20 Ways Your Child Can Avoid Peer Pressure
Encourage your child to adopt these habits
16 July 2017
Peer pressure has a nasty little habit of promoting the wrong things in your child's life; be it their style of clothing, attitude, habits or behaviour - after all pressure from peers is more often than not a negative influence.
What your child should know and understand first and foremost is that they are important. Their life counts, and they can make a difference in the world... Without needed to adhere to another individual's beliefs or point of view.
So if your child finds themselves in a sticky situation with a friend or acquaintance, here's 20 tricks you as their parent can encourage them to adopt to help build their confidence in saying NO.
1. Practice saying no
Help them to practice saying 'no' in a safe environment; like at home, if a sibling asks them to do their laundry on a Saturday night.
2. Ask 101 questions
If your child's friend pressures them into, for example, smoking, they should deflect the offer with questions like why do they smoke, how long have they smoked and if they mind smelling like an ashtray.
3. Saying 'no' like they mean it
Encourage your child to make eye contact and say 'no' forcefully, with authority. The more certain your child is in their refusal, the less people will bug them into doing things.
4. Back-up a 'no' with a positive statement
For example if your child is offered a substance that is detrimental to their health (and probably illegal), they can say 'I like my brain the way it is', or 'I like my lungs the way they are, thanks'.
5. Be repetitive
Encourage your child to state their position over and over again until the influence firmly understands.
6. Remove themselves from the pressure zone
If they're left feeling uncomfortable, ensure they understand that they can leave the scene at any time. They can make an exit, and then call you to come and pick them up or to let you know that they're on their way home.
7. Avoid stressful situations
If your child knows that they're going to be uncomfortable in a certain environment or around types of people, then they should feel comfortable in avoiding those situations entirely. Let them know that it's okay to feel uncomfortable, and it's a perfectly normal thing... And that they also have an ear to listen in you if they do feel so.
8. Consider the consequence of saying 'yes'
More often than not, the thought of saying yes and the results of doing so is enough to put your child off. As your child grows older, they'll be able to understand and predict the consequences of their actions if they do succumb to peer pressure.
9. Find a buddy
Your child may find comfort in having a peer that is like-minded and has the same values as them; encourage them to spend time with this person, attend social events together and even confide in each other. Your child will no doubt enjoy having a back-up if ever needed¬
10. Confront the 'leader of the group'
More often than not in a social circle, there's a leader - if your child is comfortable in doing so, encourage them to discuss how they're feeling and the negative effects of that person's actions on your child while alone. They might find the peer pressure bully will get off their case.
11. Find positive role models
Your child may know of some peers in their age group that aren't afraid to say what they like and don't like; encourage your child to see and understand the benefits of this confidence and help nurture this in them, too.
12. Don't believe 'everyone's doing it'
Because we can safely say, everyone is NOT doing it. Your child may feel influenced by a peer who tries to convince them with this line, so make sure your child is aware that they reality is entirely different.
13. Seek support in their social group
Encourage your child to discuss how they're feeling with other members of their social circle - they'll probably be pleasantly surprised and reassured to find that there are others in the group too that are feeling the pressure. It's nice to know you're not the only one, after all.
14. Your child is their own best friend
Remind your mini-me that actually, they're very special and unique - and nuke any negative statements or feelings they may be having as a result of peer pressure.
15. Find ways for your child to excel
Encourage your child to challenge themselves, to do their best. They should focus their attention on following their own personal goals, instead of the goals of a group that they'll no doubt lose touch with in a few years or so.
16. Don't pressure others
Your child should be aware of and watch out for any subtle forms of pressure that they themselves may be exerting on someone else. If you as their parent also notice this, be sure to step-in and remind them of the negative effects it can have.
17. Be mindful of moods
It's easy to say yes to something negative in the heat of the moment, if your child or teenager are feeling rebellious, or angry, or sad. Make sure that your child understands the full consequences of such a thing, and encourage them to be mindful of their moods that can affect their sensibility.
18. Speak out!
Make sure your child is comfortable with speaking out; if they feel someone else is being pressured, they can support that person and take their side.
19. Evaluate their friendships
If you feel that your child is being bugged constantly by their friends, and they're trying to get your child to do something that they're not comfortable doing, talk to your kid. Explain to them that it's fine to remove themselves from some individuals who are causing a negative influence on them. Your child should be confident in realising who their real friends are, who should like them for who they are - and not who their peers want them to be.
20. Find new friends
If your child has decided that their friends don't have their best interests at heart, they should be comfortable in searching for new like-minded friends. As a parent, you can help facilitate this; offer to drop-off or pick-up your child at new environments, classes, friend's houses. Talk to them and understand why they feel like this needs to be done, and advise them on how they can seek out new friends who share the same values and interests as they.