As a parent, you understand that peer pressure could affect your child at any age. Now that your child is in his or her late teens, attending college, probably going to parties, and generally hanging out with friends and socializing more often, you know that you cannot monitor every move your child makes.
Still, you want to do your best to prepare your child for the possibility of peer pressure to drink or participate in other activities. After all, he or she is not yet of legal drinking age, and you know that a simple error in judgment could have lasting effects, such as facing criminal charges for underage drinking or DUI.
What can you do?
Whether your child has been in college for a semester already or is starting new in this spring semester, the opportunity exists to coach him or her on ways to resist peer pressure. Maybe your child expressed concerns about pressure to drink already, or maybe you simply want to give him or her useful information before the situation arises. Whatever the case, the following information could help him or her avoid giving in to pressure from others:
- Tell your child to pick up a nonalcoholic drink at a party, such as soda, water or juice. Others may be less likely to try to get him or her to drink alcohol if your child already has a drink.
- Make sure your child knows the risks of underage drinking without being too drastic or trying to frighten him or her. Taking this approach may simply cause your child to think you are overreacting or to tune you out because he or she does not want to hear harrowing facts.
- Help foster healthy relationships with others who do not drink alcohol, and remind your child that real friends will not pressure him or her to do anything.
- Encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities, like clubs or sports, that may prevent him or her from drinking.
Of course, you can encourage your child to not give in to peer pressure in a variety of other ways, as well. Unfortunately, even if you do your best to prepare your child, it can be difficult for anyone of any age to feel left out or ostracized by peers. As a result, your child could still end up in a situation where he or she does not make the best choices when it comes to drinking.
If you do learn that your child has landed in trouble with law enforcement, due to consuming alcohol, you may fear the impacts it will have on his or her future. Fortunately, you can seek the advice of an experienced Maryland attorney to help you and your child navigate the situation.