Dealing with Peer Pressure plays a huge role in the moulding of your child’s personality. It also provides a chance for you to create a stronger bond with your child. Being very young and overwhelmed by hormones, sometimes they don’t even realise when they’re facing peer pressure, they deal with it by keeping it to themselves because they feel out of place or succumbing to the pressure and ending up doing things they don’t exactly want to do.
In this conflicting time, there are a few things you can do, as a parent to help your child resist peer pressure:
1) Keep Communication Constant.
Your child having someone to talk to is very important. They need to have a place where they can vent their thoughts and worries and could constructively try to solve the problems they face.
2) Don’t be Judgemental
It is imperative that your child feels comfortable coming to you and confiding into you. The problems of each generation are slightly different and might come earlier than you think, provide support to your child and make sure you don’t force the better path onto your child. Discuss the problem with them, let them come up with a solution on their own, this will not only develop them to resist peer pressure, but will also nurture them to find practical solutions to their problems in the future.
3) Be Involved, Not Attached
Be the friend your child needs. Be involved in their activities and support and push them where it is necessary. But don’t attach yourself to them, that can make them dependant on your support, leading to a very unhealthy relationship in the future. Children tend to get overwhelmed with parental attachment as they grow older, leading to a very bitter experience for the parent as well as the child. Live their life WITH them, not FOR them.
4) Involve them in household activities.
Giving them a routine outside of their peer circle is as important as maintaining good relations with the peers. The easiest way to do this would be to give a set of responsibilities and chores for every day. Plan a party with the relatives or colleagues and ask them to be involved in the “organizing team”, make it fun for them and praise them for being involved in it. They will resist at first, but it will help your child remember that they are more than just their group of friends. Talking to different kinds of people will help them realise that it is okay to not be like what their peers expect them to be
5) Hobby Classes
When we do something we like to do, we feel like we ‘fit in’. That’s all peer pressure is about, isn’t it? Fitting in. Ask your child what they want to learn and find ways they could join it, they will meet like-minded people, create a new circle of friends, develop social skills and learn to be themselves a little more.
6) Discuss Sensitive Issues without the Taboos
The Teen-ages are a very long ‘so-what’ phase, they don’t think about the consequences of their actions, and even they do, they’ll say ‘so what’ and do it anyway. Instead, discuss these topics with your children, find different ways to start the topic, maybe watching a controversial movie together or discussing some news together will help you understand their perspective. If their perspective doesn’t match yours, it is okay, this is going to be a time-consuming process and it will require some patience on your part to slowly bring them back on track.
7) Teach them to use Logic
Whenever their friends ask them to do something or go somewhere (good or bad), ask them to come with a set of reasons why they should go and why they shouldn’t go. It is very necessary that they come up with BOTH the sides of the argument themselves. When they come to you with fair logic, listen to them even if you don’t agree with them, point out to any loopholes that might exist and ask them to make a decision for themselves. This will help them trust their instincts and use logic before they use emotions or succumb to any pressure.
P.S- It is very necessary that you use logic yourself. You cannot fall into a whirlwind of emotions and judgements while asking your child to use logic. IF they come up with logic and you don’t agree with them going somewhere for safety reasons, mention that to them so they find a practical solution to it.
8) Teach them to say No without feeling any guilt.
It is very difficult to say no to your peers, the fear of not being liked by your friends is crippling. Teach them that they don’t have to worry about being alone, the more independent and mature they become, the more people are going to like them. Saying No to something an individual doesn’t wish to do is a simple right. They’re not answerable to any of their friends for not wanting to do something.
9) Ask them to Teach.
This method is something that no uses but definitely works. Make them join an organisation or an institute where they would be required to take care of or teach children younger than themselves. This will create a sense of responsibility, awareness and will also help them mature a little bit. Taking the responsibility of influencing another human being moves people from within.