Peer pressure and kids are a really bad combination especially at school and summer camps. You may agree to an age before which they shouldn’t get their first cellphone, but try telling that to them when their classmates have one. However, it’s not too hard to make them resist it. You just need to do your part to teach your kids how to resist it. And here’s exactly how you can accomplish that.
Stay involved in your kid’s day-to-day life as much as you can. Get to know more about the things they like to do, the things they don’t like, their activities and their friends. When they’re going out, ask them where they’re going, and with whom, and when will they be back. Being more involved in them helps you to discover who they really are and you can gradually work on building their strengths and likes more easily instead of letting them fall into peer pressure and getting tricked into believing that they like the same things as their friends.
Develop good communication skills
And in order to get to know them better, you’d first have to work your way towards establishing good communication skills. These skills tend to develop naturally when you actively take interest in their lives. However, constantly asking too many questions just might get them irritated. Instead, you might want to play the listening role at times. Answer their questions, offer support and encouragement when they share things with you. Children who have a close relationship with their parents are often able to resist peer pressure easier because it’s easier for them to share things with you and get a second opinion.
Maintaining household rules is not only a great way to impart some discipline into your kids, but it’s also a great way to keep peer pressure at bay by limiting their access to social and screen media. Well, you won’t be able to control them when they grow old, but while they’re still young, you definitely can. Set household rules and make sure your kids are fully aware of your expectations from them. That way you can limit the time they get for watching TV or Facebooking till they’re done with more important things like homework and helping you take out the trash.
Help them make good friends
Your kid’s friends are the primary source of exerting peer pressure because they usually have the strongest influence on their outside-of-the-home life. Here’s where talking to your kids about good qualities in a person comes handy. You need to discuss with them the importance of choosing a good friend, give examples of what a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ friend is, and more importantly, warn them about how they need to be careful with people who can be a bad influence on them – like that girl your mom always told you stay away from!
Don’t avoid talking about the ‘S’ word
Not just the ‘s’ word, don’t avoid talking about drugs and alcohol either. These are some things that people get into because of peer pressure way early in their lives. They see everyone including their friends doing it, and they begin to think it’s ‘cool’ and that they shouldn’t be left behind. And not talking about these things at home is one of the parenting mistakes a number of parents still make even today. In fact, the more you stress on the importance of making healthy and moral choices early on in life, the less likely will your kids indulge in under aged smoking, drinking, doping and promiscuity.
Teach them that it’s okay to be ordinary
This is pretty handy in case your kid’s a girl. Kids generally give into peer pressure when they can’t really trust their own instincts and think that what’s ‘fashionable’ is also the norm. for instance if your daughter has rich school friends who think that style comes only with expensive branded wear, your kid might feel the urge to splurge on clothes to match up to her friends even if it puts a strain on your monthly budget. As important as it is to teach your kids a few things on money matters and budgeting, it’s also important to tell them that there are times when it’s ok to be ordinary; sometimes cute and pretty online clothing that’s affordable beats branded wear that’s worth a couple of hundred bucks.
Build a bond of trust
There’s no greater feeling for your kids than them knowing that they can trust you to pull them out of an awkward peer pressure situation without getting embarrassed in front of their friends. Teach them how to use a code phrase so that they can "ask" for your help without having to ask directly in front of her friends and feeling embarrassed – a summer school party where everyone’s getting drunk for instance.
Teach them how to say NO
The one word you probably fear teaching your kids to speak at a very young age because you think they’ll say it every time you put a plate of healthy veggies in front of them, is actually their strongest tool to not giving into peer pressure. If they can reinforce their stance with a strong ‘No,’ they can definitely resist peer pressure.
Lastly, you need to teach them how to trust their own instincts and not give into peer pressure!