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During the teen years, parents need to pay extra attention to their kids’ activities. If you think your teen may be using drugs or alcohol, or participating in dangerous challenges, talk with them. Tell them what you’ve observed, ask questions, and listen.
Most importantly, educate yourself about the pressures teens face today. When you understand the landscape, you can help your child make smarter decisions and healthier choices. Here are some of the teen pressures that should be on your radar.
Peer pressure to try cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs is nothing new. Still, it’s worrisome. Most adolescents who abuse drugs or alcohol start due to peer pressure. Nearly 90 percent of cigarette smokers say they first tried smoking by the age of 18. The latest available stats for underage drinking reveal that 5.9 million young people 12 to 20 years old report drinking alcohol within the past month. The report also reveals 3.2 million underage young people admitted to binge drinking
Dangerous trends can spread quickly on social media. Teens often view and post videos of harmful physical “challenges”. Social media can also lead to peer pressure to participate in cyberbullying and online shaming if someone doesn’t complete a dare.
Peer ChallengesNot only do these challenges encourage risky behavior, they can lead to other risks like sexual activity and substance use. Here are some popular TikTok and YouTube challenges to keep on your radar. Talk with your children to warn them about the serious dangers of these challenges.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to have someone outside your family discuss a difficult topic with your teen. Schedule an annual wellness visit with your child’s pediatrician. Your teen’s doctor is an expert who can discuss risky behaviors and their consequences without the emotion of family dynamics.
Have you navigated a tough conversation with your teen? Help your fellow parents by posting ice breakers in the comments
Originally published 1/18/2016; Revised 2021, 2023
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