You might have heard of the term “peer pressure” a lot. But have you ever faced it? If you did, you’d know what I am talking about.
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Peer pressure is when someone is forced to do something they don’t voluntarily do.
Peer pressure greatly influences teenagers 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.
However, sometimes, it can also exercise a positive influence on the person.
But negative peer pressure can destroy the mental peace and have a lot of bad impact on the psyche of the kid.
Here are a few ways in which peer influence can affect your kid.
What Can Peer Influence Do?
If a child is facing severe peer pressure, you will notice that there is a difference in his/her behavior, how he/she dresses, and his/her attitude as well. Children with strong self-esteem can withstand peer influence to a great extent.
However, those who are timid find it challenging to resist this sort of pressure. The influence could result in the following:
- Trying to mimic the other person’s dressing or hairstyle 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.
- You can also clearly notice how they talk differently and use foul language.
- If you find your child being rebellious and breaking rules or taking risks that he usually never would, it is a clear sign of negative influence.
If it is 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.
They might become politer or even understand how to strike a balance between right or wrong.
Negative peer pressure can push your children towards excessive partying/smoking/drinking or even indulge in sexual activities.
In cases like these, it is always important to step in and help your child deal with the pressure.
Dealing With Peer Pressure And Negative Influence
If your child is getting too influenced by their peers and is unable to step up and say no, it is a clear red flag, and the situation needs your intervention.
While mimicking someone’s dressing sense or listening to 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 values and where should he draw the line. Here are a few ways in which you can help your child manage it:
Teach Them To Say No
In most situations, the problem could be that your kid is unable to say no or take a stand for themselves.
You can teach your child ways in which they can say no, which will give them a strong sense of self.
If their friends are forcing them to do something against their will, they could tell them what about it makes them unhappy.
These friends who bother your child might not be able to decipher a clear ‘NO.’
Hence, to deal with such people, let them try listing the reasons they don’t want to do it so that they stop forcing and simply leave them alone.
Always Communicate And Stay Connected
It is very important to keep the communication channels open with your child.
You need to make them feel comfortable to share anything with you without the fear of judgment.
If they know they can talk to you about it and believe that you can help them deal with the issue, they would probably face it in a much better manner.
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 them a way out.
Show them that you will understand without getting cranky or upset about it.
If your child is embarrassed or scared to talk about it with you, they’ll have a real hard time dealing with peer pressure.
With love and support, you can bring your child out of the influence of their 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, they will never succumb to negative influence in the first place.
You can start by making them feel more confident.
Help them make their own decisions and teach them the importance of being their unique self.
Every child needs a loving family and friends who support them 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 little one enjoys.
Always keep a check on your child’s mental well-being.
The influence your child grows up with affects their future, so help them make the right decisions by guiding them to fight their battles with your guidance.