And whilst you may have a really open home in which you can engage in honest conversations with your child, it doesn’t stop you worrying about what’s going on when they’re at school, right? How do you know if they’re being influenced to do something they don’t want to do, and do they have the tools to be able to deal with it?
Here are some practical ways to help your child cope with peer pressure.
Start the conversation
A really great way to give your child a head-start is to make sure they know what peer pressure actually is. In a nutshell, it’s feeling under pressure to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s usually linked to bullying, smoking, drinking or taking drugs, looking a certain way, having sex, sending sexual messages/images or generally just getting into trouble.
Saying no is always okay
Empower your child to feel confident in themselves and their choices. Remind them that it’s okay to say no to something – anything – they don’t feel comfortable doing or taking part in. They are strong enough to make their own decisions. Remind them that you will always be there if they need to talk it through. In fact, it’s important to acknowledge their mates have a huge impact on their decisions at this age, but help them to realise there are ways in which they can say no and not lose all of their friends!
Boost their self esteem
The more your child feels confident in themselves, the more they will stand up for what’s right according to them. Some key ways you can suggest they tackle those peer-pressuring friends are to; be assertive in saying no, respect other people’s choices – in turn, theirs should be respected too, come up with alternative suggestions and avoid situations that make them feel uncomfortable. Once they know how to tackle peer pressure, they will feel more equipped to say no.
Explain the consequences
It might seem obvious but to children, consequences aren’t always crystal clear. They might be pressured into stealing chocolate from a shop as a dare, but are they really aware that they’re breaking the law, which could result in being arrested? Whether it’s shoplifting, bullying or taking part in dangerous pranks, make sure they’re always clued up on what could happen as a result. The fear itself might give them enough of a reason to say no!
Give them options
No matter how close you are, it’s always beneficial to let your child know that there are loads more people out there to speak to than just you. Whether that’s their favourite teacher, a grandparent or friend’s parent, a doctor, school counsellor or neighbour, there are plenty of adults ready and willing to listen and help with their problems, no matter how big, small, embarrassing or seemingly insignificant.
betty is a teen brand which aims to break the taboo of talking about periods and challenge societal barriers about these types of teen issues. betty is changing the way we perceive and talk about periods, and instilling body confidence in young women. For more information, visit betty.me or follow @bettycollective on all social channels.
Image: Manjit Thapp