Parents can help prepare their children to fight peer pressure, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
It helps to role-play about how to say “no.” Act out ways that your child can refuse to go along with friends without becoming a social outcast.
You can’t envision all the circumstances that might arise, but you can cover typical examples of when young people find themselves in awkward situations.
For example, you could say to your child: “Let’s play a game. Suppose you and your friends are at Andy’s house after school and they find some beer in the refrigerator and ask you to join them in drinking it.
“You know that the rule in our family is that children are not allowed to drink any alcohol, right? So what could you say to your friends in that situation?”
If your child comes up with a good response, acknowledge it and reinforce how it can be effective.
If nothing springs to mind, offer options. He could say: “No thanks. Let’s play Nintendo instead,” or “No thanks. I don’t drink beer. I need to keep in shape for basketball practice.”
Or, even better: “That doesn’t sound like fun to me. Let’s go outside.”
The actual response doesn’t matter, as long as your child feels comfortable saying it.
Stress the point that real friends respect each other’s feelings and opinions. And that people who make their friends do harmful things aren’t really friends at all.