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The best thing that parents can do when talking with their children is to really focus on what do they value. They can do that by modeling what their value systems are and also by expressing what their expectations are of their teens. As parents continue to interact with their teens and begin following through on the same values, your teens will start adapting to those values and will follow them more.
Cultivating open, clear communication with your teens is another way to embrace your teen’s growth and development, and also encouraging them to come to you with their problems versus their peer groups. Parents should continue to interact daily and spend quality time with their children. Dinnertime is a great place to start that communication, talking about your favorite part of the day. This will help you to get to know what is going on in your teen’s life, as well as share your favorite part of your day, instilling more of what your values and expectations are.
Another way to really interact with your teens to help them resist peer pressure is to be involved. Be involved in their school activities or sporting events, knowing who their friends are and also knowing who their friends’ parents are. You’ll get to see what your kids are really doing after school or on weekends while they’re hanging out with their friends. Another important piece through all your clear communication is really helping your teen to build their self-esteem. When your teen comes to you with their problems, it’s important to actively listen. And what that means is not really preparing your response ahead of time while your teen is still talking to you. It’s allowing them to complete what they’re saying, so you can get a clear picture of what’s going on, and you can see what they’re doing to actively stop their own problems. Your teen might have their own answer, and they’re just running it by you. And once you praise them and say “hey, I really like that decision,” it really gives them the confidence to continue to make positive decisions.
The thing to remember is that parents are the most important influences in their child’s life. So as you continue to focus on the positive, establish what your value system is, teach your children what that is and what your expectations are, they’re more likely to resist the peer pressure.