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When faced with tough choices, will your child be self-confident?

Teach your tweens & teens the “5 Knows and the 5 Nos”:

5 Knows

1. Know yourself. Think about who you are, who you want to become and what you believe in. Know your family’s beliefs and values. When faced with a difficult choice, ask yourself, “Does this fit with who I want to be?” “Does this fit with my family’s values?” “Would my family want me to do this?”

2. Know the facts. Some decisions can be based on simple facts. For example, smoking is addictive and expensive, and causes serious diseases. It’s illegal to sell cigarettes to minors. Sex can also be addictive emotionally, and can lead to serious diseases such as AIDS and cancer. Having sex with minors is statutory rape.

3. Know the situation. Before going along with friends, know what your’fe getting yourself into. Where are they going? What will they do? Who will be there? When and how will you get home?

4. Know when to ask questions. If you don’t know the facts and the situation, ask questions. Make sure you get clear answers. Don’t be silent when you feel uncomfortable about what’s going on.

5. Know how to get help. Everyone needs help at times. We are not islands. Think about which responsible adults in your life you can turn to for guidance and support when you need it [parents, ministers, teachers, counselors, coaches, etc.]. Asking for help is usually a sign of strength, not weakness.

5 Nos

1. Plain and simple. “No thanks.” Sometimes the most direct way is the simplest and most effective approach.

2. Forceful. Some kids have enough self-confidence to say no in a way that their friends will never ask again. “Are you crazy?! Those things/Sex can kill you!”

3. The strict parent. Tell your child he can always use you as a way to say “no”. “My mom would smell the smoke and I’d get in trouble.” “My parents would kill me if they thought I’d had sex with anyone!”

4. The switch. Come up with a better plan. “I’m gonna go swim some laps at the pool. Want to go with me? Let’s swim instead of smoke.” (or get a coke/meal/go to the movies/etc.). Have several suggestions for alternate activities.

5. The friend. Remind your child that a real friend won’t ditch her/him if s/he doesn’t go along with the crowd. Have her/him use the same logic with the friend: “If you were really my friend, you wouldn’t ask me to do something that could make me sick (hurt me).”

[“Raising Kids Who Don’t Smoke: Peer Pressure & Smoking”]