not take peer pressure lightly. Your teenager is at a time in his life
when he doesn't know whether he is an adult or a child. Suddenly everybody's
expectations seem to change. Nothing seems to be constant or predictable.
He is trying to spread his wings, but is still scared to let go. In this
time of confusion, the only people he feels he can identify with and who
will empathize are his peers. He is desperate to belong as he seeks his
Your teenager is going to do many things
that you don't agree with or approve of. However, if you make an issue
of everything, he will just think that you're picking on him. What you
need to do is turn a blind eye on the pierced bellybutton and the outlandish
clothes. Concentrate on adhering strictly to curfews imposed on him and
other serious issues like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, sex, etc. In this
way, you maintain your credibility with him and he may even be more willing
to listen because you haven't had a fit because he dyed his hair blue.
Adopt a democratic rather than an autocratic
approach. If you are going to impose any rules, first talk to your teenager.
See what he expects and try to reach some kind of middle ground when laying
down the law. In this way, your teenager is a little more likely to toe
the line as he himself has participated in drawing it.
However, once the both of you have decided
on the limits, they should be treated as if they were written in stone.
Well, maybe not as inflexible as that, but he doesn't have to know that.
Set your limits very clearly so that there's no room for argument and also
specify the consequences of any transgressions. Once the ground rules have
been laid, enforce them strictly so that they have some meaning.
Remember that teenagers are human after all, and may be a little more fallible than most at this stage of their
lives. There are bound to be times when peer pressure will rule. At such
times, your teenager should feel that he could talk to you about it, expecting
that you will understand, rather than doing things behind your back and
maybe worsening the situation. To put it more simply, he should know that
he can come to you when he is in a jam and even though you may give him
the firing of a lifetime, ultimately you are on his side.
Identify another teenager with a good
sense of values in your child's social circle and subtly encourage their
friendship. After all, two is always better than one when it comes to withstanding
Point out role models in real life and
in books and films who have dared to be different and achieved something.
At this stage your teenager is very
unsure about the way he looks, about what people think of him, and about
where his life is going in general. He is not going to think of you as
a friend if you constantly criticize and berate him. Take the trouble to
praise him for his accomplishments or just for being 'good.' This will
make him feel that you too are on his side and his peer group will have
less of a hold on him.
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- The Indiaparenting Team