Resisting Peer Pressure and Avoiding High-Risk Behaviors in Teens

Adolescence presents many life challenges for both parents and teens. Keeping the lines of communication open is essential to help teenagers avoid high-risk situations. The following suggestions can help parents and caregivers support teens and help them resist peer pressure.

  • Talk with your teen about daily events to learn about their concerns and struggles and try not to be reactive when he or she shares information with you. Listen to your teen.
  • Discuss peer pressure and brainstorm solutions:
    • Help your teen become aware of non-verbal forms of peer pressure.
    • Help your teen come up with lines for saying "no" under various circumstances such as shoplifting, offers of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.
    • Help your teen think ahead and plan for potentially challenging situations such as parties, group outings, or dates.
    • Role-play different situations to help your teen gain the confidence and skills needed to resist peer pressure safely.
  • Encourage your teen to trust their instincts and praise them when they do. Make sure your teen knows he or she can call you for help.
  • Know your teen's friends. When your teen goes out, know where he or she is going and whom he or she is going to be with.
  • Talk openly with your teen about sex: both facts and your personal beliefs. Make sure your teen knows the consequences and health effects of all types of sexual behavior.
  • Make sure your teen is aware of the health effects of cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Make sure he or she understands that alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs are addictive.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 28 Oct 2013