Teaching Your Child To Resist Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be experienced by small children and teenagers alike. It’s the feeling of wanting to fit in – the idea that doing a certain thing or acting a certain way will ensure friendship and admiration. This desire to fit in and to be accepted is completely normal but when the effort to do so results in children acting in ways which they wouldn’t usually act, that’s when it’s something to be wary of. Teaching children to be proud of who they are and what they stand for is the first step in helping them to avoid peer pressure.

This can begin even with very young children. Note how little children compare what they like and what their friends like. Before the age of around 5, there’s little judgement and more acceptance. After this, there can sometimes be an element of competition involved in likes and dislikes. This is where peer pressure can come in.

“Tom says playing football is better than playing with trains. I don’t like trains anymore” This is not an unusual statement at all – many children look at those they admire and wish to emulate them. However, it’s vital to help children to think for themselves and to have confidence in their own preferences.

If you notice your child trying to fit in with peers in a way that belies his or her own preferences, gently encourage them to stick with what they like best. Reassuring them that everyone is different and liking different things is fine. After all, the world would be very dreary if everyone liked the same things!

As children grow, it can be trickier to help them to have that inner confidence they need. It’s important therefore to keep talking to your child, keep on top of what they and their friends are interested in and if they all share the same opinions of it. This will allow you to discuss things openly with them when they do feel the pressure of their peers.

At school, they should be celebrated for their individuality – pupils at this private school in Cardiff are; each child is seen as an individual with their own strengths and this goes a long way to ensuring children believe in themselves.

*Collaborative post

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