Unleash Your ZebraBlog
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, peer pressure is the number one force behind teens engaging in dangerous and potentially deadly activities such as experimentation with drugs, the use of tobacco, underage drinking, distracted driving, and unprotected sex.
Parents naturally want to deter their children from any activity that may harm them mentally or physically, and that may prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Below are some recommendations for parents and teens from experts that deal with the problem on a daily basis in an effort to find solutions that work for all types of families.
Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor to Students against Destructive Decisions, claims that talking to each other is the best thing to do. Wallace notes that his group’s efforts, and the efforts of other groups like his, have produced a substantial decrease in the use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in teens.
Tom Hedrick with The Partnership for a Drug-Free America believes that parents outrank peer pressure in the minds of their children, but only if the parent accepts the fact that they really have a say in how their child behaves. Talks should to be frequent and non-accusatory. Simply asking a child about the pressures that they face shows a level of care and understanding that is worth more than all the shouting in the world.
Dr. Rachel Fleissner, a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, emphasizes that allowing a child to express their opinion is one of the easiest ways to get cooperation. The parent does not have to bend to the child’s will. Allowing a teen to express their opinion shows respect and demands the same in return.
Learn and Teach Relationship Skills
These experts also agree that teaching children how to evaluate people as potential friends is an invaluable life skill. Most teens, and even many parents, are not good at this. Attending a few classes on how to develop relationship skills helps parents and the teens find new ways to develop relationships with others and between themselves.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Dr. Fleissner also insists that parents can learn to deal with peer pressure by imagining what their child is experiencing. Role-playing can help promote understanding and can add some humor to a difficult situation.
Learn from your mistakes first. Teach your child to learn from when they have made a mistake and given in to peer pressure. Do not make the punishment for an infraction so severe that the child develops resentment toward you. Resentment creates an urge in your child to prove who is boss.
Teens can’t learn from you if you’re not there for them. It’s simple, you created this person and are responsible for them becoming the best they can be. Parents cannot afford to be selfish with their time.