Peer pressure is the influence that friends, relatives, or peers have on one another. Although peer pressure is not always harmful, the term “pressure” indicates that the process pushes others to do activities they might not want to do otherwise. For example, peer pressure comes into play when people talk about activities that are not regarded as socially acceptable or beneficial, like experimenting with alcohol or drugs.
Teens want independence from their parents and resort to friends when they want to learn new things. However, due to a lack of awareness and full cognitive development, good friends do not always realize the consequences of their actions. Below are some brilliant parenting tips on how to talk to your teen about peer pressure.
Talking to Adolescents: The Right Thing to Say and Do
No matter your child’s mood, the best way to talk to them is to approach them nicely. Here are some tips on how you can communicate and help your teen deal with peer pressure:
- Talk to your child about their feelings and how they are spending their time with other teens.
- Communicate your expectations toward your child and vice versa. This helps create a common ground and a healthy parent-child relationship.
- Encourage your child to explore, interact, and meet new people.
- Support your child in doing the things they love, but ensure that these activities are not harmful.
- Observe how your child acts around their peers to understand how they behave when you are not around.
- Set a good example for your child. What is considered bad for them should also apply to you?
- Invite your teen’s friends over so you can learn if their behaviors are beneficial or harmful to your child.
Brilliant Ways to Teach Kids About Dealing with Peer Pressure
Positive peer pressure can contribute to the development of positive life habits. Some peers may be able to teach them valuable life lessons and inspire them. Adopting the positive behaviors of peers may have a significant impact not just on your teen’s school life but also their mindset.
On the other hand, negative peer pressure is a viewpoint, habit, or lifestyle that someone dislikes or refuses to embrace. However, a peer group influences that person to do something they would not want. When teens naively follow their classmates, ignoring their own will and judgment, they might develop vices such as smoking, drinking, and substance use. Furthermore, giving in to negative peer pressure could cause your teen to lose their identity.
To avoid the harmful effects of peer pressure, here are some brilliant ways to deal with the situation when the time comes:
- Prepare for Possible Scenarios
Discuss age-appropriate topics openly, as well as the possible consequences of such scenarios and why these may seem tempting. You may discuss promiscuity, unprotected sex, drug use, and alcohol drinking.
- Talk About Risky Behaviors
Talk to them about serious, relevant issues like substance abuse since they might need to be sent for teen drug treatment. This crucial topic is hard to discuss, so try to research as much as possible before talking to your child to ensure that you share facts, not misconceptions.
- Choose the Right Friends
Help your child choose friends with the same values, ethics, and qualities. Be careful not to criticize your child’s friends by their aspects, such as economic status, but focus on how they behave.
- Set House Rules
Establish clear family rules, so your teen understands their limitations and boundaries. Discuss these rules clearly with each family member to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
- Discuss Effective Responses
If your child gets into a situation where peers encourage them to engage in harmful activities, they should know how to respond or get away. Teach them how they can reply appropriately, so they will not get involved in fights or misunderstandings with their peers.
- Take Time to Think
To avoid being influenced, your teen should learn to think first before making potentially life-changing decisions. Logical thinking can also improve your child’s emotional intelligence, which they will need later in life.
The Strong Link Between Peer Pressure and Drugs
When we talk about substance use among teens, one of the first questions that come to mind is: “Who are their friends?” This is because most substance abuse cases are deeply rooted in peer influence, especially among teenagers. Counselors and mental health professionals firmly believe that there is a strong link between substance use and peer pressure.
Depending on the social circle, peer pressure can discourage or convince someone to use drugs. According to research, teenagers have a massive impact on one another’s actions and are more inclined to take risks in groups. Peer pressure is one of the main reasons teens smoke cigarettes. A friend usually hands them one.
A Message To the Parents
Adolescents are more likely to be influenced by peers than adults. They are particularly susceptible to peer pressure because their brain has higher rewarding tendencies in this stage of cognitive development. Since human behavior is so complex and diverse, exposure to peer pressure has teens examine other people’s preferences and perspectives and apply them to their lives.
Building a strong parent-child relationship can help teenagers feel more emotionally autonomous while being responsible for their actions. As a parent, it’s best to put yourself in their shoes by empathizing with their feelings or thoughts. If they approach you for advice, consider it a sign that your child trusts you. Never break that trust. Your child sees you as a confidant, believing you know more about life than they do.
Encourage your child to do chores with you and to approach you whenever they have problems. Actively listen to them and express your sincerest support. Observe their behaviors as they grow up, and if necessary, set rules and conditions. Lastly, help them understand that saying “no” to peers is an appropriate response if they realize that they are doing it for their benefit.