It’s a phrase we hear bandied about a lot, but what is peer pressure and how can you help your children avoid giving in to it and make good decisions?
Any time you feel like you ‘should? do something because other people are doing it, that’s peer pressure. This might mean putting a coin in a charity box because everyone else in the queue put one in and you didn?t want to look uncharitable, or it might mean having a cigarette because the people around you are smoking and you want to fit in, to build a rapport with them. We often give in to peer pressure without really noticing, and it doesn?t always result in bad decisions, just ones we wouldn?t necessarily have made without the pressure of those around us. Now add to that the desire of a child or teenager to fit in, to be ?cool?, to be liked, to be part of the in crowd, and peer pressure can be a very powerful force.
You cannot be with your child all the time; you can only equip them with the skills they need to identify a good choice from a bad choice. Even then, they will make mistakes. There will be times when the lure of being popular will far outweigh the good guidance they have received from home. This is part of growing up, but fortunately there are things you can do to try to educate and give your child the confidence and decision making abilities that will help them resist peer pressure.
without freedom, your child has no way of learning how to make decisions. Letting them choose how to spend some money, how to organise some of their time, how to study? this all gives them an opportunity to learn what works and what doesn?t work. It also gives them confidence in their ability to make decisions so that when they are under pressure, they are less likely to give in, and more likely to trust their own judgement.
if your child is offered something that they should refuse, such as alcohol or cigarettes for example, they will be much less likely to accept if they are fully aware of the dangers of these substances. Similarly, if they understand the risks of staying out later than they are allowed, they will be more resistant to the pressure from their friends to break their curfew.
if they give in to peer pressure to break a rule, they might be more popular for a short time, they might be seen as cooler or more grown-up, but what will happen when they get home? Ensure your child understands that every action has consequences so that they understand what they are getting themselves into before they yield to the crowd.
if your child feels under pressure, and they can talk it over with you, they will be much less likely to give in to that pressure. Make sure they know you are always there to listen and not judge? it could make all the difference.