Peer influence has been around since the beginning of time. Kids always want to fit in, fear missing out, and worry about getting teased. The fear instilled by these negative possibilities causes children and teenagers to succumb to peer pressure. Understanding how to manage your kids and the pressures they face is essential for keeping them on the right track.
How Does Peer Pressure Present Itself in Our Kids’ Lives?
Your kids are likely to feel pressure from their peer group. They may experience negative peer pressure to engage in risky behaviors like drugs and alcohol, skipping school, engaging in sexual activities, and stealing. Some children, mostly teens can suffer from drug abuse. Obviously, parents want to keep their kids away from these types of influences.
However, there is such a thing as positive peer pressure. Kids can be positively influenced to try new things, create meaningful friendships, make good grades, or get a job. It is essential to understand that your teenager is going to be socially influenced. How you deal with it as a family makes the difference between short-term problems and long-term consequences.
What’s the Difference Between the Peer Pressure Kids Experience Today, That a Generation Ago?
With advancements in technology, specifically social media, kids are feeling pressure to conform more intensely. No longer does the pressure stay at school or within social groups. The pressure is on their phones, computers, and tablets. This means kids may get a little reprieve from being told what is socially acceptable. The constant barrage of pressure can have severe and negative consequences as it may affect their mental health. Teaching yourself and your kids how to resist negative influences can do a long way in keeping them safe.
for kids as young as 10-years old.
Kids from dysfunctional homes, kids with no friends, kids who can’t express their feelings, or who have low self-esteem may be the most vulnerable to peer pressure. While concerning, it does gives parents a chance to talk to their kids early to get ahead of the problem.
Tips on How to Approach Your Child in Order to Start a Dialogue
Talking to your kids about negative influences can be difficult. Plan your conversation ahead of time and keep these tips in mind.
- Encourage open and honest conversation. Tell them they can talk to you about anything but don’t overreact to what they tell you, they may stop sharing if you do
- Tell them to trust their gut
- Let your kids know they can always call you, no questions asked
- Teach your kids to say no
- Teach them self-confidence. Confident kids are better at resisting peer pressure
- Establish a codeword or phrase with your kids that means ‘come get me.’
- Install parental controls on their devices and social media
How Can Online Therapy Help?
If your teen is struggling with peer pressure, talking to a mental health professional may be an excellent option. Sometimes you need the help of outside influence to talk to your kids. Online counseling for teenagers is specifically targeted toward helping them navigate their adolescent years.
This style of therapy is quite helpful for several reasons. Firstly, teenagers often feel quite comfortable communicating online rather than face-to-face. Additionally, your teen can participate in your own home, which is quite convenient for everyone involved. Finally, this is usually a more cost-effective method, making it easier to work the cost into your budget.
There are ample resources you can use to help manage your kids and their peer influences.
One of the following may be helpful to you:
- Online counseling for families and/or teenagers
- Talk to the school counselor or their teachers
- Talk to other parents
- Read up on peer pressure in online formats
- Join a support group
- Talk to older kids in your extended family
Peer pressure is a very real influence with potentially devastating consequences. Staying connected with your kids and being involved in their lives is the best way to ensure they stay safe and make good choices.