Coping with peer pressure
Kid’s unfortunately don’t come with an instruction manual, we are all learning the best we can along the way. Peer pressure is a horrible thing that has probably effected us all when we was growing up, it can have a positive effect on our life’s and it can also have a negative effect, it all comes down to choice and whether we let it have that negative effect. How can we best help and guide our children when coping with peer pressure at school?
Peer pressure can lead our kid’s to act out of character and do things that us parents know is not how our kid’s would not normally act. Coping with peer pressure can be a major worry for us parents.
I remember my days as a teenager and that feeling of wanting to be accepted and to feel like I belonged, I also remember being dared to do things and then doing them even though I knew in my head that it was wrong but still doing it just to be noticed and feel like I belonged…Stupid I know but that’s how it was!
When the boy’s started school I noticed a change of character, this soon settled down and then progressed again once they started secondary school, I then asked myself “is this just their character coming out or is it due to peer pressure”? it was hard to tell.
Signs of peer pressure:
- Behaviour changes, suddenly becoming more rude, aggressive or even becoming more withdrawn or secretive.
- Sudden changes in school grades or skipping classes.
- Changes in different friends.
- Changes of habits and going out at different times or suddenly returning home late.
- Spending time doing things you know are odd for your child such as things that you know do not interest your child.
- Change of style, such as hair and clothes.
As parents it’s our job to protect them and we are the most important influence in our children’s lives, all we can do is guide our children and hope they take our advice and the right path in life.
How would you guide and protect your children from peer pressure? would you intervene or would you wait for them to open up to you?
We have been guiding our boy’s by:
- We have let our boys have their chosen friends round for dinner so we can get to know them better and so we can see who they are spending time with.
- We talk to our boy’s about their day and explain to them that they can ALWAYS talk to us about anything.
- We also get to know their friends parents and keep in touch regularly, we look out for each others kid’s where we can.
- We have regular contact with the school to keep an eye on the boy’s behaviour within the school…..We have even asked for our boy’s to be seated somewhere different, before now they have been seated next to a child who is known to the school to be disruptive and this had a bad effect on our child and his grades was dropping so action had to be taken, having our child seated somewhere else seemed to be the best option. With working together with the school on this problem made things easier and more effective.
- We make sure that the boy’s are aware that we have noticed good behaviour, good decision-making, good grades at school, good time-keeping etc and then reward them in some way.
- We have always told our boy’s that it is ok to say NO to anything that they don’t feel comfortable with.
- We’ve also told our boy’s and made it very clear “there is always someone who they can talk to about anything if they don’t feel comfortable talking to us, there is always a family member, friend, teacher or anyone else that they feel comfortable talking to”.
- We have told our boy’s to “think about the consequences of what it is they are about to do before they do it” THINK will this get me into trouble? if the answer is yes or I’m not sure then don’t do it!
The effects of peer pressure are horrible, it can get our children in some awful states and situations, sometimes in a lot of trouble.
- Cause depression
- Effect grades
- Loss of good friends
- Add pressure on relationships with family
- Cause our children to lie to us
- Risky behaviours such as drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Truancy from school
- Under age sex
- Become aggressive
- Criminal record
- Effect eating habits
These are just some of the effects of peer pressure and I am sure there are many more.
Way’s to help our kid’s through this:
- Help build their self-esteem back up, this will help them feel more confident in themselves again.
- Help them with way’s of saying no to bad situations.
- Perhaps see if they would like to join a self-defence class, it may help them feel safer.
- Tell them they can always ring or text if they feel they are in a tricky situation.
- Let your child have friends home after school if they wish, that way you are nearby for tricky situations.
- Book an appointment to see the teacher with your child to discuss the situation so your child is aware the school are also keeping an eye out too. The more eye’s keeping a look out the better.
- Try and get them involved in out of school activities that way they can mix with other children away from school and form other friendships.
We have recently helped one of our boy’s through coping with peer pressure, it was an awful time for us all, it was hard, the hardest part was seeing our child doing things we knew he was not comfortable with doing, he was in tears and felt controlled by these children. We saw the signs and alerted the school, we worked together with the school, with the support in place and our child knowing the support was there to help he then felt safe enough to break away from them. We knew it was not something that was going to happen overnight, we knew we had to sit back and wait for him to do it in his own time in his way but we got him through.
Have you ever had to deal with peer pressure?