Parenting Solutions: Peer Pressure
Follows the crowd, is submissive and easily swayed, engages in risky behaviors at a friend's urging, doesn't stand up to peers, has difficulty speaking up and letting his opinions be known when with peers
The Change to Parent For
Your child learns to say no and develop assertiveness so that he can stand up to peer pressure, make positive choices, and refrain from engaging in risky behaviors.
Question: "My daughter is such a follower, and I know it's because I always intervene on her behalf. How can I help her be more assertive and less likely to do what other kids tell her to do?"
Answer: If you want to help your daughter stand up for her beliefs, then switch your response. If your role has been apologizing, explaining, or basically "doing" for your child, then stop. No more rescuing and no more speaking for her. Your child will never learn how to stand up for herself; instead, she'll forever be relying on you. Then start reinforcing any efforts she makes to be assertive. "I know that was tough telling Kara you had to leave early to make your curfew." "I'm proud you were able to tell Leslie that you didn't want to go to that movie." The sooner you nurture assertiveness, the sooner your child will resist that peer pressure.
One Simple Solution
If You Want an Assertive Kid, Don't Hover!
Researchers find that parents who encourage their children's social endeavors at a distance are more successful in raising assertive kids. In fact, those parents who tend to intervene in their kids' social lives actually hinder their children's peer relations. Better to stand back and supervise your child informally whenever he's with friends. It will boost his confidence and his ability to stand up to them on his own.
Pay Attention to This!
Peer Pressure Is Stronger Than You May Think!
A Time/Nickelodeon survey of 991 kids ages nine to fourteen revealed that 36 percent feel pressure from peers to smoke marijuana, 40 percent feel pressure to have sex, 36 percent feel pressure to shoplift, and four out of ten feel pressure to drink.89 And those pressures are felt at younger ages: 7 percent of fourth graders, 8 percent of fifth graders, and 13 percent of sixth graders have drunk beer, liquor, or wine coolers in the past year. Teach your kids refusal skills so that they can stand up to these pressures.
If You Want Your Kid to Engage in Less Risky Behavior, Be a Hands-On Parent
If you ever wondered if parents can counter negative peer pressure, wonder no more. A survey of over a thousand American teens found that those who lived with "hands-on" parents were four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking, smoking, and taking drugs.90 Hands-on parents are ones who have clear household rules and expectations for their teen's behavior and monitor what their teens do, such as the TV shows they watch, the CDs they buy, what they access on the Internet, and where they are on evenings and weekends. So stay involved in your child's life!
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