Navigating Social Pressure: Mindful Substance Use During Holiday Gatherings

Nov 20, 2023

The holidays are upon us, what does that mean for parents and caregivers of young people who want to go forth and celebrate? When we come together with family and friends, it’s important to observe our holiday celebrations with mindfulness, especially when it comes to substance use. Data shows that the average American drinks 29% more during the festive season as compared to the rest of the year.1 To enjoy this time responsibly, let’s explore practical strategies and resources aimed at preventing substance misuse.

Together, we can set a positive example for the teens and young adults in our lives.


Understanding the Landscape

The holiday season often brings joy, warmth, and togetherness, but it can also be a time when social pressure peaks. Teens and young adults may encounter situations where substance use is present, and peer pressure becomes a factor. As parents and caregivers, it’s crucial to address these challenges head-on and equip our youth with the tools they need to make responsible decisions. This includes modeling – what are our expectations for ourselves and how can we model behaviors that we want youth to also emulate?

Open Communication

One of the most effective ways to guide our teens through the holiday season is through open and honest communication. Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings about peer pressure, substance use, and social situations. Share your own experiences and the reasons behind your choices. This dialogue helps establish trust and encourages responsible decision-making. For tips on getting the conversation started, check out this blog or listen to our podcast with Cindy Pierce.

Setting Clear Expectations

Establishing clear expectations is key. Let your teens know your stance on substance use and your expectations for their behavior during holiday gatherings. Be specific about the consequences of breaking these rules, but also express your willingness to listen and understand their perspectives.

Be a Positive Role Model

As parents and caregivers, we are powerful influencers in our children’s lives! By modeling responsible behavior, we send a clear message about our values and expectations. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so mindfully and in moderation. Demonstrate the importance of making responsible choices, even in celebratory settings. And with Dry January just around the corner, now is the perfect time to join us in embracing a commitment to health and well-being in 2024. Stay tuned as we share powerful ways to make positive choices and contribute to a lifestyle that prioritizes responsible living!

Foster Peer Connections

teen friends talking a selfie inside on couch in front of a christmas treeEncourage your teens to build positive connections with peers who share similar values. Friendships with like-minded individuals can provide a supportive network, making it easier for them to resist negative peer pressure. Foster an environment where they feel comfortable being themselves and making choices aligned with their values.

Monitor Online Activity

In today’s digital age, it’s crucial to stay informed about your teen’s online activities. Social media platforms and messaging apps can sometimes expose them to substances and peer pressure. Maintain an open dialogue about their online experiences and guide them in using these virtual environments responsibly.


Navigating social pressure during holiday gatherings requires a proactive and mindful approach. By fostering open communication, setting clear expectations, and being positive role models, we empower our teens to make responsible choices. Utilize community resources, encourage positive peer connections, monitor online activity, and seek professional guidance if needed.

Together, as parents and caregivers in New Hampshire, we can create a supportive environment that helps our teens navigate the holiday season and beyond with resilience and confidence.


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