It's only human nature to listen to and learn from other people in your age group. Two kinds of peer pressure exist. Positive - like cheering a friend on in a sport - and negative. Negative peer pressure can start when children are as young as two-years-old and increases in the teen years.
Kids face a negative peer pressure situation daily varying between cheating, skip classes, fighting, lying, gossip, staying out late, driving fast, etc. When best friends, older siblings, and the popular or cool group try to pressure you it can be even harder.
· They want to be liked, to fit in.
· They worry that other kids may make fun of them.
· They are curious to try something new.
· The idea that "everyone's doing it" may influence some kids to leave their judgment or their common sense behind.
Deal with your own peer pressure: because kids learn by imitation. Don't let the latest fashion command your buying practice. Don't overload your schedule just because you can't say "no" to others.
· Get to know the parents of your child's friends. Meet with them and discuss shared expectations.
· Watch less TV and monitor what your kids watch. Media with emphasis on violence and sex strongly affect youth's norms. Don't put a TV or telephone in your child's own room. If you do, you will surely see them less and dispute more.
· Plan for more family meals. No interruptions. Everyone present. Keep dinnertime conversation pleasant and positive.
· Teach the children to reverse Peer Pressure. Teach them to think logically, rather than emotionally, when with friends. Teaching them to say no or walk away is not the best approach. Kids can be taught to joke their way out of trouble, including suggesting a better idea, using smooth talk, making a true excuse, and learning to return the challenge when provoked.
· Encourage your kid to talk. He doesn't have to feel guilty if he made a mistake or two. Talking can prepare him for the next time he faces peer pressure.
· Use role-playing with your kids to carry out imaginary conditions. You could, for example, play the part of the peer with a dumb and/or dangerous idea, while your child plays the role of the "wise decision-maker" attempting to stay out of trouble while keeping their friends at the same time.
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