Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I can't believe it has been almost a month since I last posted on my blog, but I have started a new career...I am now a special education teacher for K-2, and I am excited and nervous.  So, I have spent the summer months planning and planning, and since this is my first year, I have probably over-planned (if that is possible), so several parts of my life have been neglected....my blog and my house cleaning :)  Since, it is time for school, I thought this former post is very important for parents to read...

August signals back-to-school.  A time for shopping for new clothes, new shoes, and tackling that long supply list.  But, after all the shopping is completed and the book-bag is packed and ready to go, if you are a parent of a tween  or teen, there is an important conversation you need to have with your teen before he/she hops on that school bus (or drives off to school).

Peer pressure is *"social pressure from members of your group to accept certain beliefs or act in certain ways in order to be accepted". Peer pressure can start in early childhood and increases in grade school, but tweens and teens are more susceptible to peer pressure.

Peer pressure is the one thing all teens have in common. It is a fact of life. *"It's normal for teens to want to fit in with others their age, whether through wearing the same clothing, listening to the same music, having the same interests or doing the same things. Being the same helps them feel like they belong to a group and are accepted." This is normal behavior. Everyone (even adults) want to fit in and feel accepted.  But, what is your teen willing to do to be accepted?

All parents worry about their teen being pressured to smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs or have sex, but peer pressure can take on many different forms, both spoken and unspoken, including pressure to:
  • Dress in a certain way
  • Listen to certain music
  • Cut classes
  • Cheat
  • Shoplift
  • Get involved in criminal activities
  • Join a gang 
  • Bully others

There are certain personality traits that make a teen more prone to give in to peer pressure.

  • Low self esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Poor academic performance
  • Feeling isolated from peers
  • Lack of strong ties to friends

  • Threaten to withhold friendship
  • Insults or name calling
  • Makes a teen feel he/she has to participate in order to be cool
  • Alienation from peer group
  • Bullying
  • Harassment

  • Develop a close relationship with your teen, so they feel they can come talk to you when they are being pressured to do something they know is wrong.
  • Encourage friendships with teens who have positive qualities.
  • Know where your teen is, who your teen is with, and what your teen is doing at all times.
  • Don't criticize your teen's friends.  Make an effort to get to know their friends, invite them to your house, let your house be the teen "hangout" spot.
  • Teach assertiveness - how to stand up to others.
  • Provide discipline when appropriate, but avoid lecturing (a big turnoff for teenagers), limit privileges instead. As I have always said, the punishment should fit the crime, and always let your teen know why they are being disciplined.
  • Encourage individuality and independence.
  • Have clear expectations and talk about these expectations with your teen.  Talk about the issues of drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.  Studies show that teenagers who talk with their parents about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and other risky behavior are less likely to participate in these activities. 
  • Be involved in your teen's life; go to ballgames, dance recitals, etc.  Teenagers who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to submit to peer pressure.
  • Pick your battles - So, you really don't like the music your teen is listening to, but if he/she is doing well in school and is not displaying defiant behavior, then what he/she listens to is really not worth an argument.  *"Your teen will be more willing to listen when it really matters if you avoid nit-picking when it doesn't."
  • Role play - practice different responses to various situations.

  • Say "no" and leave
  • Ignore the person and walk away 
  • Say you're not allowed
  • Give reasons why you can't
  • Give reasons why it is a dumb idea
  • Go hangout with someone else
  • Help your teen figure out where he/she stands on key issues, such as drugs, alcohol, and sex.  If they are prepared beforehand, they will be better able to withstand the peer pressure.
  • Tell your teen to never be afraid to speak up and let others know they have crossed the boundaries.  Again, role play.
Below is a link to a quiz that helps you "role play" with your teen and will help them think through the answers they should give when faced with tough issues: 
*QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR TEEN: (in a non-confrontational manner - think casual conversation)

  • Which kind of pressure is hardest for you to resist?
  • How can you prepare yourself for these situations?
  • Is it harder to resist friends or people you don't know?
  • Have you ever tried to pressure a friend? Why?
  • Would you risk losing a friend over something you felt strongly about?
  • What consequences are you thinking of when someone tries to pressure you?

  • Age 13 is the common age for first drink of alcohol.
  • In the year 2000, according to the NHSDA, an estimated 46 million teens, age 12 and older, were binge drinkers.
  • In the year 2000, more than 2 million teens, age 12 to 17, reported using inhalants at least once in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 6 teens have been approached by someone selling drugs.
  • According to NHSDA, 2.7 million teens, age 12 to 17, reported that most or all of their friends used marijuana.
  • Approximately 30.2% of teens are given, offered or sold drugs in middle school and high school.
  • The American Lung Association reports 3.1 million teens smoke.
  • Approximately 50% of teens, age 12 to 17, feel pressured to have sex.
  • The Alan Guttmache Institute reports that every year roughly 9 million new STD's occur among teens and young adults in the U.S.
  • The U.S. continues to have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world.
  •  *"In the United States, approximately three-fourths of all deaths among persons aged 10-24 years result from only four causes: motor vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide.  Results from the 1999 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrates that numerous high school students engage in behaviors that increase their likelihood of death from one of these four causes, including alcohol and illicit drug use.

Have you had this conversation with your tween/ teen?





Colleen said...

Hi! I'm visiting from SITS today. I don't blog about my teens but I do have two teenagers. A girl 17 and a boy 13. It's hard to find teen info. The magazines and blogs seem to stop at the time you need the most support! I'm glad to have found your blog. It's scary to read, but important!

Anonymous said...


Just saying hello while I read through the posts

hopefully this is just what im looking for, looks like i have a lot to read.

Cre8tive Mocha said...

great info..my baby is only 3 but this is still great info!

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a must have conversation for all parents. My last two just turned 18 so they are adults. HA HA HA HA I've always had an open door policy, nothing was off limits for discussion. Thankfully it always worked and my kids were very open. We were the parents that were always called to come pick us up for whatever reason. You may think they are not listening, but trust me teens hear every word you say and they do think about it.

I am Harriet said...

Hi there.
I'm stopping by to thank you for joining up on the August Comment Challenge.
This is a wonderful post. I have had my kids pass through the teen thing relatively unshaven due to extra parenting efforts.
Happy Commenting!

Lindsay said...

Fantastic post! Sending your blog to all of my friends who have teens!

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest :)


Charlene said...

Absolutely important conversations to have. My Miss M. is only 10 (11 in November) but close enough where we are starting to have the discussions. Will have to check out your role play link.

Thanks for a great post (and for visiting my "Balance Beam" as well!)


sandy said...

Aug Chall
Thankfully I can say NO. I don't have a teen, I lived through that previously. My cards been punched. YIPPEE.

I found the 3 best things to do were one to keep the kids busy. Busy kids tend not to have time to get in trouble.

Know their friends, and their friends parents. Let the kids hang out at your house. You always know what they're doing and whom they're with then.

Watch a couple of teenage shows with them. Shows that touch on sex, drugs, cigarettes etc. That's an ideal time to get them talking about it. Better to let them do the talking rather than you. Teenagers turn off when you start talking to them, turn off when they think you're lecturing them, and giving them advice. As sure as you tell them not to do something, you're inviting trouble. They'll want to do it; even if they didn't before you said something.

CalleLillyCafe said...

Thx for visiting my blog! I have a 12 y/o & we had to deal w/bullying in elementary school. Her & I are very close, as well as my 24 y/o. We always talk about it ALL. My 12 y/o comes home from school & doesn't stop telling every detail about any & every thing!! Great blog!

LakeMom said...

You make some great points on your post. I have 3 girls (20, 12 & 10). I got one through the teen years successfully by doing exactly what you said - communicate. I'm struggling to do that with the middle one - she's just a different individual and I find myself "lecturing" her. I like your list of questions. I will use them in the future to start conversations!
When your teens are ready to start thinking about college, please check out my blog: A Guide to College Life. I'm working on writing some tips for parents of high school students to prepare them for college life.
Great info!

Enjoy Birth said...

I have a 12 year old, so I can tell your blog is going to have a wealth of information to help me as he becomes a teenager! Signing up for your feed today! :)

shelley said...

Hi there,
back to school is such a great time! remember it as a kid and as a parent well still living it... lol but in this day and age cyberbullying is an important thing to talk to your kids about to, just one more thing to add to the list but in this day and age where even cellphones can cause heartache if used wrong it is really really important to talk to kids and keep open conversations on everything. i think if your kids know you are "there" they will be more likely to open up, that's just our experience... this was a great post!
have a great day.
shelley :)

Carolin Newmeyer said...

Kids who have problems handling peer pressure should also be given enough space to understand their situation. Adding extra pressure by being untoward to them only adds fuel to the fire.

Theresa said...

hey my name's theresa.
i think you should've mentioned that some teens aren't subject to peer pressure because they've been bullied sine playschool. i have no friends because in today's society i'm not suppossed to exist! HA! to bad for society!

Unknown said...

This is such a great topic to post about before going back to school. Neither of my kiddos are teens yet, but we're getting closer and it can be scary to think about peer pressure. A lot of the advice you gave can apply to younger kiddos too, which I appreciated as I read. Thanks for the tips and suggestions about how to approach the topics with your kids.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this very helpful post! My son (15) encountered some meanness and excluding at the camp he attended this summer. Because he has type 1 diabetes, I was driving him to and from instead of him staying overnight, so I heard all about it. Honestly, it took me two full days to get over my grief and anger at how he was hurt. However, he learned the valuable lesson that he did not have to accept the insults. By the end of camp, he was very happy. He had made some good friends and ignore the immature kids.

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families said...

Thank you for sharing a great topic. I think the best way to help your teen avoid falling into the peer pressure trap is to always give your tween or teenager an escape route. Let them know that they can call you at anytime for a ride home if they find themselves in a position that they aren't comfortable with. It is very important for parents to have an open relationship with their children at a young age. Communication is important. Parents should also monitor their child's activities and their friends.

Laura said...

Thank you ladies. Lisa, I am glad your son realized he doesn't have to accept what other people say, and I think sometimes it is harder on us mothers when our teens are excluded.

Delsheree,when I was writing this post, I also thought younger children experience peer pressure also, and we have to start talking to them when they are young, so they are better prepared to handle the pressure.

Christy, you are so right, but there are a lot of parents who tell there teens "don't call me when you get into trouble", which is really sad. They don't realize how they are hurting their teens.

And I'm sorry I have to reply like this, but I have never been able to figure out how to reply to each comment separately.

April - My Bizarre Family said...

I have a 12 year old girl and an almost 16 yr old boy, and I do worry about peer pressure. This post is full of great information and tips...thanks for sharing!

Jean said...

My son is 12 so this information is great! I really like the pick your battles suggestion. I think that is even more important now than it was when the kids were younger. Oh, the music and yet, I find that I must silently mumble to myself: I used to listen to the Beastie Boys (dating myself a bit, I realize).

LyndaS said...

Those statistics are alarming!

AdriansCrazyLife said...

We have frequent conversations about these issues. He's lucky to have two older brothers who chime in once in a while too, especially on being a gentleman with his girlfriends. One thing we have done is with his Facebook account. He has two parents, both brothers, two youth group directors, three ministers, and half a dozen Scout leaders on there. That makes sure he isn't ever going to post anything on there that he shouldn't. And since most of these people are also pretty involved in his life, it gives him a great source of guidance in his life.

AdriansCrazyLife said...

I am always shocked at how often my son talks about the kids at his school who are doing drugs and other things. We live in a fairly nice neighborhood and I wouldn't have expected this to be so widespread. The good thing is that he talks about them in total tones of disgust. And we talk about what their futures are likely to be like and the problems they are letting themselves in for. Fortunately, he has no interest in being friends with people like that.

Laura said...

Adrian, it's good that your son finds disgust in drugs, but it will get tougher as he gets older.

My daughters informed me (a couple of years ago) that Pearl is the meth capital of MS. I had no idea. We moved here because it was a safe city. It's still safe, but apparently drugs are widespread.

Thanks for visiting

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