We’ve all heard about peer pressure. But did you ever face it? If you did, you know its power to force someone to do something they wouldn’t voluntarily do.
Teenagers are greatly influenced by peer pressure because, at that age, you are trying to fit in and feel accepted and valued. When we think about peer pressure, we always assume it is a bad thing, but sometimes it can have a positive influence. Negative peer pressure, however, can destroy a person’s mental peace and disturb a child’s psyche.
How Peer Pressure Can Affect Your Kids
If a child is facing severe peer pressure, you will notice a difference in her behavior, how she dresses, and her attitude as well. Children with strong self-esteem can withstand peer influence to a great extent, but those who are timid find it challenging to resist peer pressure. The influence could result in the following:
- Trying to mimic the other person’s style or making an effort to dress a certain way to fit in.
- Listening to the same music or watching the same TV shows, even if they do not appeal to them.
- Talking differently than normal, including starting to use foul language.
- Acting rebelliously and breaking rules or taking risks she usually never would.
If peer pressure is having a positive influence, you won’t have much to complain about, as your child will learn good habits, like working harder in school, taking part in sports, or being more active. She might become more polite or even learn how to strike a balance between right and wrong. Negative peer pressure can push your child toward excessive partying/smoking/drinking or even sexual activity. In cases like these, it is always important to step in and help her deal with the pressure.
Dealing with Peer Pressure as a Negative Influence
If your child is being overly influenced by his peers and seems unable to step up and say “no,” it is a clear red flag, and the situation needs your intervention. While mimicking someone’s sense of style or taste in music might not cause much harm, a few other activities, like smoking, drinking, or rash driving can affect your kid’s future if immediate action is not taken. Teach your kid to have a strong sense of self and his values, and help him know where to draw the line. Here are a few ways you can help your child manage peer pressure:
Teach Him To Say “No”
In most situations, the problem could be that your kid is unable to say “no” or take a stand for himself. You can teach him how he can say no, which will give him a strong sense of self. If his friends are forcing him to do something against his will, he could tell them what about it makes him unhappy. These friends who bother him might not be able to decipher a clear “no.” Hence, to deal with these friends, he might try listing the reasons he doesn’t want to do it so that they stop forcing him and simply leave him alone.
Always Communicate And Stay Connected
It is very important to keep an open line of communication with your child. You need to make her feel comfortable to share anything with you without the fear of judgment. If she knows she can talk to you about the issue and believe that you can help her deal with it, she will probably face it much more effectively.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Them
Yes, tough love is good, but not in this case. When your child is in a vulnerable and sensitive position, the best way is to give him a way out. Show him that you will understand without getting cranky or upset about it. If your child is embarrassed or scared to talk about it with you, he’ll have a real hard time dealing with peer pressure. With love and support, you can bring your child out of the influence of his peers.
Build Up Your Child’s Self-Esteem
The most important way to handle peer pressure is by boosting your child’s self-esteem. If you make your child strong and capable of handling any tricky situation, he will never succumb to negative influence in the first place. You can start by making him feel more confident. Help him make his own decisions and teach him the importance of being his unique self.
Every child needs a loving family and friends who support him through every phase of life. When you connect with a group that lets you be the way you are, you develop a sense of belonging and feel valued. Don’t let anything stand in the way of something your teenager enjoys, within reason. Always keep a check on his mental well-being. The influence your child grows up with affects his future, so offer guidance to help him fight his battles and make the right decisions.