Tips for Parents on How to Deal with Teens and Peer Pressure
Everyone you know, including your friends, family and loved ones have experienced peer pressure at some point in their lives. Peer pressure can be useful for helping someone get out of their comfort zone, but in many cases, it can scare or harm an individual.
Types of Peer Pressure
Teenagers are incredibly susceptible to peer pressure. Although some forms of pressure may be positive, for example, convincing a friend to join a club or sport, it can be negative, like encouraging an underaged friend to try drugs or alcohol. This kind of peer pressure can result in negative behaviour changes that may impact their decision-making abilities now and in the future.
How to Handle Peer Pressure
Resisting peer pressure can be a difficult thing to do. When someone you trust suggests that you do something that is out of your comfort zone, you don’t want to offend them. If your teenage child is susceptible to peer pressure, consider showing them the following:
- Learn to say no – Being able to decline when you are uncomfortable is an essential function that a teen must-have, especially when they are dealing with friends in high school.
Negative Peer Pressure vs Positive Peer Pressure
Negative peer pressure can result in a teen engaging in risky or dangerous activities just to fit in. Some examples of negative peer pressure are:
- Encouraging an underage friend to smoke or drink
- Encouraging or coaxing an underage boy or girl into having sex
- Forcing a teen to join a gang or unlawful group
Positive peer pressure, on the other hand, allows the teen to experience something beneficial and to enrich with friends or family. Positive peer pressure includes but is not limited to:
- Encouraging a teen to join a new club or sports team
- Encouraging a friend to seek supplemental tutoring for better grades
- Inviting a friend to volunteer for a good cause
Non-Verbal Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is typically a verbal form of communication; however, there are non-verbal signs that may go unnoticed by parents and guardians. If your teenaged son or daughter frequently uses social media, they may be subjected to images of their peers living adult-like lifestyles. Images of parties, drinking and smoking may scare an impressionable teenager into thinking that if they’re not doing the same thing, they’re not cool or they don’t fit in. Be mindful of your teenage child’s online activity and always be open to talking to them about their feelings and emotions.
- Know the Situation – If you are in a situation and you can tell that it is going to go downhill, you should do your best to remove yourself from that situation. Remembering your core values and applying them to situations like these are integral in overcoming peer pressure.
- Choose the Right Friends – Surrounding yourself with people who hold the same types of ideas and values is a great start to avoiding and preventing situations of peer pressure.
Learn more about dealing with peer pressure and recovery at The Forks on Sept. 14 for Recovery Day Winnipeg 2019.
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