Peer pressure is a very real thing in the lives of all children. When they are younger, peer pressure can come in very small doses-encouraging them to bully someone who is insecure, asking them to steal something for the sake of everyone else, or even persuading them to play a prank on someone who isn’t expecting it. Although these things may seem trivial or may be things you don’t often think about when you hear the term “peer pressure,” they are very real. By allowing them and choosing not to talk to your child about the effects of peer pressure, you may inadvertently encourage behaviors that will translate into the teenage years, where it becomes even more difficult to deal with.
Your Child’s Friends
Talking about how friends should behave is important in this scenario. Helping your child understand how they feel when someone else asks them to do something they don’t feel comfortable with is the first step in establishing a conversation. Use the following example: If someone asks them to eat something they find disgusting, would they do it? Why? Try and make the conversation enjoyable, giving them hypothetical scenarios that will translate into real-life lessons and conversations. Because children are easily swayed, you need to hold a firm stance when it comes to peer pressure.
Avoiding Peer Pressure
Explaining how to avoid peer pressure in the first place is another important thing to do. When your child is put in a position that they aren’t comfortable with, they are more likely to respond to the requests of others rather than listen to their own conscience. By letting them know that it’s okay to say “no,” you can help them take the first step towards awareness. Because these things are not always talked about at school, it’s important to establish good behaviors from bad ones at home. Ask your child how they would feel if someone bullied them because someone else told them to. Their response should give you a good gauge for how they handle these situations in real time.