A simple idea to help your teenager.

Adolescence has always been a complicated time of life. As adults, we want to educate our teenagers to set healthy boundaries for themselves and learn how to make good choices when faced with these challenges. Occasionally, our teenagers can find themselves in a position where they want to remove themselves from a social setting, or to say no to something but peer pressure can make it difficult to do so. Here is a strategy that many families have found helpful…

Consider making a plan to help your teenager out of a difficult situation.

Many adolescents will say they occasionally find themselves in an uncomfortable situation that they wanted to get out of but don’t know how to do so.

~ Perhaps a teenager finds themselves at a party where something is happening and they’d rather leave the party early but don’t want to say that to their peers.

~ Perhaps a teenager finds themselves with a peer whose behavior is making them feel uncomfortable.

~ Maybe a teenager gets invited somewhere with a group of kids, but they don’t want to go because they feel uncomfortable with where they are going or what kinds of activities might happen there.

Consider talking with your teenager in advance, and come up with a codeword or phrase to say or text by phone that would alert the caregiver. As the adult, if you get a text or call with the code word/phrase it would signal you to tell the teenager you need them home right away. Be willing to be the excuse your teenager may need to get out of a difficult situation.

Families come up with a variety of ideas to help manage these tricky situations. Try talking with your teenager in advance to come up with a plan that works for your family.

Annie Gray, LICSW

Behavioral Health Consultant

Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates