Some lucky ones may not experience this kind of peer pressure, but the unfortunate truth is that many teens will be asked by friends or classmates if they want to try alcohol or drugs. As parents, the best thing we can do is equip our kids with tools to say no and to protect themselves. Through ongoing “talks”, we can let our pre-teen and teenagers know what we expect of them, how we feel about drugs and alcohol, and the risks and consequences of these substances. Teens need to know that they can talk to their parents about things like this and get help if they need it.
One thing parents should also do is give their child ways to say no. When faced with a peer pressure situation, it is important for teens to be confident in their answers and their decisions, and the way to do that is to rehearse it beforehand. Parents can actually role play a situation with their teen, or at least give them these different ways to say no if they need them.
Teens can use an excuse, such as:
1. I can’t stay; I’ve got to help my dad with something.
2. That stuff makes me sick.
3. I’m supposed to meet so and so in a few minutes.
4. No way. I think you just want me to get in trouble.
Teens can explain to their friends about the dangers of these substances:
5. That stuff is so bad for you.
6. Why would you use that junk?
7. Haven’t you heard about the kid in the news who died from doing that?
8. Go ahead if you want to kill yourself – I don’t want to.
9. You’re crazy!
Teens can also just be honest with their friends:
10. I’m not into that.
11. My mom would kill me if she found out.
12. I don’t have time for drugs.
13. I’d be suspended from the team.
14. Forget it. There’s no way I’m going to do drugs.
15. I’ve got more to do with my life.
Once your teen has given their answer, they should be ready to leave. It rarely does any good to argue with someone about alcohol or drugs, and it might make it difficult for your teen to stick with their answer if they stay.
Kids should be confident in their answers. So many teens that experiment with drugs and alcohol do so to feel more popular. By giving a firm “no”, your teen can actually influence their friends in a good way. Teens tend to follow a strong leader among them, and sometimes all it takes is a positive teen that says no to drugs to keep the whole group away from drugs.