Parents teach their children how to address and resist peer pressure, but it seems parents need some refresher lessons, too. Peer pressure strikes at any age, and parents may unknowingly experience it when it comes to making decisions for their children.
As a parent, your biggest enemy by far is negative peer pressure. This is because there are negative peer pressure and positive peer pressure. When good friends talk your child out of doing something stupid, that’s a positive peer pressure. But negative peer pressure can destroy everything you have worked so hard for. You can teach your children how to stand up to peer pressure.
Constantly observe the habits and behaviour of your child. Know him better than he knows himself. Abrupt changes in dress or attitude could signal trouble. Pay attention if he starts dressing differently. Possibly, he will use more disrespectful language or a negative attitude. Newly-formed friendships can be at the root of the change. Children, of course, go through phases. No need to overreact at every turn. However, always have hawk-like eyes and be on top of trouble the minute it shows up.
Your children’s friends are important to them. So, they should be important to you as well. Make their friends feel welcome in your home. Talk to them when possible. Feeding them is a good way to make that happen. Everybody talks when meals or snacks are served. Offer to drive them where they want to go. The car is another good place to start conversations. The more they talk, the more you learn.
Make an effort to know the parents of your child’s friends as well. Throw a party. Invite all the children and parents as well.
Do they share your same values, beliefs, and convictions? Establish an open communication. If problems arise, you will then feel more comfortable bringing it up.
You are not his friend. You are his parent. There is a major difference. When parents strive to be their child’s friend they give up their authority and influence. Of course, you want a fun and loving relationship, as long as it does not impede on your ability to have the final say.
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Your family should have a set of standards that are expected to Instruct your children and be sure to lead by example. Make it a matter of family pride.
Children certainly can be and will be cruel. Teach empathy to your child; a concern for the feelings and well-being of others. A child who has these qualities is much less likely to follow the pack at any cost. They will understand the damage being done and stand against it. Society needs leaders who bring out the good in others and stand for justice. This starts by teaching empathy.
Most children who fall victim to destructive peer pressure have lower self-esteem. It’s normal to feel lost as a teenager. A group that shows acceptance and understanding is attractive. Gangs recruit young souls based solely on this knowledge. Do not let this be your child. A child with self-confidence and moral strength is difficult to corrupt when guided with love and care.