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Parenting Peer Pressure

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Help Pressure Children Parenting Friends

Peer pressure can have a profound effect on your child, and an equally profound effect on your parenting skills and style.

From the moment your child attends nursery, preschool or any other day care or social setting, they will be exposed to peer pressure. They will make friends and their social skills will start developing and with these changes in their lives also comes the dilemma of peer pressure.

Playground Pressure

Playgrounds are potentially dangerous places, and can be lots of fun as well as incredibly lonely and even scary at times. These are the places where peer pressure often begins, and where small groups of children congregate, sometimes excluding children from their games, while encouraging others to copy behaviour that is often inappropriate.

Growing up is hard and children often find life at school difficult. Their need to be included with certain groups or gangs can put them under a lot of unnecessary pressure because they are so determined not to be the one who is left out.

As well as playground and friendship issues, as children get older the peer pressure they find themselves under is caused by other things, such as making sure they have the right designer clothes and shoes, and even the trendiest school bag.

Positive Parenting

Peer pressure of one kind or another is a fact of growing up, but does not affect all children and those who are affected react in different ways. It’s really important that parents are able to recognise the signs if their children are finding life difficult, and find a way to manage the situation that is positive but also respects the fact that they are growing up.

Children who are struggling with peer pressure will experience changes in their behaviour patterns and may well find school difficult. Their behaviour at home and school may well be challenging and in these situations it is very easy for parents to become impatient and short with their children, when actually they need to spend some time talking to them about their worries.

Growing Up Can Be Hard Work

It is easy for us to forget the troubles and difficulties that we experienced as children, and these days more than ever, children are under a lot of pressure to conform and be the same as their peers.

Children are exposed to so much at such an early age that when it comes to material possessions, they are bound to feel a certain pressure to want to have the same as their friends. The same applies to issues surrounding their teenage years from owning the latest mobile phone or mp3 player, to trying smoking, drug taking, drinking and sex-just because their friends do it and they feel under pressure to do the same.

It is vital that you keep open lines of communication with your children and try to make it clear to them that you were young once and that you can remember how hard it is when your friends are doing something and you just want to be the same.

However it is also important that you reinforce all the positive parenting that you have already been practising, and make it clear that there is a difference between right and wrong and why copying their friends and feeling under pressure to take part in activities that could be dangerous, is never a good idea.

On a materialistic note, it is also important for children to understand the value of money and respect the fact that just because their friends have designer clothes and the latest gadgets, it may not be possible for you to provide the same level of gifts! It is hard for children to understand but you can be secure in the knowledge that you will be doing your children a big favour by helping them to understand this fact.

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