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Negative Peer Pressure Among Teen Athletes

Negative Peer Pressure Among Teen Athletes
By Norbert Georget

If you have a teen athlete, you know that the demands placed on
him or her are far different than that of a typical student.
They are expected to keep up with their academic work, keep
their grades in line, and maintain a minimum grade point average
– all while serving as representatives of their schools, missing
time in class and at home to practice, compete, and travel to
other schools. If you have a teen athlete, you may or may not
know that these teens often experience much more significant
pressure to drink and party than other teens.

While schools in recent years have cracked down on this type of
behavior, it is still far too prevalent. Teams want to celebrate
their victories and drown their defeats, and often, alcohol is
the method of choice. Your teen athlete, in being a part of a
sports team, may face undue peer pressure to try alcohol or
drugs. The question is, what can you do as a parent to minimize
your teen's risk?

The first and best advice is always to talk to your teen
athlete. Have an open and ongoing dialogue with your teen about
peer pressure and drinking. Make it clear that your teen has a
choice – make sure your teen understands that it is ok to say

To help your teen athlete make it easier to avoid high-pressure
situations with teammates, be involved. Go to your teen's games,
be an active part of his or her athletic life. Parents are often
needed to serve as line coaches or play other supportive roles;
if that is a possibility for you as a parent, it is a good way
to stay involved and be able to see first-hand if bad peer
pressure situations are developing.

Understand the policies of your teen's school. Make sure you
discuss the ramifications with your teen about what could happen
if he or she were to be caught. Most schools suspend players or
dismiss them from the team altogether. If the sport is important
to your teen, this will serve as motivation to help them make
the right choice when the pressure is on.

One situation that is not often discussed but can be prevalent
is the attitude of the coaches toward their players' drinking.
Some coaches look the other way; others glamorize or glorify
drinking and partying. In rare instances, the coaches will
actually supply the alcohol. If you run into a coach like that,
contact the school and make them aware of the situation. Coaches
have a very powerful and influential role in the lives of the
teen athletes they work with; if they are abusing that position
of power, they need to be stopped.

Ultimately, you should make participation on the team
contingent to your teen athlete's behavior and choices. Grades
should stay up, homework should be done, academics should be
prioritized, and the right choices should be made. Make it clear
that your teen's choices will dictate his or her outcomes…and
then follow through when you need to.

About the Author: Norbert Georget is an accomplished
professional speaker, teen motivator and author of the book,
No-Nonsense Parenting For Today’s Teenager – How To Feel Like A
Good Parent Even When Your Teenager Hates You. To learn more go


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