How Teens Can Cope with Peer Pressure
Practical Ways to Cope with Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can make life confusing and difficult for a teen. Adolescents develop a strong desire to fit in with their peers and be accepted by them. During these years, they’re spending more time with friends and less time with parents. They are sensitive to what others will think of them if they don’t say yes. They fear that their reputation will be permanently damaged. If your teen is struggling with peer pressure, he is not alone. Let’s examine why this occurs and look at some practical ways to cope with pressure-packed situations.
Compliments register more strongly with teens than they do with adults or children. This is because of a high number of brain receptors merging with dopamine. It is also a key time for teens to learn the consequences of making challenging decisions, both good and bad. They might think, “everybody else is doing it, so it must be ok.” It may be a dare from a friend or going along with a crude joke in public. The root of peer pressure is insecurity. There is no direct cure for this behavior, but your son can take steps to develop self-confidence in his own decision making.
Pause and Think
First, it’s important to pause and consider a choice. The brain works differently in group settings than when we are alone. The next time your teen experiences peer pressure, encourage him to think for a moment before deciding to give in. Tell him to pause and consider how his decision would play out. It may be helpful to prepare a script in advance of what he could say and do in a pressure situation. The initial idea or friend’s suggestion might seem cool. But cautious behavior can keep your teen from being tricked into doing something he will regret later on.
It is not easy to walk away from peer pressure, but it can be done. Encourage your teen to be confident in their choices and stick to them. They are old enough to know what is right and wrong. Displaying resistance takes inner strength and courage. But, it becomes easier if your son has a friend who is also willing to say “no.” When teens are surrounded by others with similar values, it alleviates the influence of peer pressure.
The Role of Positive Influences
Like peer pressure, peer influence occurs when a teen does something he or she wouldn’t normally do to feel included. Peer influence is commonly associated with negative choices, such as drug and alcohol use. However, it can happen with everyday things such as eating habits and exercise. Your son’s friends may affect his attitude about general lifestyle decisions. Activities such as joining a sports team or participating in a Bible study with a friend are good places to start. It also helps to have friends who will back him up when he doesn’t want to do something.
How We Can Help
As you know, peer pressure can lead to poor decision-making, which can lead to teen addictions. If the coping suggestions listed above are not showing progress for your son, it may be time to try something else. At Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge, we offer Christian mentoring programs
that help teens structure a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Our daily schedule includes activities such as devotions, discipleship training, recreation, chapel services, Bible reading, and much more. Plus, they’ll be around other teens who are going through the same struggles as them.
While peer pressure is often seen as something negative, it can have a positive influence on individuals. For instance, your teen may want to be a part of a group doing devotions or a mentorship program if others are doing the same. We can help your teen get back on the right track through support and motivation. Apply
today to see how Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge can change your son’s life.