J. Keith Collins
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What's in your child's mug may stir up trouble with the law

If you're the parent of a Colorado teenager (or one in any other state, for that matter) no one needs to tell you how challenging parenting can be. Today's youth face many decisions and situations that were nearly non-existent only a few decades ago. Along with advanced technology comes more independence. If you're like most parents, you probably teach your kids that more privilege also means more responsibility.

It's no secret that teenage years are fertile grounds for learning. Various influences affect the learning process. It's not a question of whether your son or daughter will experience peer pressure, for all teens do at one time or another, but how he or she reacts to the pressures at-hand that determines the outcome of a particular situation, as well as his or her entire future. Needless to say, negative influences often lead to problems involving underage drinking, drugs or other illicit behaviors.

What is a parent to do?

There are several types of peer pressure, and not all are bad. Parents who arm themselves with as much information as possible are often better able to help their children avoid serious problems. Following, are a few peer pressure facts that may come in handy:

  • Behaviors, attitudes and styles of dress are all major topics of peer pressure.
  • Positive peer influence can encourage a teen to excel in school studies, develop a good work ethic, and become a productive citizen in his or her community.
  • Those who feel lonely or isolated often succumb to negative peer pressure more easily than others.
  • A strong desire for acceptance is often a driving force behind choices to participate in wrongful or dangerous behaviors.
  • Many teenagers take part in underage drinking of alcohol because they fear being labeled un-cool.

A 2010 study showed that almost 40 percent of study participants between ages 12 and 17 admitted they'd consumed alcohol at some point in time. The presence of alcohol in the body often creates a false sense of confidence and security that can place teenagers at risk for criminal behavior and activities that threaten their own safety and health. No Colorado parent wants to receive a phone call saying a son or daughter was arrested for underage drinking and driving.

Of course, most parents in such situations would be relieved their children were still alive; however, it wouldn't negate the fact that the road ahead may be long and arduous in trying to help their children mitigate their circumstances and get life back on track. A defense attorney experienced in the juvenile justice system is a good resource to access in such situations.

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J. Keith Collins
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