Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peer Pressure- How To Deal With It

No one is immune to peer pressure. From preschool age to adults, we all at some point have been influenced by our peers, either negatively or positively. It becomes more prevalent in the preteen and teen years because this is the time in life when children begin to spend more time with their peers and less time with their parents. Kids begin to look to their friends for acceptance at this age. Before your child enters this phase in life, it’s important you equip them with the proper tools and knowledge to deal with peer pressure.

- Tell your kids about peer pressure.
Explain to your kids that their friends will more than likely try to peer pressure them at some point and that they need to be prepared for these situations. For instance, you could say to your child, “At some point, one of your friends may ask you to cut school or drink alcohol, and it’s important that you say no and don’t do it just because others are doing it. Be your own person.” Then you can tell them a story about when you were peer pressured as a kid. It's comforting for a child to know that you have experienced what they are going through and it may make them more comfortable coming to you for advice when they feel peer pressured.

- Always be your child’s advocate and bail them out.
Tell your child that no matter what situation they find themselves in, you will always be there for them and bail them out. For example, if they need a ride late at night or if they feel uncomfortable in a situation and need a way out of it, tell your kids you will always be there for them, no questions asked. This will build trust and hopefully teach your child to reach out to you if they find themselves in a dangerous or troublesome situation.

- Get to know your child’s friends.
The more you know about your child’s friends, the more you know what you are up against. If your child is hanging out with kids with high morals, there may be less to worry about. If you know your child is hanging out with the wrong crowd, then you need to police your child’s whereabouts and know where your child is and who they are with at all times.

Get to know their friends’ parents, too, so you have a network of adults to help you keep tabs on what your kids are doing.

- Pick your battles.
It is inevitable that you and your preteen/teen will not agree on everything. However, if you nitpick and fight over small issues, such as what they chose to wear every day or a certain hairstyle they decide to try, your child may tune you out when it comes to the big stuff. If your child needs to rebel, let it be the things that won’t harm them or get them in trouble.

- Help your child avoid troublesome situations.
If your child wants to attend a party where there is no adult supervision, or wants to be alone with a boyfriend or girlfriend, tell your child it is not a good idea, be firm, and stick to your guns. Being in situations where trouble is likely to occur sets your child up to experience peer pressure, and it may lead to him or her doing something they regret.

- Encourage your kids to get involved in positive activities.
Encourage your kids to get involved in positive activities such as sports, volunteering, or youth clubs. The more positive social outlets your child has in their lives, the bigger chance your child will find friends that are encouraging and a good influence. Finding safe environments for your kids to grow and learn is essential to combating peer pressure.

Sources: Saltz, Dr. Gail. “Preteens and Peer Pressure: How to Help Your Kids Avoid Negative Influences From Friends.” Today MSNBC. September 10, 2009. Web. May 27, 2010.

“Peer Pressure.” Web. May 27, 2010.

1 comment:

Carolin Newmeyer said...

Help, but not control them. Teens are in a sensitive stage in their lives, and that's the main reason why they are susceptible to peer pressure. Parents need to guide them carefully, but not to the point where their freedom is completely restrained. That can lead to them resenting your actions and being more inclined to the negative peer pressure around them.