Help teens say “No”

Peer pressure is powerful stuff. Most teens have a hard time resisting it even after they've promised not to use drugs or alcohol. Here are five typical parent-teen situations that may spark some ideas about how to learn whether your teen is ready to resist temptation, and some cool comebacks to suggest if he isn't.

Your teen is on a team with bigger, stronger players.

Your high school sophomore just made the varsity soccer team. You're driving him to his first practice. You say:

"You're really in the big league now, huh? I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of those guys use steroids to bulk up and play better. I also wouldn't be surprised if they tried to get you to use, too. Got any idea what you'd say?"

If your teen's at a loss for words, offer these:

  • "I can't. I get tested every month at my job."
  • "Are you kidding? I don't need that stuff. My body is already supremely supreme. How do you think I made the varsity squad, dude?"
  • "Sorry, but my girlfriend would be seriously upset if I ended up looking like the Incredible Hulk."

Your teen is getting a ride to a party with a friend.

You're helping your daughter get ready for the closing night of her school play. Afterward there's a cast party. She's getting a ride with her friend, Kate. You say:

"The play was fantastic! You guys sure have a lot to celebrate tonight. I'm a little worried about you riding with Kate, though; I don't know her very well. If she gets bombed and still wants to drive you home, what are you going to say?"

If your teen's at a loss for words, offer these:

  • "No thanks. I already called my mom for a ride. She said she'd give you one, too. You should take her up on it. We can come back for your car tomorrow."
  • "No way. You're wasted! With my luck, you'll puke on me in the car. I'll hitch a ride with someone else, thanks."
  • "You look pretty drunk to me! And any cop that pulls us over will think so, too. Sorry, it's not worth the risk."

You notice your teen hanging out with older kids.

You pull up in front of the school to pick up your teen and notice that he's hanging out with some older kids. As you're driving home, you say:

"Hey, I noticed you with those older guys. I remember making friends with some juniors when I was a freshman. It felt so great to be in with them. It wasn't worth smoking pot to stay in, though. Got any idea what you'd say if one of those guys passed you a joint?"

If your teen's at a loss for words, offer these:

  • "No thanks. I've got asthma. Getting baked would probably kill me."
  • "No way! My mom would smell it on me a mile away!"
  • "I'd better not. I'm training for soccer season."

You and your teen are watching TV.

You're watching TV with your teen. An ad for cold medicine comes on. You say:

"I read somewhere that some kids drink cough syrup to get high these days. I don't doubt it. It's got to be pretty tempting — it seems so safe! If someone offered some to you, what do you think you'd say?"

If your teen's at a loss for words, offer these:

  • "No thanks. Just thinking about that stuff makes me wanna hurl."
  • "You wouldn't drink that junk if you'd read the story I read. That's some seriously nasty stuff."
  • "No way. I'm not in to getting stoned and acting freaky."

Your teen wants to go to a far away concert.

On your way to school, your teen mentions that some friends invited him to a concert in a city several hours away. You say:

"I remember what it was like going to rock concerts when I was your age. There were drugs everywhere! Tons of temptation! It was really hard to resist. What would you say if someone gave you some drugs?"

If your teen's at a loss for words, offer these:

  • "No way! I paid sixty bucks for this ticket. I really want to remember the concert."
  • "No thanks. I'm already high just being here."
  • "Hey, if I get toasted, who's gonna drive us home?"
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