As we talk more about peer pressure, I continue to look for resources on how we can help the teens in our life deal with it. It isn’t something that will just go away. We all deal with pressure from our peers, whether it is positive or negative.
Since we are in the back to school season, this week I would like to feature an article from the Boys Town website. The website has many great resources for parents, caring adults and teens on many of the challenges they face.
Peer Pressure – What is it?
Peer pressure is any type of influence, positive or negative, that comes from a peer group. This peer group can be a group that is all the same age or a group that holds similar interests. The motto for the quarter is resisting peer pressure which could say that it may all be negative. However, some of it is positive pressure which can help us make a good choice for us that we are just scared to make. The resisting peer pressure is more about stopping to think about whether the decision that is right for you, and not to let your peers determine it for you.
How much attention does your teen pay to peer pressure?
In the article, Peer Pressure: Competing for your child’s attention, they talk about the influence of children’s friends and classmates and how it is a powerful force in almost every child’s life.
Everyone experiences peer pressure from the first time they play with other kids. Teens want to fit in and be approved of by their peers. Sometimes that means doing anything. It may be wanting to have a certain pair of jeans that is very expensive. Or, it means joining a certain club at school. And, sometimes it means doing something they shouldn’t do, like drinking or doing drugs. Or jump over a bonfire on a dare.
How much attention they pay to it depends on a couple of things
- How confident they are in who they are – if they are confident in who they are and accept their uniqueness as being a good thing, then how their peers feel about them may not affect them as much
- Support from family and friends – having a supportive network around them who believes and supports who they are may also help them to focus on their strengths and gifts and not worry so much about what others think.
What can we do to minimize its effects?
According to the Boys Town article, being a close positive influencer to your teens more than their friends are is an important way to support them. It lets them know that they are okay the way that they are and that they can say no to things that don’t match up to who they are or what they want to do.
Stay in touch with what is going on in our teen’s lives to provide ongoing direction to keep them on a positive path. Sometimes there are people in their lives that are trying to talk them into something that isn’t good for them. Keep an open and safe place for your teen to come and talk to you. Be willing to give them tips, but don’t jump in unless there is a need to. A lot of the time, teens can take care of these things themselves, they just need to talk about how they are going to handle it before they do it.
With the growth of technology, teens will experience peer pressure in many more ways than we ever did. Having social media accounts on different platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Facebook opens our teens up to being seen by others and creates a way for them to be pressured by their peers without face to face contact. Sometimes other people get really brave and post things on other people’s profiles that can be hurtful. If your teen comes to you to talk about these kinds of posts, be supportive and come up with a way to deal with it together.
A resource from Mentoring A Dream
Be sure to go and take a look at our resource page. It provides you with links to Boys Town and many other resources of information about the challenges that teens face. You will find a link to it on the Mentoring A Dream Resources page.
The Hard Way is about peer pressure
Another great way to help our teens is to suggest books for them to read about the teen challenge they are facing. The Hard Way is the first book in The Way Series by Selma P. Verde. It is the story of Paul Jones and his navigating peer pressure to make choices. In the story, is peers challenge him to make a choice. The choice he makes helps him stay loyal to his friends, but it leads to big consequences. To find out what choice he makes, follow the link below and pick up your copy today!
And, for more information about peer pressure, click on this link to our focus on the subject. Mentoring A Dream – Peer Pressure