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Dealing with peer pressure

Peer pressure is powerful. Your children likely will get to know others their age who use drugs or alcohol, who smoke, or who take part in dangerous behaviors like driving too fast. Your child will have an easier time dealing with peer pressure if he or she has learned some good habits.

Teach your children to:

  • Spend time with friends who don't use drugs or alcohol or do dangerous activities.
  • Skip parties where they know there will be drugs or alcohol or dangerous behavior.
  • Practice responses, such as "No, thanks. I've got too much to do today," "My parents told me that they would ground me for 3 weeks if I do that, and I don't want to take the chance of missing my friend's party," or "I think that's a bad idea."
  • Get involved in drug-free, safe activities and learn ways to ask their friends to join too.
  • Call for a ride if they're in trouble or feel pressured by others to use drugs or alcohol or take part in dangerous activities. Your children should know that you want to help, no matter what the situation is.
  • Know the signs of an unhealthy relationship and talk to someone they trust if they feel threatened or uncomfortable in a relationship.

Safer sex

Talking about sex can be awkward, but the earlier you start the discussion, the better prepared your child will be to make safer decisions about it. The best time to begin the discussion about sex is when your child is in elementary school.

Teens need to learn healthy habits if they are sexually active. For example:

  • Don't have sex until you're ready, physically and emotionally.
  • Always use protection. Know the different types of protection that are available.
  • Ask a potential sex partner about his or her sexual history and about high-risk behaviors like drug use, anal sex, and sex in exchange for money or drugs.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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