Lying, attitudes, bad choices. All of these challenges that most parents have to deal with at one time or another when raising teenagers. But there is another challenge that can sometimes make you feel as if you are climbing Mount Everest. It is the impossible feat of dealing with peer pressure.
For many teens, peer pressure is the most difficult thing to resist. They want to be liked, they want to fit in.
I don’t know how I have managed to mostly overcome this issue. But my two oldest children have never really struggled with this.
They are both who they are and they make no apologies for it. My oldest was never brash about who he was. He has always been the strong, silent type. But my daughter…well, let me just tell you that you get what you get and if you don’t like it, she has no problem saying adios.
However, my youngest son does deal with peer pressure and so this is quite honestly a new terrain for me. But here’s what I’m learning. As much power as peers can sometimes have over your children, your influence is greater than you think.
No, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t succumb to the magnetism of peer pressure. But it does mean that in the back of their minds they know what’s right. This is where you have to put your hope.
Parents can also play a significant role in managing friendships. It’s important to understand that you won’t always like your teen’s choice in friends. The more you voice this however, the more likely your teen will cling to that relationship.
One way to navigate this is to have your teen’s friends over at your house more often than your teen going to their house. This gives you a bit more control over the situation.
If the friendship is harmful however, then you may need to put your foot down. It may lead to either drastically slashing the amount of time spent together or cutting off the friendship entirely. But be ready for a battle.
Talking to your teen goes further than you might think. Discuss peer pressure; how you understand the pull of it and the road it can take your teen down. Keep the communication lines open. It could mean the difference between giving in to the pressure and resisting it.