We all expect our kids to experience peer pressure in high school, but kids of all ages can feel peer pressure.
Peer pressure is nothing new, and it’s still no easier to say “no” to friends when you want to. Some kids give into peer pressure because they:
Positive and Negative Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can take many forms, and it can be positive or negative.
Sometimes your kids can get influenced negatively from their peers through things like other kids suggesting your child cuts class or encouraging your child to be mean to another child during sports or school.
Positive peer pressure can come in the form of other students or friends helping your child learn their homework through mnemonic devices or encouraging them to join clubs or sports. Your child can also be the positive influence on their friends by encouraging others to read a book they got excited about or telling them about their favorite sport.
How to Handle Peer Pressure
As a kid, making decisions can be hard, and when friends get involved, it can be even harder. Some kids give into peer pressure to be liked or are afraid of getting made fun of. Others may go along because they are curious about what other kids are doing. Kids need to practice making smaller decisions so when bigger decisions come along, they’ll be able to handle it. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child resist peer pressure. When it comes to negative peer pressure, tell your kids there are a few ways to handle it:
How to Be there for Your Kids During Peer Pressure
Have an Open-Door Policy
Let your child know they can come to you with any questions or concerns and that you won’t react harshly. Talk to your child about their day and tell them about yours. Listen when you need to, and offer encouragement or answer questions when your child needs it. If your child needs help solving a problem, ask them to come up with solutions and help them choose the best option.
In a neutral manner, talk to your child about the difference between positive and negative peer pressure.
GreatSchools.org suggests that when your child talks about what’s happening with their friends, stay as calm as you can. Avoid yelling, blaming, and lecturing. Use open-ended questions to get your child to think through the situation. Ask questions like, “I wonder if your friends realizes the consequences that can happen because of their choice?”
Stay Up-to-Date with Your Child’s Life
Know what your child likes by spending time with them. Get to know your child’s friends, and pay attention to where they’re going, what they’re doing, and when they’ll be home. Remind your child that if they ever feel like they are being pressured into something that’s unsafe, they can talk to an adult.
Make your home a safe place for your children to invite their friends to. Make it a place they want to bring their children home to. Offer meals or snacks to get time to sit down and chat with them. Take them places they want to go, and talk to them on the drive. This way, you can meet their friends and see the influence they have on your child.
Set Reasonable Rules
Maintain the same household rules for each child and let them know of the consequences of breaking them. Try not to be too rigid or unreasonable, and make sure the responsibilities are age-appropriate.
Encourage Healthy Hobbies and Activities
Teach your child about making health choices for smoking, alcohol, and drugs. If there is something questionable on TV or the media, talk to them about it, and let them know what the house rules are and what you think about it. Help them find books they can relate to where a character has to make difficult decisions in the face of adversity.
Let your child choose an extracurricular activity, club, team or workshop where they can increase self-esteem and gain positive friendships that can help them resist peer pressure.
American Kenpo in East Mesa Teaches How to Stand Up to Peer Pressure
Get your child involved in activities such as church, Scouts, or martial arts. Martial Arts are cool because they instill confidence and teach kids to fight and stand up for themselves. Grand Master Greg Silva of Black Belt Schools International says, "Sometimes saying ‘no’ isn't enough for bullies and peers. You must stand up for yourself even if you have to stand up alone. All kids should take at least 1 year of martial arts for confidence, fun and fitness."
If you want to learn more about what we do, please fill out our online form or call us at 480-986-7177 today.
Our karate school encourages kids to know how to make good decisions and stand up for what they believe in. You are invited to try a Beginner's Martial Arts Workshop, for self defense, fitness and fun. Call us to register for this week's FREE community workshop for kids!