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  Peer pressure can often be quite subtle -- something as simple as a passing suggestion or a visual cue is sometimes all kids need to feel pressure to experiment with negative behaviors. Meeting, and then resisting the challenges posed by peer pressure takes courage and skill. By spending time with your children and teaching them the different types of refusal lines they can use, they can decide which one works best and avoid the pressure of the situation without feeling foolish. By role-playing and practicing, you can help them feel comfortable saying no. For example:


“No, thanks. Cigarettes don’t go with my outfit.”
“No, thanks. My boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t like kissing an ashtray.”
“No, thanks. I like my teeth white, not yellow.”

Reverse the pressure:

“Is this what you do to be cool?”
“I bet you can’t go a week without smoking.”

Ask a question:

“Why would I want to do something that smells so bad?”
“Do you know any professional athletes that smoke?”
“Why would I want to do that to my lungs?”

Change the subject:

“No, thanks. Hey, have you seen any good movies lately?”

Be direct:

“No, thanks. I’m not into that.”
“I’d rather spend my money on other stuff.”
“No, thanks, I like being healthy.”

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Q: What are some effective ways children can say no?