What to do to protect my kid from peer pressure

My child does not listen to me. My child is disinterested in studies and his grades are falling. I think my child's friends are influencing his bad behaviour. Do these statements seem familiar? Are you worried about the adverse effect of peer pressure on your child? Let me give you some solutions to cope with the problem of peer pressure.

The horrifying incidents that I read in the newspaper or watch on the news channels send a chill down my spine. School children doing drugs. School children involved in rapes and murders of their schoolmates. Underage kids driving and ramming vehicles into people. Teenagers drinking and smoking. School kids killing their teachers.

We live in terrible times, and it's scary for parents with adolescent kids. Parents live in constant fear of their kids getting involved with the wrong company and falling prey to peer pressure. There is no knowing when your child will succumb to peer pressure and start drinking or doing drugs? What if he indulges in wrong activities, to be one of those 'cool' kids? These thoughts trouble today's parents – the threats are real.

I advise parents of adolescents to know their child's friend and observe their behaviour and more importantly observe their own child's behaviour when they are in the company of friends. Parents see their children as angels, who could do no wrong. That is foolish; period. Your children are vulnerable and can become attracted to vices. Your job as a parent is to be alert and aware of what's going on with your children and to educate them about the evils of the world.

I'll discuss a few peer pressure situations and what you can do to help your adolescent kid handle them.

Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs & parties

These vices are rampant and there are enough statistics to prove it. That is not to say that every school kid is involved in substance abuse. But, there is always the possibility of your kid getting to know other kids who are into this stuff. As a parent the possibility of that happening is worrisome.

What you can do

Parents' involvement is crucial in these years, as is communication – don't shy away from those talks on smoking, drinking and doing drugs and parties etc. It is important that your child learns about the adverse impact of these vices, from you, rather than being carried away by the 'fun' element attached to them.

The one mistake that I have seen parents commit is to have blind faith that their child will not fail them. That implicit faith sometimes falls to smithereens.

Have meaningful conversations with your child that include such topics and spell out your morals and rules, pertaining to them. Also, explain the consequences and dangers involved and how addictive these substances can be.

Don't ignore warning signs, like changes in behaviour and routine. Money going missing from your purse, falling grades, secretiveness or aloofness, staying out late, sleeping in late, unexplainable items in their possession.

In addition, teach your child to refuse if his peers pressurise him into trying them. You could suggest other tactics that could help him get out of that situation, such as to change the topic or to walk away.

Let your child know that he can call you, if he senses trouble and that you'll come to his aid immediately. He should feel free to speak with you about all that is going on with him.

Communication is the key. But, are you doing it right? When was the last time you had a real conversation with your child? A conversation that went beyond – finish your homework, go and study, eat your food, drink your milk, have a bath, stop chatting with your friends…I hope you can see that these aren't conversations.

My kid has become a monster

Adolescence brings about a lot of changes in children. Your sweet child turns into a rebellious, disrespectful, hostile monster. You wonder what's happened? It's 'peer pressure', that's what's happening.

Children tend to take cues from kids they hang out with, and in the bargain imbibe their behaviour, temperament, morals, likes & dislikes. They ape the behavioural pattern of their friends, so as to fit into the peer group. You need to nip this in the bud, as early as possible.

Adolescents can cause undue stress to their parents, and it takes a lot of patience to guide them. Kids at this age are more friend-centric than family-oriented. They prefer to spend more time in the former's company and readily confide in each other. At the same time, they are finding their identities. This also means that they demand more privacy and more freedom. They are still young but think of themselves as a grownup. They act as though they have it all sorted and make mistakes because they haven't yet acquired self-management and decision-making skills, which makes them succumb to peer pressure.

Here is the solution

Like mentioned earlier, conversations are important; and must be a part of your relationship with your child, at every stage of his life. Communication becomes crucial during adolescence when you wonder what happened to your sweet angel. This is the age where your child's power struggles rear its ugly head. Maintain calm and patience – it's a phase, it will pass.

Your child identifies with his friends and will not listen to anything against them, as is explained here. Conversations that criticise their friends will only result in resistance.

Conversations shouldn't be one-sided, they then become sermons. Sensibly, pick your time for talks with your child – for instance when the child is relaxed. Steer the conversation towards your child's behaviour. "You've become very rude lately, especially after you've become with (name the person). What's happening?"

Continue talking to your child, in a gentle tone. Tell them you're proud of the way they are blossoming, but are anguished at the change. Speak to them about rules and values, and reiterate the expectations for conduct.

Instead of taking a stern action and barring your child from hanging around with his friends, stipulate when he can, and for how long. Maybe just once a week, until you see a change in their attitude. You could also suggest that he can have his friends over, at your home, so you can get to know them better.

My child is being ostracised

Your child could be at the receiving end of peer groups. Children can be vicious and you may someday find your child facing their rancorous behaviour. Children can be really brutal and directly tell a child they don't want him in their group. It's really hurtful to be excluded from events – things like a movie outing, a sleepover or a birthday party. Friends suddenly turn into foes; and your child's despondency, at being excluded, pains you. You have no clue about what happened.

Children are very fickle and can shift loyalties easily. So, what do you do, if this were to happen to your kid?

Resolving the predicament

Be honest in reading the situation. Is your child the reason? Is he too bossy or does he have bad habits etc? Maybe you can talk to your child about his behaviour and get him to change himself.

If the other kids are a problem then try to mediate, discreetly. Organise a theme party and send out invitations to the other kids, through their parent. Plan an event, a picnic or an excursion with the other kids and their parents.

Also, suggest to your child to make new friends. Speak to the teacher if the exclusion turns nasty, especially if it is accompanied by harassment and bullying.

Summing it up

Parenting remains the biggest challenge people face in their adult life. There is no reimbursement, yet it's a satisfying job. As a parent of an adolescent who is going through teen troubles, I suggest that you concentrate on your child's positive abilities and encourage his strengths.

This is a phase where you nudge your child from the sidelines, with a bargepole, as it were. Too much interference could be damaging. You need to ensure that they do not go astray and they do not lose their confidence.

Focus on your child's strengths for that is what will help him sail through. When he recognises his strengths, he learns to control different aspects of his life. 'You can do it", is such a powerful phrase. It makes the child explore his latent talents and attributes. Pump that adrenaline in your kid, with repeated confidence boosting conversations.

Pose some tough questions to the child, answers to which he can find when he looks within himself. Questions, about positive qualities, to a child who is losing a grip on life, can act as a wake-up call. The questions can push him to realise his self-worth. "You've always been a responsible child. But, you've been behaving rather irresponsibly (cite an example). What's happened? What's changed?" State what you have to, and show concern, and leave it at that. Let the child analyse his answers, in his own time. Note, that you'll not get results if you yell and accuse.

Kids go through different kinds of pressures, that at times, can be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Don't stress too much, over minor issues. If you have provided the right foundation for your child, the chances of his going wrong are remote.

Give your children a healthy environment to grow in. Don't smother their dreams. Encourage and inspire them and let them dream. Give your child love, discipline and teach them the right values and communicate with them. I have always maintained that the time you spend with your kids is the most precious gift you can give them. You create beautiful memories, which remain with them forever.

If you don't want to alienate your child, begin conversations when they are young. Inculcate in them values that will help them escape dangerous pressures from their peers. Equip them with positive coping tools, teach them to assess situations and to not blindly follow the others.

I hope these suggestions help you guide your kid. Have you had to struggle with your adolescent kid? What strategies did you employ? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Neeru Bhatt27 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

The children are affected by the society in which they are living. They are also affected by the friends they have. Primarily they will be learning from their parents and family members but equally important is outside environment.

Frankly speaking, the outside environment is very destructive and challenging in the sense that it may induce some bad characteristics in the tender minds of the children and distort their personalities.

The adolescent age is such that children do not hear any suggestion and preachings from their elders.

Under such a situation, the responsibility of the parents increases manifold. They have to closely monitor their children and protect them from the evils of the outside environment.

Only alert and active parents can achieve this as it requires a lot of time and patience.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha27 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 7

There should not be absolute reliance on the positive behavior of the child since he, too, is influenced by the association of the company. A bad company may spoil his temperament and they may even take very unusual steps such as murdering the teacher or committing rape. Such a transformation of behavior emanates due to the failure of the parents in maintaining the communication channel essential to know the activities with which he is currently engaged. There should not be a blind faith in your child that he is not resorting to some path detrimental to his normal development and ultimately falls prey to a bad company.

Sensible parents would do better if they undertake the cross-checking of the behavioral norm of their child and notice the deviation if any. Some school authorities conduct regular meetings with the parents so that they are aware of the shortcomings/ strength of the child including his behavioral changes as a result of mixing up with bad companies. This alone should not prove to be a point of consolation. Involvement of the parents to assess the attitude of the child should be a overriding task.

The parents should behave like a friend, philosopher and guide so that his child is familiar with all the basic inputs essential in the path of his growth in terms of intellectual pursuits and healthy studies.

The writer has undertaken the essential points which will help the child in strengthening his positive character and at the same time, it will alleviate the unnecessary peer - pressure. A very justifiable article in the present competitive environment.

Author: Juana28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

The concept of discipline is quite skewed among Indian parents. Slapping, hitting, raising the voice and shouting, calling unsavory names, putting fear into kids is the kind of ‘discipline' that I have observed Indian parents practice on their offspring.

Children need to be brought up with complete devotion. And when I say this I mean that parents need to give their kids time. They should have conversations with their children, about all the evils that go around in society, and things that their children could inadvertently be susceptible to.

Conversations of the right kind, help build character. No lectures; just conversations, where opinions are shared and questions answered and asked. Children are like clay, you can mold them with your thoughts. If you teach them the right values about life, the probability of their going wrong gets diminished.

It is important to teach children to judge right from wrong. To understand the consequences, so that they do not choose the wrong path. The message that we need to pass on to our children is that a moment's pleasure is not worth the risk. There can be serious implications for every wrong action, and it is not worth taking the chance on things that can be detrimental and ruin their future.

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