Peer pressure is something that a child has no other option but to grow up with. From the term itself it is quite evident that the child is in a way compelled to do something that he does not voluntarily like or enjoy doing it. Therefore, it naturally leaves an unfavorable impact on the psyche of the child as he is adapting to something that is not quite his personal choice. Parents practically cannot protect their children from experiencing this peer pressure
but there are lots of ways whereby they can effectively minimize their harmful and often disastrous effects.
A statistics on peer pressure have revealed that over 80% of the adolescent age group has teased somebody just because others were teasing them. 82% got involved in activities that were harmful for their health just because his or her friends have pressurised them. 74% of them stealthily got involved in illegal activities in spite of being aware of the fact. Over 96% even make idols and hero worship someone just because their friends would make fun if they do not do it.
Bad companionship is an overt form of peer pressure. A single or a handful of bad companions can exert a tremendous amount of negative influence on the formative years of the child. They somehow love the thrill of getting into trouble and their companions give them this high. They also do it as they lack self-confidence and self-esteem.
How Parents can Help the Children to Cope with Peer Pressure
Parents play a vital role in the wholesome development of children and helping children to cope with peer pressure. Here is how parents can help children to deal with peer pressure.
Developing a Close Relationship with the Child
If you build an open, honest and close relationship with your child, it will enable him to share his problems with you readily. It has been observed that children who are emotionally free with their expressions with their parents are more in a state to identify and work to please their parents.
Helping your Child to Understand what Peer Pressure is
Give him suggestions on how bad companions can harm his life and what are the disadvantages of having them. Help them to realize that peer pressure must be experienced by all, even adults, and one needs to deal with it. Tell the child that it is normal and essential to fit into the ‘group’ and this where peer pressure actually begins to grow. As you explain, they will gradually realise that there is a radical limit to how far they can go with their peers.
Planning Fun and Regular Family Activities
Your family activities should be regular and frequent. It should be fun like hiking, sports or picnic. Encourage your child to participate and also ensure that the children spend quality time with other children as well. Help them build friendship with children who have positive qualities. Let it develop gradually and do nothing that seems that you are imposing something. Group activities like scouting and church groups are great options.
Getting Acquainted with your Child’s Friends
Make an effort to know your child’s circle of friends better. This will help to judge for yourself whether the child is having a positive or a negative influence. At the same time it is important that you do not criticize the children who you feel that are not all that positive for your child. This can have adverse impacts as the innate rebellious nature might get flared up. If you find your child misbehaving, you can point it out by saying something like “I have noticed every time Robin comes over, you break of the house rules.” This will act as a gentle reminder on what the expected behavior is.
Finally as you teach your child discipline and teach and praise assertiveness, you will find that your child is growing more confident and is able to handle peer pressure with ease. You can also restrict privileges and take help of health professional if need be.