The next time you see a smoker, strike a conversation and ask when and how they started smoking. In 90% cases, the answer always is, “I started with friends.”
This is a classic example of peer pressure. When your friends or people who are your age try to influence how you act and try to get you to do something, it is called peer pressure. Like a rite of passage, every child undergoes peer pressure at some point. The onus of teaching them how to react to such pressure falls on us.
It is not all bad
Not all peer influence can be clubbed under the ‘peer-pressure’ bucket. In most cases, peers have a profound impact on the way we think and act. People of the same age group, who are facing the same challenges as us, understand us better than anyone else and hence play an important role. They help kids socialize, gain new experiences, create deep relationships and also provide feedbacks and encouragements when needed. This is called peer support.
However, when you are pushed to do something you are uncomfortable with, it turns into a negative influence.
Need to fit in
Peer pressure can range from something as minor as ‘bunking a lecture’ (oh come on, don’t be a spoilsport) to something major like ‘trying alcohol’ (it is just beer and everyone else is having it) or ‘taking part in any criminal activity’ such as shoplifting or drugs. As the need to fit in is high among teenagers, they usually tend to go with the flow and give in.
How to tackle it
As parents, you need to ensure that you are a part of your child’s life and are updated on their daily activities. Ensure that you have a friendly equation with them. Give them the following tips to ensure they know how to deal with such situations:
- Recognize the signs: Your body always warns you if you are ever faced with a situation that makes you uncomfortable. The signs include shaky legs, dry mouth, fast heartbeat and butterflies in the tummy. Teach your kids to watch for these signs.
- Trust your gut: Teach them that the best solution is to always listen to their gut feeling, even if everyone around them is at ease.
- Learn to say no: Tell them it is okay to walk away from friends or activities that make them awkward. Set a good example by following this even at your home.
- Make an excuse: Always plan in advance — you can even rehearse what you’ll say and do. Decide on a code with your parents if you are faced with an uncomfortable situation. For example, if you are being bullied into drinking, call them and ask them to pick you up under some other pretext like a headache or stomachache.
- Play smart: Learn a few tricks. For example, keep a drink in your hand to avoid being bullied.
Try sleep autosuggestion
According to studies, children who are low on confidence are the easiest victims for peer pressure. They tend to follow rather than lead and hence often fall in the trap.
To ensure that your child is a leader rather than a follower, you can try our SleepTalk Process program. Scientists have agreed that a child’s mind is most suggestive when they are asleep. Under our program, we train you to imprint positive beliefs and suggestions in your child’s subconscious while they are sleeping, helping them get more confident and capable. Since the process is done by the parents themselves, it results in developing a strong & deep bond of trust & love between you and your child. The positive effects of the process is seen in the other members of the family unit too as time progresses. No wonder then it is called the Gift of SleepTalk.