Children are most susceptible to peer pressure when they are in their teens. You need to support them to a great extent to help them withstand such pressures.
How often have you heard, "I want to go to the party - all my friends are going!" When your child starts pressing you for permission to stay out later and later at nights, you will long for the days your child's biggest want was the latest Barbie doll or yet another bay blade. Although late night parties may not be your biggest concern, what could
be worrying is when other teenagers pressure your child to smoke or
drink alcohol, and he does it because he wants to fit in with the
The biggest support a child requires is that of his family. If he has a secure home front, chances of him succumbing to peer pressure are far less. Generally children who don't feel completely secure at home crave the approval of friends.
Making your child feel secure isn't just about loving
your child. Almost every parent deeply loves their child. But this
isn't enough. You need to be there for your child as often as possible.
This doesn't mean you need to sacrifice everything and focus only on
your child, but a healthy upbringing requires you to encourage
communication. Make it a point to sit with your child everyday and chat
with him. Listen, without breaking into lecture at every given
opportunity. Much as you would like to give your child your advice and
the benefit of your experience, some things children
just like to do their own way, and learn by their own experiences.
Further, if you start lecturing your child all the time, he will stop
seeking you out to talk, and may find support only amongst his friends. This will make him even more desirous of fitting in with the gang.
Get to know the parents of your child's friends. This is important, as you can then work with the parents to curtail any bad habits you feel your child or his friends are picking up.
If your child wants to stay out late at night because all his other friends are doing the same, you could speak with the other parents and come up with a mutually acceptable deadline for all children.
Don't go out of your way to know the parents of all his friends. This is not necessary. But even if you know a few likeminded parents and you all try and impose the same values on your children, they will be much more receptive. At regular intervals invite your child's friends over for dinner, along with their parents.
Older siblings also play an important role helping younger ones withstand peer pressure.
If your elder child looks out for his younger sibling and supports him,
your child will not feel the need to succumb to pressures from his friends. The support
of an elder sibling can make a world of difference to your child's
self-confidence. And if your elder child doesn't drink or smoke,
chances are, your younger one will not either. Such chances are higher
if the siblings are close. So encourage bonding at the outset.
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- The Indiaparenting Team