Easing The Effect Of Peer Pressure In Kids

4 min read
Easing The Effect Of Peer Pressure In Kids

As parents we take on the ultimate responsibility in our decision to have children.

Raising another human being from infancy to independence is, as we would all no doubt agree, the world’s hardest job.

We do it with love but we also (if we are realistic) do it with a healthy amount of fear and trepidation. Our goal to produce this happy healthy product of our own selves is fraught with questions with no one right answer and emotional twists and turns often caused by outside forces that we feel helpless competing with.

From the time our children begin to socialise and form friendships they are subject to peer pressure. Having friends is very important for our child’s social education and emotional wellbeing and whilst peer pressure in general is depicted as being mostly negative, it is not always so.

It is likely our child will want to wear certain clothes, change their hairstyle, and perhaps listen to different music because the ‘cool kids’ or a special friend is doing the same. These behaviours are pretty harmless in the whole scheme of things, provided the hip pocket can stand it and the music isn’t R rated.

Sometimes friends can also be the sensible ones, stopping those they care about from making mistakes or doing something that may cause harm or will be regretted later.

What happens though when the group gets together and someone decides to raid the parents’ beer stash or someone else has a joint or some pills and wants to share?  We can’t always be there to help our kids make the hard decisions.  It is very difficult and takes a strong will to say no to pressure from their peers.  The fear of losing a friend or the isolation of being the odd one out may in the mind of your child outweigh the perceived dangers of what they are being encouraged to do.

Peer pressure can also be self-motivated.  If our child sees that a particular group of their peers receive more attention – are the resident ‘cool’ kids or even the ‘bad’ kids they may change their behaviour in the hope that they will be invited to ‘hang’ with the group of their choice.

Nor are our kid’s peers restricted to their friends and acquaintances they may be influenced by sporting high achievers, popular personalities they see on television and other significant adults in their lives such as coaches and teachers.Easing The Effect Of Peer Pressure In Kids

So, how do we navigate this journey with our children ?

Accept that you are not going to like all their friends but pretend you do! 

They are smarter than you think and will work it out.  Instead, encourage them to hang out with kids who have similar interests to their own.  They may find that if they all do the same stuff, there will be no time or inclination to look for trouble.

Talk to them a LOT.

Even when they go “oh mum”, and let them know that it is okay for them to say no.  They may be surprised to find that if explained in a reasonable manner, their friends may even respect them for their stance.  Help them understand that we are all individuals and not to be judgemental of their peers decisions or actions.

Enforce the importance of respect

Having respect for others will encourage respect for themselves and make their choices (the right ones) easier.

Now that I am longer my children’s’ carer, I have discovered that they actually listened to pretty much everything I ever told them. They may have not taken the advice at the time but have been known to say they wish they had!  What is just as important is that the same or similar advice will be passed onto their own children.

If you really think about it, we are as much peers to our children as their friends and every other person that passes through their lives sometimes.  Doesn’t it make sense that we try to make the pressure that comes from us as positive as possible to enable them to cope with and balance the negative side that comes with growing up?

How do you try and ease the effect of peer pressure with your kids?

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

Ask a Question

Velvet Vault
Previous Post

Close sidebar