Making Good Choices

Goof or bad choices?

Say you're invited to a party where you know there will be alcohol or drugs. A friend decides to cut class. Someone offers you a cigarette. Or friends talk about having sex with their boyfriends or girlfriends. How do you respond? Are you tempted to follow their examples? Or can you stand strong in your own belief system?

At some point, everyone has the desire to fit into a group.  But what if people in "the group" start doing things that are wrong, hurtful, or even illegal? And what if these same people are your friends?

This is what we refer to as Peer Pressure -  the pressure to conform to the behaviours, attitudes, and personal habits of "the group." In many cases, there are serious risks involved. 

Some things you can do to handle peer pressure are: 

  • Decide before you get into situation what your values and standards are. 
  • Choose good friends who share your values. Good friends use positive peer pressure to help you be your best self. 
  • Avoid situations where people are doing things you don't want to do. 
  • Think about your reasons for doing things: Are they good reasons? Are you being true to yourself and your values? Think about what the consequences will be of your decisions and actions, such as if an activity might harm your health or get you into trouble. 
  • Practice ways to say no - come up with excuses if necessary, such as that you don't want to get in trouble, damage your body or mind, or risk blowing your involvement in sports or academics. 
  • Talk to your parents or a trusted adult about the kinds of peer pressure you face and listen to their advice. 
  • With your parents or another trusted adult, come up with a code word you can use to let the adult know that you need help getting out of a bad situation but can't talk about it.