He wants the latest play station, because his friend has it. He wants to enroll in the tennis class because his friends are in there. In fact, you have recently observed him using profanity and abusive language, reason, he thinks it’s ‘in and happening’ and because it makes him look cool in front of his friends.
Peer pressure is the kind of psychological influence your child goes through, that makes him change himself, give in to habits what he would not otherwise adapt and do the things he wouldn’t.
Though peer pressure can be motivating, it can also be adversely affecting your child… It is easy for kids to give in to peer pressure and to conform to what is being told to them by their peers. The reason it is dangerous is because the child is too intimidated and scared to do things differently or to go against a group.
At such times, it is the family that has to come into the picture….
Teach your child refusal skills:
So, what are refusal skills? They are traits that teach your child the power of self belief. Those that teach him/her to refuse to do what he/she is not suited to, what does not interest him/her and also how to stand for what he/she thinks is right.
White from Black
It is important that the child learns to differentiate the good from the bad and the right from the wrong. Also as definitions of right and wrong are changing with every decade and each generation, and are subjective, it becomes all the more crucial that the child knows what is expected of him/her and what the family’s moral standards are.
In pursuit of the above, children must be made to understand that each individual is different, having his/her own set of priorties, his /her own rights and wrongs, family background, culture and most importantly, thought process. It is important to be oneself, have an individual opinion and conform to it. And the child must be explained to that you will not accept an excuse saying “Everyone else did it".
Who comes first?
As children, especially teenagers, spend most of their awake time with their friends and peers, there is a possibility that the line between family and friends blurs and they increasingly prioritize friends over family. During outings and get-togethers, they identify more with their friends than their parents because of the generation gap. At such times, this gap needs to be bridged as soon as possible from the moment it creeps in, and the child must be taught the importance of identification of priorities.
List of friends
“One rotten apple spoils the entire basket” goes the famous adage and this could not be more apt than when it comes to children dealing with peer pressure. Parents must, at all times, keep a track of a child’s friends and their family backgrounds in order to be sure that the child is in the right company of friends that would not divert his/her thinking in the wrong direction. Also, it is important for parents to be updated about the progress in their child’s school.
No lectures please
You notice something wrong, and in a fit of rage, you start scolding your child, and take him down the memory lane to the way things were in your days, and how nicely you behaved with your parents, and your high scores in class and in sports. But, while you think that your child will take your example and learn from it, he is actually trying to go away from your sight and your “lecture”. Yes, the approach of parents needs to change. Talking understandingly to the child will bring him/her closer and it is not right to put sudden restrictions on children or ground them. Instead, create situations where they themselves start feeling that something is going wrong. If they get into smoking or drinking, show them a movie or a real life example.
Be friends with your children, but maintain balance between being friends and parents. Don't be so close that they don't respect you and not that far that they only have fear of you. But, also know that too much of interference or micromanaging will take them further away from you.
It’s difficult to go against the flow, and it is then that these tricks can come to your child’s rescue. When they are being bullied under peer pressure, they can say no over and over and be firm, say no and leave, change the subject, ignore the person and walk away, suggest an alternative, suggest they do it each of them alone in their respective ways, give a reason why it’s a dumb idea, go hang out with someone else.
Peer pressure is a strong influence when you are young but if you teach your kids to resist it when it goes against their wishes and morals, they would grow up to become assured and confident individuals.