Most of the times kids are influenced by their peers when they want to fit into a group or want to be like someone they admire or do what others are doing or have what others have.
Last week on one of the moms what’s app group, mothers were discussing about how to deal with an 11 -year old’s demand for a mobile phone because most of his friends used them. One reason was that now due to online studies, children required one device and many parents got them mobile phones. So being confused about what to do, the mom asked for the opinion of other mothers on how to deal with such demands which arise due to peer pressure. Also, she was in doubt if giving an 11 -year old a cell phone the right decision.
This discussion prompted me to write this article on peer pressure. Also, I realised that there are many myths regarding peer pressure. So, I decided to divide this post into two parts.
The first part on peer pressure. And also, the myths and facts around it.
In the second part, I want to share tips on how parents of teenagers can help deal with peer pressure. Adolescence is the time when a person is most vulnerable to peer pressure but I also feel by employing the right ways, parents can help manage it most effectively.
So firstly, let’s understand
Peer pressure occurs when one wants to be accepted amongst the people of their own age group or social group. Sometimes they even do things which they do not like to fit in. Being social creatures, we want to have friends and feel accepted. Sometimes, this urge does drive one to extreme circumstances as well.
Most of the times, teenagers do not understand the implications of peer pressure and thus it is necessary for us as parents to bust some myths that they would have about peer influence.
Myths and Facts About Peer Pressure
Peer Pressure is not always negative
Negative peer influence can make a one feel bad about what they are doing because they know that they are doing something wrong, under the influence of their peers to feel connected. It starts at a very young age and can manifest once the child reaches teenage. However, it is not always necessary to be so. That’s why I would rather like to call it to peer influence than pressure. Peers can have a negative as well as a positive influence. Isn’t it? A positive peer influence might also influence one to move out from their comfort zone and lead towards self- discovery. So, teenagers should be encouraged to look at the positives of peer influence.
Bad behaviour is induced by peer pressure
Teenagers cannot use peer pressure as an excuse for bad behaviour. They should know that bad behaviour cannot be justified by succumbing to negative peer influence. And that they cannot shrink the responsibility of their actions.
Bullying is not normal
Sometimes teenagers believe that once in high school, bullying is normal. It is not normal and though it happens, it is not a way of life. This every teenager should know.
Those who do not succumb to peer pressure do not have friends
Most of the times, teenagers try to fit into a popular group to appear cool. They do things which they know are wrong just to feel accepted and make friends. However, they need to build high self-esteem and confidence and not try hard to fit into a group. They should know that they can always make new friends with like-minded people.
Teenagers can themselves deal with peer pressure
This is a myth that teenagers do not need parents to help and guidance to deal with negative peer influence. Parents think that teenagers are mature enough but parents need to guide them to recognize the positive influence and avoid negative influence.
One needs to learn to accept peer pressure
While one will be influenced by their peers but there is no need to believe that one cannot do anything about it. Obviously, one doesn’t have control over other people’s actions but they should know how to not let peer pressure affect them.
Peer pressure can influence one to do something completely harmless but sometimes it could have even serious consequences. If you notice changes in your child’s behaviour, sleeping pattern, refusal to attend school, withdrawal from participating in school activities, you need to have a talk with your child. These could be reasons of negative peer influence.
Also, it has been observed that peer influence is strongest in early to middle adolescence. So, I shall discuss how we can help our teenagers deal with it the right way in my next blog post.
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This post is a part of My Friend Alexa Season 5 with Blogchatter
Read other blog posts in Parenting Your Teen series here: