Help Your Child Overcome Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can effect your child’s life in more ways than you may ever realize. Pressure to conform may have a positive effect if your child’s peers encourage healthy behavior. But, negative peer pressure is a big ugly monster and you need to help you child learn positive ways to deal with it. This kind of peer pressure leads your child to participate in risky activities or to make bad judgment calls.
You need to help your child understand that he needs make his own decisions and not just follow the crowd for the sake of following the crowd. Your child needs to learn to do what’s right – right for him and his safety, maturity and healthy growth.
Finding His Crowd
It doesn’t matter what age your child is, it’s normal and natural to want to fit in and be liked. Everyone needs and wants friends. Your child’s attitude will change as he grows. What interested him last month holds no interest for him today. His priorities change and he starts moving away from the family and centering on his friends. It’s scary for your child but it’s even scarier for you watching it happen, and feeling helpless.
Children need to know what they believe in and value. A child with a solid understanding of his values and belief system will think twice before stepping out of his comfort zone to do something he feels uncomfortable with or something he knows is wrong.
Self-confident children believe in themselves and won’t need the approval of another person, even a friend, to feel like they belong. One way a child resists peer pressure is to know in his own mind what he wants and by instilling positive values in your child you can help him on this path.
Help your child believe in himself, gain confidence and self-worth and you will be encouraging your child in other ways too. A child who feels this way is self-directed and participates in activities that are of interest to him. He doesn’t need the approval of other classmates because he is confident about what he is doing with his life. He will pursue interests because he wants to, regardless of whether or not the activity helps him fit in.
Face the Fear
Peer pressure can be a parent’s worst fear. You send him off to school every day knowing that weapons can be brought to school, bullying and hate crimes are rampant and drugs and alcohol are easy to get. The school grounds may not be a safe haven for your child these days. That is why it is up to you to talk to your child and take an active role in shaping his attitudes about what goes on around him. Having conversations with your child about these and other issues within your own neighborhood will help ease his fears, and yours too.
Be Your Child’s Biggest Supporter
If your child knows you are rock solid in your support, he will more likely grow up with a strong sense of self, standing a better chance of resisting the peer pressures that could lead him into trouble. If you are available for your child, he will know where to turn to when there are problems or questions. Be fair, be firm, be consistent but most of all, be there.
You’ll never be able to make the world a perfect place for your child but you can help your child by giving him the tools to become a stronger, more self-assured person. If your child feels comfortable in his own skin, knows what he wants and believes in and has a strong support system it will hard, if not impossible, to be swayed by peer pressure. This will ensure your child’s success in life and it will also help you ride the ups and downs of the sometimes chaotic adolescent years.
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