Where Peers Fit In One reason why your teen is strongly influenced by friends is that peers have a similar level of power in the world. This “level playing field” allows teens to work out problems together, instead of just giving in to a more powerful individual, like a parent or a teacher. SHORT-TERM THINKING The teen brain focuses on what’s happening right now. When a teen thinks ahead, it usually means he or she is wondering about what to do this weekend, not next year. That’s why your son or daughter isn’t terribly concerned about the future. This puts teens at a disadvantage when they face choices about risky behaviors that can have long-term consequences, such as drinking. Using the how, what and why approach can help build thinking and planning skills that will help them see further into the future. When It Comes to Alcohol and Marijuana Teens may know the potential risks of drinking or using marijuana, but think, “My friends drink and use marijuana and nothing bad has ever happened.” That friend’s experience can have more impact than facts. Do not assume that giving information or statistics is enough to convince your teen not to drink alcohol. Teens believe, “Nothing bad will happen to me.” They assume negative things happen to others, not to them.
Risky Business Because teens are still developing, they take more risks with alcohol. They act impulsively and don’t recognize that their actions, such as drinking, have consequences. Alcohol and marijuana are especially attractive to teens because they reduce their social anxiety more than they do for adults.
Share the Facts! Kids who drink alcohol or use marijuana before age 21 are more likely to: Face problems in school Abuse alcohol or other drugs later in life
Get assaulted Drown or fall Die in a car crash
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