Listed below are some tips on how to up the odds that your kids will make wise decisions even when their buddies are not:
Let them see you saying "No" to your friends…and to societal pressures.
When kids see us resisting peer pressure…and resisting the urge to keep up with the Joneses next door…they are more likely to do the same.
Spend time building and maintaining a loving relationship.
Relationships take plenty of time. The more we invest, the more likely our kids will emulate our values when we're not around.
Help them focus on how their decisions affect them…not you.
It's tempting to say, "This really makes me mad!" when our kids make poor decisions. A more effective strategy involves empathizing, "This is so sad. I bet it hurts having to deal with these consequences. I love you."
Send positive expectations.
Saying, "Your friends are lucky to have someone like you with a good head on their shoulders," sends a far more positive expectation than lecturing, "That kid is bad news. Don't hang around with him."
Keep a close eye on them.
While we can dramatically up the odds that our kids will make good decisions when pressured by their peers to make bad ones, there's no substitute for doing our best to know where they are and what they’ll be doing there.