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Publication #FAR0024

Helping Your Children Deal with Peer Pressure1

Kate Fogarty2

The issue of teen use of drugs and alcohol is alarming, but parents can and do make a difference in a teens' decisions to use or not. Family researchers say you have to establish a firm "no use" drug and alcohol family rule. Once the rule has been established, here are some ideas from researchers at Brown University about how to help your child deal with peer pressure and drugs.

Responding to peer pressure in a kind but firm tone of voice is the best way to go. Parents can role-play scenarios with teens and come up with ideas for catchphrases to legitimize their reasons for not using drugs, such as "I've tried that before and I don't like the taste" or, "No, that's not my kind of stuff."

You might consider other reasons referring to consequences, such as "The one time I tried it, I got really sick and threw up all over the place."

Another tactic your teen might use is to change the subject, and, if push comes to shove, leave the scene. But peer pressure is not the biggest enemy. The issue is not outside influences but those within. It's when teens don't feel their families support them that they're at the greatest risk for problems. Keep lines of communication open, use active listening while conveying support and concern, and calmly reinforce a "no use" view of drug and alcohol. These are the most effective ways to help teens resist using and/or depending on drugs and alcohol.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter. (2004). G. K. Fritz (ed.). Providence, RI: B. R. Lang.



This document is FAR0024, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 105 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Kate Fogarty, assistant professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.