[media-credit id=1 align=”alignnone” width=”606″][/media-credit]Peer Pressure also known as peer influence or social influence. Most teenagers are prone to be influenced by their peers into doing things they ordinarily would not want to do. They can be influenced positively or negatively depending on the friends they keep and the choices they make.
Negative peer pressure like the name implies, is when a teenager makes bad choices, starts hanging out with bad friends, stealing, and begins to do things that are morally wrong such as drinking, smoking, hanging around school instead of attending classes, and having sexual relationships with the opposite sex etc.
Peer Pressure can get really bad, if it is not properly controlled or noticed on time. In many homes, both parents are forced into the 9 – 5 grind and the result of that is they do not have as much time for their children as they would have loved. The teenage children are believed to be old enough to fend for themselves and so are inadvertently left at the mercy of friends. Regardless of how busy your schedule is, if you are a parent to teenagers, spend significant time with them. Get to know them so that you will notice when personality changes begin to occur.
There are teens whose lives have been ruined because of peer pressure. Girls get pregnant, then on the advice of friends, go to quacks for abortions and suffer lasting repercussions that may not be reversible as a result. Boys end up getting involved in activities they would never have dreamed of, which eventually lead them into serious trouble, due to pressure from their peers. The disadvantages of negative peer pressure are enormous.
As parents one of the signs to look out for is decrease in his or her academic performance, this is because the time that would have been used to study is now being used for other activities.
Peer pressure can affect your teen in the following ways:
- Direct peer pressure: this is when your teen is asked to do things he or she would not have loved to do ordinarily, sometimes they are even forced to do it.
- Indirect peer pressure: teenagers can be indirectly pressured into things which are not right without even realizing it. This is the everybody is doing it, so I must syndrome.
- Individual peer pressure: this is when the pressure comes from your teen; he or she wants to fit into the crowd and believes the way to do so is to take part in illicit activities.
When your child gets to his teen age, you as a parent should counsel him or her of the dos and don’ts of peer pressure, watch the type of friends the keep, and pay attention to their body language, this would help in averting a lot of mistakes they would have made. It is also important to work on their self-esteem; kids with healthy self-esteem are less likely to be overwhelmed by peer pressure. Some tips on building self-esteem in your child include:
- Spending time with them doing an activity they like
- Really listening to what they’re saying
- Telling them you love them often
- Complimenting them when they get or do something right
- Don’t be too harsh in your criticism
- Be generous with praise
- Don’t be stingy with hugs
- Allow them to try new things
- Let them make mistakes/
You might want to read: How to Know If Your Child Has Low Self Esteem and What to do About it
Do not forget that the teenage years are formative years; whatever choices and decisions they take during this year’s could either make or mar their lives.