Teens and Peer Pressure
What is peer pressure? The term has gotten a bad rap over the years. In simplest terms, it is the influence exerted by your peers or friends on your decisions. Peer pressure can be positive. If a friend gets you to use your talents in a school play or to improve your self-esteem, that is not a bad thing. We don’t usually hear about good influences, though.
On the other side (which is what we are discussing here), peer pressure can cause stress and poor decision making. When others encourage you to do something that you know is wrong or damaging to yourself, that is when giving in can be wrong.
During the teenage years, your child (and you, when you were that age) is looking for their identity. That can be found not only in what they do but also in who they associate with. Finding true friends and creating long-lasting relationships is trial and error. The last thing that any teen wants to do is put themselves on the outs with their peers.
Here are a few tips to give your teen the courage to stand up to negative peer pressure.
* Talk to them – Teens says that they think that their parents don’t know anything, but that is far from true. Whatever help you can give them is always appreciated even if they don’t say so publicly. Keeping the lines of communication (not judgment) open encourages them to come to you when they have a decision to make such as about peer pressure.
* Give them an out – We have all done it once or twice. We really don’t want to go a certain place with friends so we blame the reason we are not going on mom or dad. Tell them to feel free to use this “get out of peer pressure” card and blame you if they need to.
* Build a family foundation – It is reported that families that eat meals together have children that are less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as casual sex and drugs. Establish rules and mutual respect for your children so that they can build confidence in themselves and be secure in their identity.
* Knowledge is power – Let your teen know about drugs, alcohol and the effects of negative peer pressure. Then they will be ready when friends tell them that stealing is harmless or smoking is not addictive. Arm them with the truth.
Teens have a lot to deal with these days. Help them to survive and navigate those waters with the examples above.