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Handling Peer Pressure
When your child comes of age and reaches his teenage years, there is a strong possibility that he won’t spend you anymore. Instead, he would be hanging out with kids his own age, of both sexes. And for you, as a parent, this presents a whole problem you may still be unprepared to handle. As a parent, you never really know what kind of people your child hangs out with, and you very well can’t call them to your house and interview them one by one and reject the ones you think will be a bad influence on your child.
So what should you do when your child does something completely unusual? Say for example he comes home with a tattoo or a piercing in an unmentionable body part. Or what if he takes up dangerous new habits or hobbies? This can happen when your child gives in to peer pressure and you have to know how you can face such situations.
There are several ways for you to help your child be strong enough to resist peer pressure. Always remember, however, that you should take into account your child’s friends and your role as a parent.
Your child’s friends are important to his well-being of your child since they are his peers, the ones with whom he is sharing life experiences, learning new things, and spending time. Make sure that you criticize his friends; this will only make your child feel bad and think that you are against his choices. Instead, get to know his friends, his friends’ parents and other information, such as their contact numbers. You should also encourage him to join groups or activities to open him to other experiences, people, and even good role models, so all his time isn’t spent with his friends. Third, you should know where your teenager is at all times, and who his companions are, just to know that he is staying out of trouble.
Another thing you can do is to set a good example, and don’t force your teenager to do something he doesn’t want to. You should also open the communication lines with him and make sure to always reach out in a way that will encourage him to open up to you. Remember never to relate to him as if he’s a child or somebody inferior; speak to him as an equal. Make sure that you can help him build his personality and enable him to have strength of character that will enable him to resist any negative influences. Finally, speak frankly with him about important issues like drugs, drinking, and sex, and explain to him the consequences of engaging in these activities. This way, he knows what’s in store and will be better able to resist peer pressure.