What Is Peer Pressure

What is peer pressure? Parents and adolescents need to to answer this question so that kids won't succumb to negative peer pressure when it happens, which it will.

Peer Pressure Defined
The definition of peer pressure is a group of people exerting influence to manipulate others into following certain behaviors or beliefs. The group may punish people for non-compliance, making life difficult for the peer who resists.

Peer pressure for teens is especially harsh, as teens often want power over others and may find cruel ways to get back at people who don't follow their rules. Teens face a struggle between parental and personal boundaries and peer expectations, along with the age-appropriate desire for peer acceptance. In this struggle, parents usually have the upper hand. That's why it's essential for parents to give teens the confidence needed to resist peer pressure.

How to Help Teens Avoid Peer Pressure
Parents can do three main things to help their child stand up to negative peer pressure:

  • Set limits. Parents who have clear expectations and firmly set rules influence teens to make choices based on those expectations. Teens without limits will more easily go along with whatever their peers are doing, without being pulled by their consciences.
  • Keep communication open. Know what your teen is doing. Talk with hher about life, friends and decisions. Be there as a support and authority figure. As a parent, you set the limits. Don't try to be a friend; think about what's best for your child and set rules accordingly.
  • Give your child tools to deal with peer pressure. Role play different scenarios to help your child practice the words to say in response to negative pressure. Teens can be very reluctant to stand up to others, but often they get a lot of respect when they do. If teens know what to say, they'll have the confidence to say it.

Cliques
Teen groups often form as cliques, exclusive groups that conform to chosen ideals and behaviors, and that exclude others. The leaders of these cliques are important influences on the behavior of the group.

As a parent, get to know your child's friends and see what kind of influence these friends have on your child. It helps to know the other parents, too, if possible. Encourage your child to befriend people with similar values and interests, and to avoid those who would put him into difficult situations.

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Teenage peer pressure can be highly influential with the constant process of making choices and weighing what they have been told by parents, peers, the media, teachers and other sources of information. Any one of these influences can be attractive to a teen.

Peers are a powerful force in the life of a teenager. Whether they know it or not, teens face peer pressure almost constantly.

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You don't have to tell your teen to avoid all peer pressure, but you should realize that avoiding the negative effects of peer pressure takes some skill training and strong parental guidance.

Negative peer pressure can lead to long-term emotional and physical problems. Understanding how peer pressure works can help parents and teens find ways to deal with it.

Parenting is a tough job. Let's face it, you can't watch your kids every hour of every day and you also can't control everything they see and hear. As a kid, I was exposed to many things that a child should not have been exposed to.
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