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Here’s a Surprising Reason Why You Should Be Grateful Your Teen Likes to Argue

Peer Pressure
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Your argumentative teen may drive you crazy sometimes, but take heart. New research from the University of Virginia indicates those strong-willed adolescents are better at resisting peer pressure and are thus less likely to drink or do drugs.

After videotaping 13-year-olds arguing with their parents and then following up with those kids three years later, researchers found teens who were able to debate in a confident, reasonable manner were the same ones who most often refused drugs or alcohol offered by other teens.

The study’s authors say the trick to “model good discussion practices” and teach your kids to argue effectively.

“Basically, our main finding is that the more that these teens are able to openly express their own viewpoints and be assertive … they are more likely to resist peer influence to use drugs and alcohol a few years later,” said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student at UVa who worked on the study.

She recommends parents show their children how to “effectively convey their thoughts and emotions during conflicts,” which she says then teaches teens to stand up to negative influences away from home. That means no yelling, whining, or door-slamming.

“If they’re able to learn how to be confident and persuasive with their parents, then they’ll be able to hopefully do the same with their peers,” Chango said.

[The Daily Progress]

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