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The main consequence of saying no to negative peer pressure is not just withstanding "the heat of the moment," as most adults think. Rather, it is coping with a sense of exclusion as others engage in the behavior and leave the adolescent increasingly alone. It is the loss of the shared experience. Further, the sense of exclusion remains whenever the group later recounts what happened. This feeling of loneliness then becomes pervasive but carries an easy solution -- go along with the crowd.

MICHAEL RIERA, Uncommon Sense for Parents With Teenagers

Parenting a teenager means thinking more in terms of influence than control -- easy to say, tough to do.

MICHAEL RIERA, official website, 2006

A hallmark of teenagers is the need to establish their independence as they forge a stable indentity for themselves. A tall order for any age--and one that most adults have yet to fulfill--yet teenagers think they can and must fulfill this quest, and usually in a semester's time. Few engage in this quest in an orderly manner. As in many other areas of their lives, teenagers are apt to exaggerate and push too hard in their insistence upon independence, especially with their parents. This is because the best way they know of to establish a sense of independence is to push away the people they have been dependent upon for so long: mom and dad.

MICHAEL RIERA, Staying Connected to Your Teenager

Teenagers can't tell you in consistent ways why they do the things they do. Expecting a logical and well-reasoned response to the Why question is like trying to squeeze water from a rock. There is, however, a rational explanation for all this. Along with their bodies, teenagers' brains are in the midst of huge growth spurts, specifically in the corpus callosum and the prefrontal lobes, the areas of the brain responsible for mature judgment and decisionmaking skills. Until the brain finishes this growth spurt, teenagers' impulses are way ahead of their abilities to control them.

MICHAEL RIERA, Staying Connected to Your Teenager


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