The essentials: Dealing with peer pressure

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Each week, The Essentials offers practical advice on life for teens.

Dealing with peer pressure

Peer pressure, whether it be good or bad, is one of the hardest things for a teen to deal with. Ron Herron, of the Boys and Girls Town National Hotline, offers some tips on how to lessen the pressure.

Think about what the group is asking you to do. Are you being asked to join a study group, or break curfew? Is your boyfriend pressuring you to have sex? Think about the event or act.

Think about what could happen. For every action there is an equal and - in some cases - worse reaction. The study party could lead to a streak of good grades. That passion-filled night with your boyfriend could lead to pregnancy, STDs and talks with both sets of parents.

Think of your options. There are four options to every situation, Mr. Herron said: saying yes, saying no, compromise and delay.

By saying yes, you give in wholeheartedly to the situation. By saying no, you back out completely. By compromising, you avoid what is bad and still get what you want.

For example, You and your boyfriend can have a romantic night but it will be sexless. By delaying to give an answer, you remain neutral and wait to see what happens.

HOW TO COPE:

- If a questionable event arises again, make a quick escape by saying, "I've got to go" or, "I'll catch you later." This will give you a little breathing room to help you figure things out.

- Trust your instincts and be assertive. If your final answer is no, stick to it. Don't be easily swayed when the group, or individual, tries to tell you otherwise. You know deep down inside if the situation is right or wrong. In the end its about you and your life, not the one's in it.

- Remember that if you cannot always figure out what you should do on your own, help is always available. School counselors, parents, and hot lines are some of the many outlets teens can use when they need assistance.


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