October 27, 2011

Anger Management Using Active Listening Techniques

Communication is the greatest tool we have as human beings to deal with any situation

Anger – one letter short of Danger

Everyone has been angry and knows what anger is. We get angry when our expectations are not met – whether those expectations are about themselves, or about others. When our expectations are unmet, we revert to illusions of control, “unrealistically expecting all people to behave and all situations to turn out as we think they should”. Anger often leads us to blame others and shift aggression towards them.

Aggression is sometimes the appropriate response to anger, as it allows us to protect ourselves and things that are important for us from harm. However, in case of overreacting, our anger can get out of control and become destructive and damaging. In this state of rage, the individual can become a danger to themselves or to others. Even the nicest people who do not see themselves as violent and would never anticipate hurting others are capable of the most awful acts if they allow themselves to become overwhelmed with rage. In fact, this is obviously what is meant by the term "losing control of one's self."

Your anger is a natural response to certain threats. If you would like learn how to control your anger, you need to learn what triggers it in you and how anger affects you. There are many techniques to help you to handle your anger once you learn to recognize it and catch it early on.

Please check yourself:

□  Do you ever find yourself in a highly intense argument or an extremely tense situation with another person when your uncontrolled anger leads you to become extremely aggressive and even violent, to the point of no logic or reason? 
□  Do you often find yourself jumping to conclusions or to be overly critical during a heated argument? 
□  Do you control your anger or does your anger control you when you start angrily defending yourself, interrupting the other person instead listening to the other person’s side? 
If you answered Yes at least once, we suggest you to learn and practice Active Listening Skills as an Anger Management Technique to help you manage your anger through improving your communication skills.
Communication doesn’t always have to mean being able to talk about one’s feelings openly – it also means being able to listen intently to others. And listening is of great importance when trying to keep your anger at bay.

Active listening is a two-way process that involves listening and responding in an empathic way, combined with the right questioning and summarizing techniques. It involves the receiver (the listener) with the sender (the speaker). The receiver in active listening process is as active as the sender.

Active listening techniques will help you to understand the message the other person is trying to convey, including the unspoken message, meanings and feelings. Using active listening skills, you will avoid jumping to conclusions and overreacting, so you will be able to handle and control your own possible anger. 

Building Active Listening Skills

Step 1: Understanding what is not Active Listening

Remember 5 Don’ts of Listening that can cause the anger reaction during communication:
A      Silent listening
N     Interruptions and not allowing the speaker to complete his or her thought
G     Critical response and teaching – a response that expresses a form of  criticism resulting from a natural tendency to judge, approve, or disapprove of a message received
E     Advising. It should be given when requested.
      Before offering advice , make sure:
  • that other person really wants to hear your suggestions
  • the other person is ready to accept it
  • your advice is correct
  • that receiver won’t blame you if advice doesn’t work
R    Changing the subject or moving in a new direction during conversation

Step 2: Understanding Questioning during Active Listening

During active listening we ask for additional information to get a clear understanding before responding.

Questioning in active listening skills is more about the quality of the question.

Only one question should be asked at a time and, if necessary, unclear responses should be played back to check understanding. If there is something you do not understand, then ask your partner to rephrase, restate, or repeat the statement.
The two main approaches are to use open and probe questions.
Open questions are general not specific. They provide room for people to decide how they should be answered and encourage them to talk freely.
Open questions help to create an atmosphere of calm, for example:
● What do you feel about that?
● Tell me, why do you think that happened?
● Tell me, how did you handle that situation? 
Probe questions seek specific information on what has happened and why. They can:
● show interest and encouragement: “I see, and then what?”
● seek further information by asking “Why?” or “Why not?” or “ What do you mean?”
● reflect views: “Have I got the right impression, do you feel that..?”

Combine your questioning skills with body language because it will communicate an interest towards your partner. Make good eye contact. Face your partner and show the person you are their primary concern.

Step 3: Understanding Summarizing Technique

Summarizing involves rephrasing what the person has said in your own words.

The secret here is “in your own words” and without adding any justification or interpretation. 

Summarizing is a great technique because it develops a connection and builds intimacy in your relationship. The other person hears your summary of what he or she said and knows you understand or will then restate what you do misunderstand.
Here are some examples:
Paraphrase back what the other person has said with phrases such as:
● ” What I hear you saying is...” OR You can use a phrase like the following:
"I'm going to repeat in my own words what I just heard you say to make sure that I understand what you're saying. Please correct me if I misinterpret anything you've said."
● When someone criticizes you, refrain from reacting defensively using the next steps:
1. Hear them out, wait until she or he finish, look for a core of truth in what they’re saying
2. Agree with that using summarizing technique: “It is true that I leave my clothes on the floor.”
3. If you do not agree with another’s person’s point of view, acknowledge nojudgmentally that your view is different from theirs: “But I disagree with you when you say...”

When someone is speaking, wait until she or he finished before you begin to speak

Step 4: Empathizing (empathic listening and empathic response)

Empathizing identifies with speaker’s emotions and opinions. Through empathic listening the listener lets the speaker know,

“I understand your problem and how you feel about it, I am interested in what you are saying and I am not judging you.”

The listener conveys this message through words and non-verbal behaviours, including body language. The listener encourages the speaker to fully express herself or himself free of interruption, criticism or being told what to do. Empathic listening requires an actual acceptance of the speaker’s feelings, no matter how different they may be from the listener’s. 

Acceptance does not mean agreement; it does not mean the listener has to agree. It simply means showing personal acceptance and concern for the speaker’s point of view:
“I understand you and I am interested in being a resource to help you resolve this problem.”
Here is some examples of empathic responses:
● Use of brief responses like “ I see”, “Wow”, “OUCH”, “My Goodness”
● “ I can see that really hurts”
● “I know how important that was to you”
● “ I think I’ve felt that way too”
Responses like the following are not empathic responses:
“Don’t worry about it”
“It’s nothing to get so upset about”
“That is a silly way to feel”

Step 5: Practice with your partner!

Active listening does not come naturally – it is a learned skill. 

It is an active process that must be practiced and practiced. Mastering the art of active listening is similar to mastering the art of driving a car. In the beginning you learned the necessary skills, but you still really have to concentrate on every aspect of doing it, and continuing practice, driving becomes your second nature.
1. Find a subject on which you and your partner seem to disagree – a moral issue, philosophical or personal task 
2. A makes a statement, B paraphrases the idea and feedback to A (only what B has heard without adding any interpretation or justification) 
3. A responds to B whether the response was accurate or what change needs to be done 
4. B then summarised the revised statement or uses right questions for clarifying information, again check till B and A understands correctly 
5. B and A can reverse role and repeat the process 
How do A and B feel? Is there A greater understanding? Do they feel better? How such techniques can be helpful in life?
We would like to finish this article with the quote by David Roush, National Juveline Detention Association, which states that active listening may not just clarify thinking and provide a necessary emotional release, but facilitates problem - solving :

"When in doubt about what to do, use active listening."

Controlling Anger: Tips, Techniques, and Resources , http://www.squidoo.com/anger-management-resources#module46941432
Consequences Of Anger, by Swami Sivananda
Rage and Its Consequences, by Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
Guidelines for Empathic Listening by Richard Salem
Manage your Anger by Learning to Communicate Better, http://www.angermanagementstrategies.com/Learning-Better-Communication-Techniques.html
Roush, D.W. (1996) Desktop guide to good juvenile detention practice. National Juvenile Detention Association. pp.133-134

October 17, 2011

Active Parenting

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” Frederick Douglass 
Active Parenting - Parenting with purpose and by example

We live in an increasingly complex world that challenges us every day with a wide range of issues and challenges that can be difficult for children to understand, cope and survive. Children are always looking for proper training and help from their parents. But when it is not made available, children get carried away by other things that happen in the society which may leave a negative impact on their future.
Active Parenting is a term describing a successful parenting strategy relating to adolescents. The main purpose is to raise responsible, cooperative children, who are able to resist negative peer pressure and successfully face the challenges of the 21st century.

What challenges? :

Drug & Alcohol Use
Sexuality (HIV/AIDS)
Violence and Terrorism
Technological Changes
Changing Job Markets
Changing Family and Social Structures
What They See on TV News
Accidents & Disasters
Sickness & Death

It's your responsibility as a parent to prepare your children to become responsible adults and survive in this world without your intervention.

Active Parenting can be learnt by reading articles, books and by attending workshops conducted by many organisations. These organisations conduct programs for active parenting in detail about each aspect of active parenting.
This article will give you guidance in Active Parenting for raising successful and resilient young people.

The Active Parenting Strategy aims to:
1.Use positive discipline techniques to teach responsibility for their actions
2. Build resilience and self-discipline in adolescents to navigate life’s challenges
3. Help to develop cooperation and self-esteem
4. Reinforce adolescent’s courage and inner strength

 5 Building Blocks of Active Parenting

1. Creating and Confirming Boundaries

Yours rules and structure give your child a framework for understanding the world, even if he protests.
The most resilient families develop broad boundaries that help children understand what is expected from them in the home, at school and in the community. These boundaries help children develop values about what is right and wrong. It takes a while for children to have these values internalised. That means that they don’t have to check with an adult if something is right or wrong. They understand why certain rules are in place and why it’s important to follow them. 

Communicating the Boundaries

It could be useful for families to have these principles written up and displayed. Many children will have experience of this in their schools, where school rules are prominently displayed in classrooms. Use a family meeting to explain what the boundaries or family rules will be. Give a short explanation of why they are important (try not to give long lectures).

Think about Consequences

Explain what will happen if boundaries are crossed. Each behaviour must have a consequence that is natural or logical. Many times it is enough to tell them not behave in a particular way without saying much more. Parents can be very creative during this process. The most important thing that children learn is that when they break the rules, something happens that teaches them not to do it again.
Putting in action:
Parents need to set clear expectations for behaviour, establish rules about communicating where and with whom their teenagers are spending their time. By communicating your expectations and consequences, your adolescent cannot claim they “did not know” that you would be upset. These boundaries need to be included in your teenager's internet use.
2. Talk with your kids before everyone else does

Talk with your kids about:

● Safe Sex and Relationships
Online Safety
● Drugs and Alcohol
Negative Peer Pressure
Staying Safe and Risk Taking
Violence and Protective Behaviour
● What they see on TV News
● Accidents and Disasters
● Sickness and Death
● Divorce

● Terrorism

3. Develop the Mindset of Resilient Children and Adolescents
“Resilience is the ability to bounce back and keep going in the face of adversity.” Jacque Pollock
Feeling loved, special and appreciated is a cornerstone of a child’s resilient mindset. Resilient children and adolescents are hopeful and posses high self-worth. They learn to solve problems and to view mistakes as experiences from which to learn. They learn to focus on what they have control over rather than on what they can little influence. They set realistic goals and expectations for themselves and those around them.
Accept your children for who they are and not what you want them to be. 
Many children believe that they are accepted and loved only when they do not make mistakes and fail. Become upset that they do not meet standards set by their parents children begin to believe that their mistakes are testimony to their incompetence and must be avoided at all costs.
Putting in action:
When your child makes a mistake or when something doesn’t go right, how does he react and handle the situation?
When some thing ( a plan, a project, a relationship, a situation) does not go the way you want it to go, what is the first question most people ask? WHY ME? This is the wrong question! What happens when you ask the wrong question? Yes! You get the wrong answer and a lot of negative feedback.
What then would be the right question? WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM WHAT JUST HAPPENED? And you get a completely different interpretation back – and a positive lesson can be learnt.
4 principles can guide you in helping your children become comfortable with the role that mistakes play in one’s life:
1. Serve yourself as a model for dealing with mistakes and learning from them with the questions “What can I do differently?”, “What can I do to improve?”
2. Comments to react on mistakes should be free of anger and sarcasm. There not be statements that reinforce a negative mindset such as: Why don’t you use your brain?
3. Mistakes are not only accepted but also expected

4. Mistakes are a natural part of life
Another important factor in developing resilience in children is teaching them to make choices and think about consequences of their choices. Start to provide kids with simple choices at an early age. : Do you want.....or..... for dinner? Do you want wear.... or....? Do you want to play....or...? It is your choice. By providing them with simple choices we are building a solid foundation for problem solving and making decisions.
Helping your kids to find their own strengths and reinforcing each child or adolescent’s “islands of competence" is important factor that help them to understand and Know Who You Are. A strong sense of self is the foundation of personal resilience.
Teach them not define yourself by what someone else thinks about them, but have the right to be Who Are You and Who You Want to BE.
4. Develop Responsibility: Chores or Contributions?
Teaching children to be accountable for their actions and to feel a sense of responsibility is necessary if they are ever to be prepared for adult living.
Robert Brooks, Ph. D, suggests that the most effective says of teaching responsibility and compassion to our kids and youth is to create opportunities for them to help others. By so doing parents communicate the message, ”We believe in you and we believe you have a great deal to offer your world." It is truly one of the most important messages parents can transmit as parents in preparing children for the challenges they will confront in their adult lives.
This message came from his research when he asked adults to describe one of the fondest memories of school, a memory in which a teacher said or did something that enhanced their self-esteem. What do you think was the most common positive memory from this survey? The answer was when a student was asked to contribute in some manner to the school environment.
/”The teacher had me sit and do spelling with the second graders, once I’d shown some ability in this subject.”. “My teacher asked me to tutor a senior who was about to “not graduate” because she was failing English grammar. I was in 10th grade.” What is your “positive memory’? Who was that great teacher? Positive expectations can help develop responsible young people.

Very often the label that we use to describe responsibilities is one that unfortunately is associated with negative connotations. That label is “chores.” Children are often told, “Remember, you must do your chores!” Whatever labels we provide will not erase the negative feelings associated with being asked to do what youngsters consider such unimportant tasks as cleaning one’s room, making the bed, or clearing the table, however , guided by the notion that children wish to help, parents might create an attitude of responsibility what would last a lifetime so that even if children did not always remember to do their chores, we could be assured that they were developing into responsible and compassionate people.
Putting in action:
Ask yourself: “Am I providing opportunities for my children to be helpful and to learn that their actions make a positive difference in the lives of others?”

5. Active Parenting is Empathic Parenting

Empathy, the ability to be aware and understand what another person feels, is first learned at home.
The ability to see the world through your children’s eyes and be empathic is essential for raising emotional healthy kids. Statements like as “You must be feeling angry or sad right now “ telling that you don’t have to agree with everything they do but try to appreciate their point of view as a bridge to begin every communication and as a foundation for them to listen and learn from you. When you interact with your children you should always consider whether you are saying things in a way that will allow them to be receptive to listening to you. If you interrupt. put them down, tell them how they should be feeling or use absolutes such as always or never in a critical way they are likely to become angry and tune you out.

Emotional ownership is a key part of Empathic Parenting. This means that I am responsible for my own emotions; no-one else controls how I feel. This also means I allow and teach my child to own his emotions by not trying to control how he feels. Empathy means showing understanding and support for his right to have his emotions and not trying to change them.
Putting in action:
Saying to your child, ”I know that you’re upset that the toy is gone” is an empathic statement that is not judgmental, thereby lessening the probability that your child will become defensive. Telling them “ I told you so” or punishing them is likely to lead to anger rather than learning. Buying them a new toy is also counterproductive since it does not permit them to experience the consequences of their behaviour. If children do not realize that there are consequences to their actions, they will have difficulty developing self-discipline.

National Strategy for Young Australians
Teaching your child empathic awareness by Denise Seastrunk
25 Nonviolent discipline options by Pam Kemp
Raising a Self Disciplined Child by Dr. Robert Brooks, Ph.D
Raising Resilient Children and Adolescents by Dr. Robert Brooks, Ph. D

October 14, 2011

Stress Management Strategies

Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace. ~Joan Borysenko

Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you brings things back into balance. 

Generally, to deal with any type of stressful situation you have 2 choices:

1st Choice: Change the situation -
  • Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Stress management strategy #2: Alter the stressor
2nd Choice: Change your reaction -
  • Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor
  • Stress management strategy #4: Accept the stressor

Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.
You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate. 
We highly recommend reading:
Stress Management:
Finding the relaxation that work for you
  1. Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you are close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surfier recipe for stress.
    Learn to Say NO nicely “N.I.C.E” to say NO
    N: Say No”. Not “maybe” or “later”.
    I: Follow with an “I” statement: “I’m not going to .... , it is not part of my life plan”
    C:If pressure continues, “Change”. Change the topic. Change your conversation partner. Change the location.
    E:If these strategies do not help, you need “Exit “plan. Leave a bad situation immediately.
  2. Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.

  3. Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

  4. Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

  5. Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’. Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation

We highly recommend reading:
How to handle difficult people-
It's Your Choice

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future.

Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
  1. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.

  2. Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behaviour, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you will have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.

  3. Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you are got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.

  4. Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you are stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you are under.

Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
We highly recommend reading:
Coping with change and
transition in life
  1. Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favourite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.

  2. Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.

  3. Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a majour source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with ‘good enough’.

  4. Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude
How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as ‘always’, ‘never’, should’ and ‘must’. These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.

Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
We highly recommend reading:
Self-compassion as a coping strategy
during stressful life events
  1. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control – particularly the behaviour of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

  2. Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”. When facing majour challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.

  3. Share your feelings: Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you are doing through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.

  4. Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negativity energy by forgiving and moving on.

October 6, 2011

Peer Pressure and Risk Taking

Peer pressure negative or positive will have lifelong consequences. Insure good doses of positiveness in a young person’s life.
Ken B Marslew, CEO of EIE
Youth is a period characterised by rapid psychological and physical transition, where young people progress from being dependent children to independent adults. In this stage of life, people may be vulnerable to the influences of peer pressure, and may be inclined to experiment, push boundaries and take risks that could impact on their immediate and longer term health and wellbeing. 
These risky behaviours include risk drinking, illicit drug use and dangerous driving with some of the potential consequences: being charged with criminal offences, being involved in an accident or violence; hospitalisation and, in some cases, death.

Youth is often the stage of life when young people begin to experiment with alcohol and other drugs, often followed their peers’ ‘everyone is doing it’.
The difference between negative and positive peer pressure
“A healthy part of every child’s development is involvement with their peers. This is especially true during adolescence as teenagers develop a sense of independence from their parents.” – by Bruce A.Epstein
We all feel pressure (either from inside or outside ourselves) to be like other people. Peer pressure plays a big role in determining who we are and how we talk, act and dress. 

How we chose to react to peer pressure defines who we are as an individual. Are you a leader or a follower? Another thing to remember is that people in groups act differently and do things they’d never do on their own. Why? Because we all lose at least some of our identity in a group. And the normal controls we put on our behaviour can crumble before the need we all feel to fit in and be respected by others.

The difference between negative and positive peer pressure is the outcome. Good friends can encourage teens to get involved in positive activities, help them learn good social skills and other ways to work out problems, and give teens good advice.

Negative peer pressure is when teens feel pressured to do something they know is wrong, such as doing drugs, smoking, drinking, stealing, or something they don’t want to do such as having sex, etc.

Why young people (and not young too..) are vulnerable to negative peer pressure?
● To be accepted and liked by people their own age
● To appear grown up
● Afraid of being rejected
● Afraid of losing a friend
● Afraid of being teased /bullied
● Don’t know how to say “no”
● To be a part of the group, don’t feel alone
● Don’t know what they really want

Tips for parents

" Parents should not underestimate the role of peers in a teenager’s life, but should try to encourage their child to have his own ideas, opinions and wants. " by Jolien Sichien

“Adolescents want to be independent and dependent at the same time,” says Benjamin Siegel, MD, paediatrician. “On one hand, they want to assert their independence. On the other, they need their parents.” 

Yours rules and structure give your teen a framework for understanding the world, even if he protests. 

When teens were asked what their parents could do to discourage drinking, the answers were surprisingly simple:
Talk to us.
Teens say they want to know what their parents think and how they make decisions

Punish us.
Teens who break rules typically wait to see what happens. If there are no consequences, the rules don’t matter.

Limit overnight visits.
Not having to go home can be too much freedom to handle

Wait up for us.

Knowing they have to face mum or dad, or both, in a few hours makes most teens think twice about the shape they will be in when they get home.

Parents need to set clear expectations for behaviour, establish rules about communicating where and with whom their teenagers are spending their time. By communicating your expectations and consequences, your adolescent cannot claim they “did not know” that you would be upset.These boundaries need to be included in your teenager's internet use.
If you really believe that a particular peer group is negatively impacting you child, it is important to deal with reasons your teen is being influenced in this direction. An adolescent is drawn to a particular group because it “feeds” them in some way.

He or she may have problems with self-confidence and self-esteem and feel it is necessary to fit in any way possible. Parents will not change the teen’s attitude by forbidding access to these peers. They can only change the attitude by dealing with the primary issues that cause it in the first place.
“Talk to your children about peer pressure. Explain what a powerful force it can be, and... tell them that you will never accept the excuse that “Everyone did it”... that they will be held responsible for their actions.” Tom McMahon
If you believe your concerns are serious, talk to your teenager about behaviour and choices – not the friends. Encourage your teen’s independence by supporting decision making based on principles and not other people. Encourage reflective thinking by helping your teen think about his or her actions in advance and discussing immediate and long-term consequences of risky behaviour.
If you are in Sydney, please contact our Counselling Unit to arrange a private counselling sessions with your teen on 02 9542 4029.

Tips for Adolescence

It’s important to have a strong self-image because it develops confidence in what you do and how you relate to your peers and loved one.
Peer pressure is testing your will to refuse something you don’t want to do, or know that is wrong for you such as high-risk behaviours.
What consequences?

Drugs and alcohol have really consequences that can affect the quality of your life for a long time. Think about the changes in brain chemistry that can follow periods of drug use. Think about it. You can be involved in an accident, violence crime, and hospitalisation.

Learn how to handle peer pressure

Peer pressure can be direct or indirect. Peer pressure can be negative and positive. But even pressure to do good things can be bad for you, if you don’t learn to say NO when you need to.
Practice ways to say No: 
Avoid following PEER PRESSURE such as, "...if you're my friend, you'll help me; if you love me, you'll have sex with me; if you want me to be happy, you'll go along with my plan." These are bully tactics -- don't fall for them!
You can say:
● “Not tonight. I have to study.”
● “No, thanks. I am in training.”
● “Hey! No way!”
● “Just leave me alone.”
● Alcohol’s NOT my thing.
● Back OFF!
● Why do you keep pressuring me when I’ve said NO?
“I’m fine.”
Learn to Say NO nicely – “N.I.C.E” to say NO
N: Say “No”. Not “maybe” or “later”.
I: Follow with an “I” statement: “I’m not going to .... , it is not part of my life plan”
C: If pressure continues, “Change”. Change the topic. Change your conversation partner. Change the location.
E: If these strategies do not help, you need “Exit “plan. Leave a bad situation immediately.
Sometimes you can feel pressure just watching how others act or dress (indirect peer pressure), without them saying a word to you. This “unspoken pressure” is especially hard to resist, because instead of standing up to a friend, you are standing up to how you feel inside. In this case, your best strategy is to decide what you really want and always being true to yourself and your values. 

Think about your options and what consequences will be of your decisions and actions.It actually takes courage to be your own person. Don’t forget, there is no other person exactly like you. We are all unique, and can’t really be compared to anyone because our experiences have all been different. Have confidence that you can do what you set out to do in life, without relying on what other people think.

A true friend will take NO for an answer and not try to make you do something you don’t want to do. 

And you will find that when you are self confident, you exert an energy that makes others want to be around you.

Enough is Enough have been successfully presenting programs in primary and secondary schools, Juvenile Justice and adult Correctional Centres for over ten years. 

Programs include responsibility, resilience, leadership tools, alternative schools of thought and tools for positive change. These programs are suitable for students, teachers, youth at risk and those who work with them. We also have programs for those with special needs. Programs are presented nationally. 

1. Denise Witmer, The difference between negative and positive peer pressure.
2. Jennifer James, Peer pressure and choices: How to Think for Yourself.
3. Joanne Barker, Brunilda Nazario, MD, Teens and Peer Pressure.
4. Port Clinton, Help Teens Say No!
5. Parents, Speak Up! U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
6. ABS Statistics