Most of us probably look back at our younger years with fond memories of cutting class and that sneaky smoke. Even as adults we are easily influenced by the people around us.
Defining peer pressure is easy but dealing with it isn’t always a walk in the park. Helping children understand and navigate the world of peer and social influence is a challenge for most parents.
1. Making decisions isn’t easy when you are young. It gets harder when more people (friends and peers) are involved and your child has to maintain a social standing.
2. Children learn from those they are surrounded by. It isn’t always easy for them to distinguish between right and wrong and it is perfectly okay to make the occasional mistake.
3. Sharing your values with your children is critical in helping them develop strong moral and ethical foundations.
4. Peer influence isn’t always a bad thing. It can often push your child outside their comfort zone and encourage them to participate and try activities they wouldn’t normally engage in. It can also help keep bullies away if a group of peers decide to stand together.
5. Children give in to peer pressure either to fit in (be liked or not be made fun of) or to feed their curiosity.
7. Don’t be shy and coy around your children. Discuss the negative effects of vaping, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. Talk to them about sex; consent, conduct & misconduct; birth control & contraception and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
8. It is important to know what your children are doing both on and offline. Monitoring their online activities, getting to know their friends are important first steps.
9. As a parent, stay current on what is happening in your child’s world. Talk to other parents, do the online research. Do you know what sexting is? Have you heard of the Blue Whale and Momo challenges?
10. Encourage your child to talk to other trusted adults if they aren’t comfortable talking to you. This could be a teacher, a school counselor, a friend’s parent(s) and even other family members.
11. Your child needs to believe in themselves and ignore the ‘herd mentality’ which can often influence them to ignore their better judgement and common sense.
Our guide outlines the facts based on research from several online and offline resources. If you are in doubt or worried about your child for any reason, consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melanie Schlatter
Date reviewed: 14th November, 2018