Peer Pressure Tips:

Ten Tips for Dealing with Peer Pressure

Standing up to peer pressure is one of the greatest challenges that children face. Many kids are unable to stand up to the challenge and are led into participating in risky and often even illegal activities.

Help your child deal with peer pressures by doing the following:

  1. Strengthen the bond with your child. She will be more likely to respect your views and values and better able to resist peer pressure if she has a good relationship with you and feels you are a source of support. This bond needs to be nurtured long before your child's teenage years.
  2. Promote your child's self-esteem. Children who are confident and have positive self-worth are more likely to pursue friendships with children who are good role models and better able to resist negative peer pressure. Find opportunities to boost your child's self-esteem and enjoy success by involving her in activities that capitalize on her strengths and interests. And, of course, praise him for things he does well at home.
  3. Set a good example. Your child is a keen observer of what you do and may learn more from what she sees than what she hears. If she sees that you are constantly striving to keep up with other parents, she will likely do the same with his peers.
  4. Talk with your child about peer pressure. Let your child know that you understand how hard it can be at her age to do things that make her stand out. Tell her that her peers may respect her decision not to join them in an activity even though they may not express it, and that some may even admire her courage in resisting what they could not. Help her understand that a friend who is pressuring her to do something that may be harmful is not much of a friend. Appeal to her desire for autonomy by encouraging her not to let others manipulate or make decisions for her.
  5. Avoid overreacting when talking about peer issues. Your child may tell you things that'll probably make your jaw drop. If you overreact, you'll discourage her from talking with you about these issues again. At the same time use these moments to introduce some cautions without moralizing or lecturing. Although it may seem as though she's dismissing what you're saying, she will hear you.
  6. Choose your battles tactfully. Don't make an issue out of your child's wanting to wear the same clothes as her friends or adopt a trendy hairstyle. Make your stand on high-risk peer behavior. Battling your child constantly over minor issues may drive your child toward peers who are similarly alienated from their parents. Not sweating the small stuff will enable you to be more effective when you challenge her on the larger issues.
  7. Help your child develop good decision-making skills. If she can learn to trust her own instincts when making decisions, she will be less likely to let others make decisions for her. Encourage her to think through the possible consequences of the decision she is facing, including whether it may cause her harm. Let her know that giving in to the pressure now may make life harder for her later on.
  8. Help your child develop responses to peers. Help her figure out what to say to peers who are pressuring her to participate in high-risk activities. Suggest responses that are short and simple and that she can say comfortably. If she is receptive, role-play with her or encourage her to practice in front of a mirror.
  9. Get to know your child's friends, and create a network of parents. Only accept friendships that involve your daughter inviting her friends home. Spend some time with them and assess whether they are positive influences.
  10. Don't hesitate to set limits for your child. Your willingness to say no to her sets a good example and may help give her the courage to say no to a peer when faced with a potentially harmful situation.

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