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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Avoiding Peer Pressure

Avoiding Peer Pressure

One of the most difficult tasks for a parent is to teach their child to learn from the parent's mistakes, and not have to learn them firsthand the hard way. But, it really doesn't matter how much you share with your child, how much you reveal, how much you explain to your child that you have been there, done that, and you can show them how to avoid bad consequences, it rarely helps.

Kids either really don't believe you were ever a kid, don't believe you acted as they do, or they think times have simply changed so much that kids are different now and there is no way you could have ever thought or done the things they do.

One of the biggest of these is teaching your child to avoid peer pressure. It is nearly impossible to convince a child that you really do know more than their friends do. Children believe other children, or they see firsthand that nothing is happening to their friends, so they think they can do whatever it is they are being pressured to do without facing bad results.

While there is no guarantee that anything you do will be able to limit your child's weakness to peer pressure, but there are a few things you can do that can help some:

• Always talk about it—don't wait until your child gives in and does something stupid before having the peer pressure talk. You should not only explain to your child that you know what it's like, but you should also give specific examples of something you felt pressured to do, what you did in response to the pressure, and what happened.

• Explain it fully—not only should you talk about it on a regular basis, but you should prepare your child for what peer pressure really is. Most kids only think that peer pressure is when their friends are making fun of them for not doing something. The problem with this view is that so many kids never even make it to that point because they give in and go along with their friends before anyone ever has a chance to make fun of them for not giving in. You should explain to your child that if they don't want to do something, they shouldn't, and they should never worry about what other kids think of them. Not caring what others think is the first important step in being able to avoid pressure.

• Explain why it happens—when you do this, you shouldn't try to make their friends look like bad guys. Too often, this is one of the biggest mistakes that parents make. They will tell their child something to the effect of "If they were your friends, they wouldn't be trying to get you to do something that could get you in trouble." While this may be true, since your child trusts and believes that this person is their friend, they will feel that you are wrong about the whole situation, and that you have no idea what you are talking about. Then, this can lead them to go ahead and give in. Instead, you should teach your child that kids just like for other children to do things with them, and they may not always realize what a wrong decision it is.

• Act it out—when you are talking about it, give your child some examples of small things they may feel pressured to do at some point. Ask them what they would say if their friend said a certain thing. Ask them what they would do if their friends made fun of them. By practicing with your child, you aren't ensuring completely that your child will respond correctly when the time arises, but you are at least getting it in their head, and when the time comes, they will at least think about what you said, and maybe it will help them to be stronger.

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