As a parent, how can you know when peer pressure has adverse effects on your teen? And most importantly, how to protect them from it?
Parenting can be a daunting task with trying to juggle everything in life plus raise children to be good people. Peer pressure and its effects can play an important role in your teen’s present as well as future life.
For some of you, the teenage years of your children may just be a small stretch away. And boy has the times changed. With the advent of the internet and mobile devices, teenagers these days have much more access to information and access to the deep recesses of the virtual world that is much harder to contain that in the past.
In this day and age, peer pressure can be a serious part of socialization that children are faced with every day. In many ways, social constructs are more dangerous and negative influences are easier to access.
Cannot Always Be There for Them
If you are a parent of a teen, chances are you do not know everything that goes on in their lives. Despite your attempts to control or watch over everything, the truth is you cannot be with them every moment of every day. It is these times, where your teen is most susceptible to the perils of peer pressure.
School, work, dances, games, these all are times when peer pressure can have a troubling effect. Peer pressure, as the name implies, comes from their friends influencing their decisions. In most cases, peer pressure can be a good thing.
A friend encouraging you to study smarter or stay away from drugs are ways that peer pressure is positive. However, the inverse can also rear its ugly head and turn good decisions into bad ones.
Peer Pressure in Small Settings
Sometimes, peer pressure can come from one friend or a small social circle. These instances can lead to some drastic decisions, such as trying sex for the first time or taking a hit from a joint or a drag from a vape.
The main reason for doing so is to fit into whatever social situation you are apart of. The old adage of “Well everyone else is doing it, I should also do it.” The quick retort from a parent would be “Well if your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you also do it?”
In situations like this, common sense and good upbringing should prevail, but the power of trying to fit in is also very strong. Especially when you are in the moment and your friends are waiting to see what you are about to it.
Worse yet if it is a boy or girl that you are trying to impress is part of the group, the need to fit in is even more amplified. It is almost inevitable that your kids have been exposed to these situations in some form or fashion.
The decision that your teen makes while faced with the situation is how they will grow as an individual.
Peer Pressure in Large Settings
In larger settings, such as parties or dances, when groups of teens do not have supervision, peer pressure can lead to a lot more dangerous things. We have all seen coming of age movies where the parents are away and one teenager has a party at home.
These parties are usually full of peer pressure situations including the aforementioned drugs, sex, and alcohol. And things can get quickly out of hand if any of these stimulants are involved.
Peer pressure can lead to decisions that your teen may grow to regret. Even if it is just one shot or one pill, it opens the door for peers to influence more and more. Unfortunately, horror stories like this can happen at any time.
Prepare Them to Make Good Decisions
While not every act of sex or shot will lead to horrible consequences, there is always the potential. Teens are going to be teens, and holding their hands through life is not going to be the solution.
In times when posed with problems of peer pressure, your guidance and advice will be their only beacon. You cannot control those situations, they are going to happen. You can only control how you communicate and prepare your child for the inevitable.
This article can create a pretty dim picture. It is done by design to show the dangers that exist out there in the realm of the teenage years. Your children will be exposed to smoking or vaping, sex, alcohol, and worse.
They must learn lessons on their own, but if you work with them, be open to communication then peer pressure may not influence them as much.
Remember to also be open to helping them when they make mistakes. As a team, both parent and teen will be able to work together in the interest of safety for everyone involved.