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Helping Teens Deal With Peer Pressure

Mar 27, 2008
Parents spend a lot of time teaching their kids right from wrong. They show them what they think is right and hope they can keep their children from falling for negative peer pressure. Even though we work hard at raising our children to do what's right, they will still make mistakes along the way. It's not feasible to expect them not to make mistakes, but we can still help them learn to stay on track by utilizing some techniques to avoid peer pressure.

Some children will blame others when they're caught breaking a rule. In most of those cases, the kids end up getting away with it, and are rarely held accountable for their actions. Your child is not immune to being blamed for something they really didn't do by someone who they feel is their friend. Even though you may know your child isn't at fault and it's the friend who broke the rules, you should still put some responsibility on your child. We teach them that they should be held responsible for their actions, so that ultimately would include their choice in friends.

You should teach your child how to get out of bad situations and avoid peer pressure. One of the best ways to help them avoid giving into peer pressure is to role play. Think of various situations where peer pressure could rear its ugly head. Then role play them with your child to help them learn proper ways to deal with the situations. Let them tell you how they would handle the situation first and then share what you think should be done to handle it.

Let them know that you're there to help when needed; especially if their friend won't listen and insists that your child go along with the rule breaking incident. Sometimes, the simple act of stating that another adult could get involved, may make the other friend think twice before engaging in the rule breaking activity.

Your child will need to know that even though you're not in charge of the friend, you are still a parent or guardian to your child and enforce the rules you have in place for their health and safety.

The rules can be adjusted as the child grows older and they start to understand respect for others and their property. They will need to know that trust is something that will have to be built over time and they should abide by the rules to increase your trust in them and gain more freedom for themselves.

The pressure to conform (to do what others are doing) can be powerful and hard to resist. A person might feel pressure to do something just because others are doing it (or say they are). Peer pressure can influence a person to do something that is relatively harmless -- or something that has more serious consequences. Giving in to the pressure to dress a certain way is one thing -- going along with the crowd to drink or smoke is another.

There are other children who exhibit positive peer pressure behaviors. Let your child know that these are the friends they should be hanging out with, so the good behavior rubs off on your child. The more favorable the intentions the other children have, the better off your child will be in handling peer pressure situations.
About the Author
Aurelia Williams is a certified life coach and author of Real Life Guidance to Understanding Your Teen. Learn how to make sense of what's going on with your teen and be able to offer them the help they need.
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