Dealing with peer pressure in the teenage years is never an easy task. We all get swayed and influenced by the latest fashion, music, television, and movies. And getting influenced by our peer groups is perfectly normal. However, the way in which one gets influenced by a peer group must be taken into account as that can lead to various positive and negative consequences. During the adolescent years, children can either be positively or negatively influenced by their friends.
Since teenage is a developing phase, children are immature and so they are not able to differentiate between "friends" and "true friends." This is where the role of parents and teachers comes into picture. The child may fall into the trap of negative/wrong habits under the influence of peer pressure, due to some family problems or he might not be getting the desired love and care from his home.
Example of Negative Peer Pressure
If you are a teenager, you can yourself understand the various moments when you have been negatively influenced by your friends. It may be the first time you took a whiff of a cigarette that was offered to you by your friend or when you had a sip of alcohol.
Understanding negatively influential peer pressure is important for teenagers. For instance, remember the first time when you were offered a cigarette in a group of your friends and you said an emphatic "NO" to the request. However, even after you said no, your friends kept insisting you to smoke. Ultimately, you ended up smoking a cigarette for the first time. Gradually, they ensure that you do enjoy with them every time you hang out together, and eventually you end up developing an unhealthy habit of smoking.
Hence, it is vital that teenagers learn to exercise self-control over themselves. Once if they have made a firm decision to not do something based on their logic, ethics, values, and heart, they must stick to their decision. The ability to say "NO" is necessary to avoid doing what you really don't want to do.
Role of Parents
Statistics related to peer pressure are alarming. They show that a majority of teenagers who are addicted to negative habits have been influenced by a peer group who motivated them to do such things. Kids and children need unconditional love and trust from their parents to get out of negative friend circles. Parents can teach children some positive values like assertiveness, independence, and individuality. They must make their children understand the power of saying "no" at the right time.
Children must be trained to stand up for what they believe in, such that no external influences can affect them to a large extent. Parents must find out the root cause of such a pressure in their children such as lack of self-confidence, emotional problems, or academic pressures that are luring their children to find solace in negative things such as alcohol, teen smoking, violence, drugs, and in the worst cases, involvement in unsafe sexual activities.
Parents must be aware of the potential of their child, and they must help him/her to get involved in pursuits that help nurture their creative talents. Being involved in pursuits like music, drawing, painting, reading, writing, sports, and other activities helps teenagers to relieve academic and emotional stress. The right way to communicate is the key to help children deal with such issues.
While love is essential to make your child understand that you really care for them, you can't be complacent to let them be totally free. Imposing necessary restrictions since childhood and training them to follow rules is a very good form of discipline that parents must inculcate in their children. The safest and most adequate method to protect their children from negative influences is having a very lovable and supportive family. If the child is getting all love, care, attention, and his needs are met adequately, he will certainly be able to grow up into a responsible adult and understand the value of living a balanced life.