As we begin to wrap up our discussions about communication, it is important to always remember that not communication, but effective communication is what holds the key to a healthy parent-child relationship.
This is great for situations like when peer pressure becomes evident in your tweens life. Often misunderstood, peer pressure isn’t something that just happens amongst friends. Peer pressure has been known to happen amongst people who may not even be in your child’s inner circle.
Peer pressure happens the moment your tween enters a place where his or her actions can be influenced either positively or negatively. It is an unavoidable influence that every teen has or will experience.
Knowing the different types and understanding how to effectively communicate with your child when it happens, can help prevent decisions that may change the course of your tweens life (teen pregnancy, incurable sexually transmitted disease, alcohol or drug abuse, poor behavior).
As we go into the different types of peer pressure, remember that all peer pressure isn’t negative. Some peer pressure may be very conducive to the growth and prosperity of your child.
Positive peer pressure is when you are surrounded by people who have the potential to influence you to do good things you or your family can be proud of. For example: joining a book club or trying out for a challenging sport. These types of pressure are the kind that your tween would be more than happy to talk with you about at the dinner table. However, there can never be enough good conversation about these experiences and just like conversations need to be had about positive peer pressure, they most certainly need to be had when it comes to dealing with negative peer pressure.
That brings me to my next point. Negative peer pressure is the type we mostly hear about. As tweens begin to grow into themselves and they interact with the people around them, they will soon feel the need to be liked, accepted or understood. Sometimes this want or need comes with the cost of their better judgement and integrity. So how can you tell if your child is experiencing negative peer pressure? You may notice them doing things like:
• Making negative comments.
• Making people feel bad
• Using ‘put downs’.
• Picking on people’s differences.
• Discouraging others from trying.
• Teasing and harassing others.
• Threatening others.
• Calling people names.
• Daring others to do unsafe things or things which could get them into trouble.
• Being rude and bad mannered.
• Using inappropriate language.
• Not considering the feelings of others.
• Not involved in positive out-of- school activities because it’s not “cool”
If you ever become a witness to these particular behaviors, open the door up for conversation. As I mentioned before, communication is great, but effective communication is even better. You want to make sure you keep the floor open for when your tween goes through these phases of life.
Everyone wants to feel understood and we all want to be accepted, but not at the expense of our youth’s integrity and moral beliefs.
Tweens Teens and Young Adults