Peer Pressure: The Remedy

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How do you ensure your child resists peer pressure? Some well thought up tips

Peer pressure can either be positive or negative, and children yield to it for several reasons. If your child feels left out, or has low self-esteem that heightens the risk of being easily influenced by his/her friends or peers. Peer pressure is most common in adolescents because they are at a stage in their lives when they want to feel accepted the most. Negative peer pressure can lead children to drugs, alcohol and risky behaviour such as unprotected sex. How do you ensure your child resists it? Here are some well thought up tips.

Spend Time with Your Child

If you don’t spend as much time with your child as you should, you wouldn’t easily know when something is up. And even if you do, when you’re not always talking to him or her, it will not be easy for them to regard you as a confidante. Hang out with your child and find out what their hobbies and interests are, how their day was spent and most importantly, who they hang out with. When your child has bad friends, it is not enough to tell them, “Your friends are bad. I don’t ever want to see you with them again.” In fact, that will only foster rebellion and bad feelings between the two of you. Give your children reasons why you don’t like their friends. Ask him or her why they like the friend. The answer will give you insights into both your child and the friend.

Talk

Have open and honest communication with your children. When they know they can count on you when they need someone to talk to, it is highly unlikely for them to be swayed by their friends. Talk will also help you know when something is wrong. Talk to them about the consequences of risky behaviour like smoking and doing drugs. Make sure they know how and when to say “No.” Talking to them is well and good, but teaching them how to say no is where the big payoff lies. Do this by role playing. You are the friend asking your child to stay out Friday night to drink. Watch how the child reacts and guide them on how best to handle the situation.

Celebrate your Child

Constantly praising your child when they do something right builds up their self-esteem. (Remember, one of the reasons they give into peer influences is because of low self-esteem.) When they fail at something or make mistakes, remind them that no one is perfect. Don’t call them names or compare them to other children or make sarcastic remarks, because they will seek validation from outside sources.

Constantly praising your child when they do something right builds up their self-esteem. (Remember, one of the reasons they give into peer influences is because of low self-esteem.) When they fail at something or make mistakes, remind them that no one is perfect. Don’t call them names or compare them to other children or make sarcastic remarks, because they will seek validation from outside sources.

Set Rules and Structure in the Home

Rules and structure make children responsible. They also make children develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Most importantly, rules make children confident and give them a sense of what is right and what is wrong.

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