In our children’s world, peer pressure is a reality that could make or break their friendships in school, relationships with peers and self-esteem. How can we help our child resist peer pressure?
In a world where Social Media has permeated, there can be even more pressure to conform. Owning the latest gadgets, using slang or even vulgarities, purchasing stationery right down to gaining approval on Instagram and Tik Tok are some areas peer pressure can manifest.
Fear Of Missing Out is real and it is a natural feeling. Adults also experience FOMO, perhaps not at a greater level compared to our children, who may be too young to resist trends. As caregivers and parents, we can provide guidance to our children to stand firm in their decisions and not give in to peer pressure.
Teaching Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure
Here are 5 ways to help your child resist peer pressure!
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1. Celebrate your child as a unique individual
Always affirm your child in his or her identity as a unique individual. Tell them their strengths, weaknesses, unique personality and be glad in this child that you have. There should not be only one way or style to conform to. Build your children up so they can be confident individuals with positive self-esteem.
We can ask them for their opinions daily and discuss them. Even if we disagree, we can seek our children’s views and acknowledge them. Respect the differences and give your own of view, while sharing that everyone can have differing opinions on the same matters.
2. Be Familiar with Social Media & Your Child’s Accounts
We should be familiar with Social Media and what our child is being exposed to. Befriend them and from time to time, check on their behaviour. Do not stalk them or try to control them, boundaries should be respected unless you see imminent danger. Encourage them to attend the brain defense class so they can be saavy digital citizens. You should always let them know to come to you whenever there are issues online or offline. The platforms allow one to flag issues as well.
3. Talk about Peer Pressure & Trends
Talk about the invisible pressure your children face in school as well as prevailing trends. Discuss this openly without any prejudice and refrain from judgement. Hear your child out, so you can be aware of the environment amongst peers.
Offer your own experiences when you were their age and your views with the benefit of hindsight.
Peer pressure can also be positive, especially when it spurs positive attitude and behaviours. Talk to your child about being discerning. The next step – knowing how to say no is important too.
4. Teach them to say no
One way to not succumb to peer pressure is to say no.
Here are some suggestions:
Suggest alternatives to the plan the group has. Offer different options so that others in the group know there are other choices.
Walk away from the situation when or before it gets too tense or dangerous. If there is a confrontation online, take it offline and ensure there is an adult such as a teacher. Take screenshots of the conversations if the coercion is too unbearable.
Sometimes it is wiser to avoid certain situations entirely. While this is a tough decision, not participating in any unsupervised group activities or parties may spare the child from unnecessary peer pressure. Parents and children will need to discern if the group is one that offers positive or negative pressure.
5. Parent intentionally and Model wisdom
Parents are the most effective role models. Parent with the intention of modelling wisdom. This encompasses talking about why some decisions are wise and not others, the consequences of unwise decisions and how negative consequences can affect us for life.
These skills of learning to make wise decisions will hopefully stay with our children for life. Rather than let FOMO rule their lives, the children can learn to manage the peer pressure.
The pressure is real, help your child to manage FOMO
Fight peer pressure with reason. Affirm your child and discuss differences in opinion, how to stand firm in his or her beliefs while discerning the right relationships and situations. FOMO is real and bigger in many ways. We will need to be there for our kids as they navigate the various trends and sway along, but hopefully with much wisdom and discernment.