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Be Proactive With Peer Pressure

kids smoking image
kids smoking

Don't wait for peer pressure to take hold of your kids!

The very mention of the words “peer pressure” strikes fear in the hearts of many a parent. And today, there is plenty of reason to be afraid, with high teen pregnancy rates, alcohol and drug addiction, gang activity, skipping school, engaging in premature sexual activity and youth-related crime. As if the health concerns of kids today – like asthma and ADHD – aren’t enough, peer pressure has gotten even worse. Why wouldn’t you be afraid as a parent in today’s world?

However, as a parent, you are your child’s primary teacher until they enter school, unless of course they are home-schooled, and eventually these children too will be tempted to listen to negative peers. That is unless you follow some of these suggestions:

  • Listen to your child when he or she expresses negative feelings about a situation, such as losing a friend, to demonstrate your ability to listen, without judging or trying to “fix” the situation.
  • When your child acts in a way that is contrary to the values you have taught them (i.e., you overhear your child and a friend making fun of another child’s clothing), gently remind your child that this is not their usual behavior and that perhaps the other child may come from a financially disadvantaged family.
  • Praise your child when he or she acts outside negative peer influence, say by befriending a new student in school that no one wants to talk to. Praise tends to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Try to have more family meal time, to discuss the day’s events and promote open dialogue among all family members.
  • Get to know the parents of your child’s friends. Check when there is a party to be sure that a responsible adult is present and that no alcohol will be served.
  • Watch less television and monitor your child’s viewing habits. Keep televisions out of their rooms and turned off during meal times.
  • Teach your child how to say “no” in a way in which they feel comfortable. Work through responses to different scenarios so they are prepared when they arise (i.e. what would you do if someone offered you a cigarette, asked you to shoplift, lie to your parent, skip school, etc.).
  • Influence your child’s choice of friends, subtly and whenever possible. Children who choose friends who shun smoking, drinking, drug use, stealing, and lying to parents and others in authority are much more likely to do the right thing.

Your child’s feelings of self worth and self esteem go a long way to helping them stay above the influence of negative peer pressure, as does your willingness to listen, really listen, to their concerns, without dismissing them as silly, stupid or not relevant. Your child can rise above…your actions can surely encourage him or her during those often difficult adolescent and teenage years.

Related posts:

  1. High Blood Pressure & Chiropractic

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