What are Strategies to Help Your Teen Stand up to Peer Pressure?
It is challenging to teach your children to stand up for themselves under pressure, especially if you are not demonstrating these skills of assertiveness yourself. Your role as a model for them to follow is paramount. The following are common strategies through which teens may be pressured or manipulated by others. They are also strategies that many teens use in their attempts to control their parents. Guilt: Guilt is probably the number one tactic, especially in families. Remember: you have the right to refuse a request without feeling guilty. No one can make us feel guilty - we do that ourselves, and then allow ourselves to be manipulated into saying YES. Anger: Anger is effective, especially if you feel uncomfortable around aggressive, loud, confrontational behaviour. To end the behaviour and our own discomfort, we usually give in. Remember: a useful technique to help you hang on to NO is to remove yourself from the angry person. Walk away. Score-Keeping: Score-keeping is known as the "unspoken/unsigned contract." What do you mean?", and, "you can't do . . . Don't you remember when I did . . . for you?" Remember: Without prior, clear agreement, you are free to decline. Nor do you have to return favour for favour. Be clear on what you actually WANT to do. Criticism: When someone doesn't get his own way, he can criticize or attack as a bid to unsettle our resolve. We end up defending, losing our cool, caving in. Remember: The best way to hang on to our NO is to simply state and restate our position. Helplessness: "Aw, you have to say yes, I can't do it alone". "But I NEED your help." "What am I gonna do? I have to meet this deadline." Sound familiar? Remember: You are not responsible for another person's misuse of time, poor planning or the consequence of previous choices. In short, you are not responsible for another person. Teasing: Usually combined with gentle put-downs, teasing is designed to unnerve us or to undermine our resolve by supposed light-hearted banter, which can really sting. Remember: We are entitled to say NO. We are OKAY when we say NO. We owe no explanations. Questions: "WHY won't you . . .?" is overt and confrontational manipulation. Remember: It is your RIGHT to say no without explanation. By modelling assertive responses to teen manipulation tactics, you are teaching your adolescent how to respond when he/she experiences such attempts from peers. With these assertiveness skills, they will be more able to have healthy relationships and be less at risk for bullying and negative peer pressure. Recommended Online Resources
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