PREPARING FOR LIFE’S “HARSH REALITIES”
(Jul. 8, 2020) — When your kids were smaller, it was fairly easy to guide them in the direction you wanted them to go. But as they grow older, and become less and less in your presence, it gets a little harder to keep an eye on them. At most, all you can hope for is that they take heed to everything you’ve taught them when you’re not around.
You also have to keep in mind that there is no “perfect parent.” Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, you do your best in raising your kids up to be decent human beings, and most parents succeed in raising good kids… The only thing that has the potential to ruin everything you’ve instilled in your kids revolves around two words: peer pressure.
In short, peer pressure is the influence a person or group of people can have on you that are in your same age group. As an adult, you know this, and it’s a lot harder for you to be swayed by certain influences. But for your kids, it can be much harder, especially when you’re not there to give them that look of disapproval. That reason alone is why it’s so important to have a serious discussion with your kids about peer pressure.
Without talking to your kids about it, they won’t even realize that they’re being pressured to do certain things. Everything from cheating on exams to teens and young adults being easily swayed on radical idealisms of the government, peer pressure is the very thing that makes the saying “stupid is as stupid does” a very real thing.
As a parent, your child doesn’t have to succumb to the harsh realities and penalties that come with peer pressure. You can equip your kids with the tools and independent mindset to resist such strong influences.
Effective Ways to Help Your Kids Fight the Strong Pull of Peer Pressure
Teach Your Kids Independence and the Power of “No”
Part of helping your kids overcome peer pressure is helping them find their own independence and helping them realize that they don’t have to always do what their friends are doing… They can actually be a trendsetter themselves, causing people to follow in their footsteps by doing the right things.
Show them that they are their own person and that they indeed have the power to say “no” to things they don’t want to do, especially when they know it will get them in trouble. Just teach them that when they say “no,” to say it with authority so that people will know that they mean it.
Don’t Overreact When Your Kids Tell You Things
From the moment your child could talk and comprehend, you made a point to instill in them that they could talk to you about anything, right? Most parents have, but the moment your child tells you things that their friends are doing, it can be tough to hear some of those things.
As a parent, if you want your child to continue to tell you things without feeling any judgment, you have to do your best to not overreact… If you do, they won’t ever talk to you with complete transparency again.
Instead of yelling, accusing, or placing blame, remain as calm as you can and talk to them. While they’re being completely honest with you, use that time to talk to them in their language and see if they know the repercussions of those types of behaviors.
For example, “Wow, Cynthia didn’t get caught shoplifting? Do you think she knows how much trouble she could get in with the law for shoplifting?”
By asking in that way, it’s causing them to look at their own potential of suffering consequences if they got involved.
Get Them Involved in Extracurricular Activities
Some parents might think that getting your kids involved in extracurricular activities is a way of trying to protect or hide your child from peer pressure. Well, it’s certainly not. There’s no possible way for a parent to completely prevent their child from experiencing peer pressure, but one thing extracurricular activities will do is keep your child’s mind occupied and focused on other things that make subjecting to peer pressure a little harder.
Enrolling your child in music lessons may not be the solution to prevent their friends from asking them if they want to try alcohol for the first time, but it can potentially make your child come to the realization that alcohol isn’t going to help them become the musical genius they aim to be, especially for kids who take an extreme liking to music.
This same approach applies to basketball, cheerleading, dance, and any other activities outside of school.
Act Out Scenarios to Prepare Them For Peer Pressure
One of the best ways to help your child fight peer pressure is to act out different situations that they may experience peer pressure in. According to learningliftoff.com, the secret to success is to make sure the scenarios you act out are age-appropriate.
For younger children, teasing a classmate or not letting them sit at the lunch table with them might be a form of peer pressure for that age group. When your kids get into their middle school and high school years, peer pressure may come in the form of drugs and alcohol or skipping school.
Just remember to be cognizant and realistic about the pressures your kids can potentially be exposed to based on their age group so that when the day comes where they do experience it, they can feel more confident in knowing the right thing to do.