Emotions and Relationships

Being a teenager can have its ups and downs! Knowing that your body is overloaded with hormones might not stop the emotional rollercoaster but it can help you understand it. You have heaps of people around you that you can talk to. They can help you to consider choices and understand consequences, after all being impulsive is just part of being a teenager.

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Social Influences + Relationships

Friends, family, even people you see in music videos or on Netflix can have an influence on your life and the decisions you make.

Peer Pressure

When our friends influence us it’s called peer pressure. Peer pressure can be positive or negative although we normally hear about it in a negative way i.e. she was peer pressured into trying a ciggy. Handling peer pressure isn’t easy but remember the choice is yours! Keeping our WITS about us can help. WITS stands for;

  • Walk away from the situation or activity.
  • Ignore the suggestion.
  • Talk to someone you trust.
  • Speak up – 4 in 10 teens said they would have no problem saying “I’m not drinking” so there’s a good chance that someone else there will feel exactly the same way.
Media and Famous People

Netflix shows, advertisements, music videos, movies, video games, and YouTube want big audiences. They can attract viewers by ramping up the glamour or drama, including showing frequent use of alcohol and other drugs, dangerous driving or law breaking. They often don’t show any of the consequences or long term effects, whether these are physical, financial or legal.

Celebrities, are they a good or bad influence? Many celebrities use their publicity for good causes: to support charities or increase awareness of social issues. However celebrities do slip up, when we hear of celebrities doing things like misusing substances we might think it is OK to do the same thing. However, a poor choice is a poor choice no matter who makes it, and usually has negative consequences. We can still enjoy someone’s sport, music or acting talents even if they are involved in questionable activity outside their career, but it’s a good idea to think carefully about what all the consequences of that behaviour are likely to be.

Family

Just like our friends, our family can influence how we act and what we value. Seeing family smoking, drinking, or using drugs can affect how we feel about substance use because we tend to follow or accept behaviours we see around us. According to ASH, having just one parent who smokes triples the risk of becoming a teenage daily smoker; if both parents smoke the risk is almost seven times greater than for someone whose parents don’t smoke. So it makes it harder but the choice is still yours.

Family can also influence our behaviour by helping us access substances. Sixty percent of secondary students who drank alcohol say they got it from their parents or home. About 45% of 15- to 17-year olds get their cigarettes from family or friends. It is illegal to sell alcohol or cigarettes to someone under 18. Adults can be fined up to $2000 for buying alcohol to give to someone underage—even parents can be fined if they provide alcohol irresponsibly to their own children.

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Being Assertive

Standing up for yourself or someone else can be difficult but it’s often the right thing to do!

Assertive Techniques

Assertiveness is the ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that is honest and respectful. It normally involves an “I” statement, something like “I don’t want to do that”. Being assertive doesn’t mean shutting down someone else’s beliefs or ideas it is about firmly conveying yours. If you are being assertive about not wanting to do something or take something you don’t have to explain or justify your actions. A good friend will respect your decision and honesty.

Upstander vs. Bystander

An upstander is a hero. We can all be heroes by standing up for someone (or something) who needs our help. An upstander is someone who speaks up or does something to support another person, creature, or cause. Upstander’s often create a ripple effect - one person standing up for something right can encourage others to join their cause.

A bystander is someone who is there when something is taking place but does not take part in it. Its ok to be a bystander but sometimes when we do nothing it can seem like we are supporting what is happening.

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Decisions + Consequences

Every decision has consequences and as a teenager you are faced with big and small decisions every day.

Thinking About Decisions & Consequences

A decision is what we decide to do after thinking about the possibilities or choices of how to react, or what to say or do. A consequence is the result or effect of a particular decision, action, or situation. Consequences can be positive, negative or even a mix of both e.g. a decision might have a positive consequence for you but a negative consequence for someone else.

Making poor decisions and experiencing their negative consequences is how we learn to make good decisions—it is all part of growing up. It only becomes problematic if we continue to make bad decisions, ignores their negative consequences, or refuse to accept responsibility for our actions.

Legal Consequences

Any consequence can have a lasting effect, legal ones can hang around for a lifetime. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge, received trying to get home from a party at 17, can have a lasting effect on your life and career.

Penalties for possessing, growing, or dealing in controlled drugs range from $300 infringement fines (for breaking the law) to life imprisonment—depending on the class of drug and seriousness of the offence.