Children navigate through different phases in life in order to evolve, learn and strengthen the right skills; all of it is orchestrated to make the right choices and become self-sufficient. And along with the children, the parents have to navigate through the same paths.
Since we’re all in it together, let’s discuss the toughest phase of a teenager, a phase that children and we, as parents, struggle to keep up. The phase of oblivious peer pressure in school, one that our children are sure to encounter.
When people spend time with each other, they can significantly influence others for their choices, behaviour, fashion, thought process, and more. That said, all we as parents are always rooting for is good company and a healthy circle for our children to thrive in.
While our children would need a little bit of handholding in identifying good company from bad, we could teach them mechanisms to cope with peer pressure at school. Afterall, peer pressure can be the primary source of stress and anxiety, which leaves no room for growth for our children.
Ways to help Children Cope with Peer Pressure
😊Create an Environment where Children can Talk Openly
Create an environment where children can freely talk about their feelings and how they perceive a situation, and other’s behaviour; even if that is of their own parents. This will encourage them to share their thoughts openly, and you as a parent will get a chance to understand how they perceive things. There are many ways to deal with peer pressure but let’s begin with a comfortable environment.
😊Help them Identify Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is when one may feel pressured to do the same things as other people from the same social group in order to fit in. Children follow peers in order to get respect or to avoid being teased. Get your child into the habit of sharing everything with you, be their friend and they will let you in. Help them identify the right from the wrong, and that is a good enough start. For instance, if a child’s friend offers to take something that belongs to someone else, teach your child to say no to that kind of behaviour. If they get pulled down, let them know they did the right thing to not join forces with the wrong.
😊Negative and Positive Peer Pressure
When identifying peer pressure, it’s also essential to differentiate positive peer pressure from negative peer pressure. When others try to force children into making poor choices like bunking school, bullying a student, making use of substances, or dressing a certain way, these qualify as negative peer pressure. However, when a child’s friend or group encourages them to score better, share tips for better memory, and help learn concepts, it qualifies as positive peer pressure.
😊Teach them about Individuality
Individuals have their unique characteristics and traits, and we must help our children understand their strengths. Tell the children it’s okay to have different taste from others, a difference of opinion and different instincts. This will help them identify their character and build towards it, regardless of other’s opinions. Encourage them to trust their choices, and help build them into confident individuals.
😊Tell them walking away is an option
Re-emphasise on how it is okay to walk away from peers or situations that make your children uncomfortable. Children shouldn’t grow into becoming people pleasers where their time and effort is not respected. Let them know it’s ok to say “no” to people instead of regretting later on. This also promotes a healthy mindset among growing children.
It is an inevitable event in a child’s life but there are many ways to manage peer pressure among children. The primary step is to begin talking about it at home. We need to set clear expectations from our children when it comes to their behavioural and social patterns. It is essential for our children to know it is healthy to not try to fit in for the wrong reasons.
Once the child discovers their coping mechanism towards peer pressure in school, they will definitely try and stick to their healthy habits and healthy group of friends.