In adolescence especially, peers are a person’s number one external influence. They consciously and unconsciously teach us how to communicate, our likes and dislikes and how to act in certain situations. When a peer deliberately tries to influence someone’s beliefs or actions, they are peer pressuring someone.
Peer pressure can be positive or negative. Positive peer pressure can push kids to do their best at sports, school and hobbies, while negative peer pressure can lead them down a dark path and make them feel like they don’t have a choice. Helping your kids recognize negative peer pressure and teaching them how to confront it can improve their life’s projection — and sometimes even save it.
Why Kids Give in to Peer Pressure
Every situation is different, but some of the most common causes of peer pressure and its effects are:
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of support system or problems at home
- Fear of exclusion
Ways for Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure
Positive and negative peer pressure are a part of life, and your child can learn to differentiate between them. If you educate and support them, they’ll have what they need to stand up to their peers when they don’t want to do something. Here are some tools to help kids deal with peer pressure:
- Teach them how to say “no”: Teach them to say “no” verbally and with their body language. They can do this by standing firm, looking their peers in the eye and telling them “no” strongly and without hesitation.
- Help them come up with excuses: Some people won’t take no for an answer. In this case, help your child develop a few reasons they can have on hand when they need to get out of a potentially dangerous situation.
- Let them practice: Have them practice with you using different scenarios. You can use situations you see on TV, in movies or in real life to show examples of how to or not to react.
- Take the blame: Tell your child that you will stand by them and help them get out of these situations if needed. They can tell their peers they’ll get in trouble with you if they get caught. Some parents also come up with a code word their child can use that discreetly informs you to go pick them up or react so that they can leave the situation.
7 Summit Pathways Can Help
Negative peer pressure often results in young people using alcohol and drugs before they’re ready, which can put them at an increased risk of becoming dependant and misusing them. If you’re worried your young adult child may have fallen into drug addiction due to peer pressure, 7 Summit Pathways can help. Our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) allows patients to learn the skills they need during the day while still sleeping in their bed every night.
Connect with us today to learn more about our various programs.