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"Why can peer pressure have such a huge effect on a teenager?"
I think my teenage son may have started taking drugs due to the people he hangs out with. How should I talk to him about his decisions?
This is always a difficult situation for a parent to be in, and I wish you luck. First of all, it is important to recognize the unique psychological tasks that are facing teenagers, which include learning to negotiate their identity and their independence. Therefore, it is important to approach your son in a way that is affirming of his identity and that doesn't make him feel trapped. You may want to try asking him open ended questions, such as asking him if there is anything he is concerned about or would like to talk about. Don't get discouraged if he doesn't respond immediately, just make sure to let him know that you are always available to discuss anything that he needs to talk about. At the same time, you can also as the parent set clear expectations for what is acceptable behavior. Make sure that you are consistent in your approach, and that any punishments relate directly to preset expectations and do not come out of anger or frustration. You can also talk to your son's pediatrician, who will have experience dealing with similar situations like this one and can provide you with some additional advice.
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