Peer pressure is all around us and it isn’t something that goes away overnight. Although many adults have the right tools in their arsenal to avoid most peer influence, the pressure to act a certain way is always present regardless of age. If you’ve been seeing your middle school or high school student feel pressure and you aren’t sure how to navigate this situation, here are some tips.

Defining Peer Pressure

Did you know that there are different types of peer pressure? While your mind may automatically think of a situation with drugs or alcohol, in reality, peer pressure can be subtle. In reality, both positive peer pressure and negative peer pressure exist, and it is important that you understand how to open up a dialogue with your child to ensure that their mental health isn’t being negatively influenced as a result.

A subtle example of peer pressure would be your child’s friend referencing how cool it is to cut class and hang out with friends instead. Although your child isn’t being specifically directed to do something, they may feel as though all of the young people are acting this way.

Give Them the Skills to Say No Confidently

Whether your child is pressured to look, dress, act, talk or think a certain way as the result of their peer group, it is important that they learn the skills to deal with peer pressure. There’s something to be said about teaching your child to say no without having to provide an explanation, but at the same time, you know that your child is striving to build meaningful relationships with his or her peers. “No” isn’t always an option.

  • Teach your child to say “no” sparingly and instead replace it with alternatives such as “I need to think about it” or “let me get back to you.” This will help them appear as having a more go-with-the-flow attitude. Of course, in situations that require a firm “no,” always encourage your child to avoid risky behaviors.
  • Body language is important as well. If your child feels uncomfortable, it can be hard to hide. Always remember that walking away and creating a physical separation is an effective method of how to avoid peer pressure.
  • Practice as much as possible! Create a made-up situation about drugs or alcohol to see how your child would react. At the end of the day, staying away from drugs in Burnsville is best achieved through practicing scenarios and helping your child grow his or her confidence.

For More Tips for Parents, Call Our Team Today

At Options Family & Behavior Services, our team is committed to helping you and your family navigate any form of peer pressure that you may face. Get in touch with us to see how we can serve you and your family today.


Contact Us



151 West Burnsville Parkway
Burnsville, MN 55337


2675 Long Lake Road, Suite 125
Roseville, MN 55113