Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Parent to Parent: Peer Pressure
This week schools throughout South Florida are celebrating red ribbon week to encourage children to say no to drugs and alcohol. But saying no and meaning it are two different things. In tonight's Parent To Parent, Dr. Valerie shows us how to help your kids avoid being persuaded by peer pressure.
WSVN -- From driving fast to drinkng hard to doing drugs, Hollywood makes being cool complicated.
Today, kids feel more peer pressure to take more risks at an earlier age.
Sandra Lopez: "It looked cool, everyone had their red cups with them drinking and takings sips."
Seventeen-year-old Sandra Lopez has been put to the teen test.
Same with her friends Nicholas Prieto and Luisa Santos.
Luisa Santos: "Here, everywhere you go as a teen you're going to get pressured, and I've had to experience it. The thing with popularity is people want to look good doing drugs and alcohol, but it's really not cool."
That's why the three are now leaders of a 400 member strong group called Drug Free Youth in Town or DFYIT.
The Coral Reef Senior High School students pledge to be drug free and then prove it by taking monthly drug tests.
Luisa Santos: "When you see hundreds of kids willing to prove they're drug free the adults are impressed."
But if your child is being pulled in the other direction, Seven's Parenting Expert Dr. Valerie says there are ways to prevent peer pressure from having a negative influence.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Turn around and walk away, you know, just go where there are nice children."
Easier said than done.
The key is communication. Parents must prepare their children for what to expect.
They should also try role playing dangerous or difficult scenarios.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "If I said to you, 'You're a fatty. You're really ugly. Everyone says so in school,' what would you say back to me?"
Next, your child needs to know how to get out of a bad situation.
Try to build up their self-esteem, so they feel confident saying no.
Then tell them to use their parents as a scapegoat.
And promise to bail them out whenever neccessary.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You want to teach your child to move away gently from a situation like that and say 'thanks,' not shrink away."
Sandra, Luisa, and Nicholas hope they can influence younger students.
They believe their club is proof you can be popular and send a positive message.
Nicholas Prieto: "It feels good seeing all your friends that are with you."
Sandra Lopez: "I feel very proud of myself, and I'm happy that I can teach people and help people make those right choices."
Parents, one more suggestion -- pick your battles and don't nit-pick. Teens often turn to peer pressure to rebel against their parents.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode:
7711 S.W. 62 Avenue
Miami, FL 33143
For more information about DFYIT or Drug-Free Youth In Town::