Peer pressure is not something that just teenagers deal with. I think parents of teenagers can also feel pressure. Our pressure is a bit different but the way it feels is probably very similar. The pressure parents of teenagers have is related to the balance between parenting the way the world dictates and parenting the way we think is best.
I have learned over the years of being a parent that not every decision I make will be appreciated. I’m not even talking about my children accepting my decisions. I am referring to decisions that I make as a parent and others may disagree with. We all parent differently. We have our own viewpoints, our own beliefs, morals and values. What works in one family may not necessarily work in another.
Recently my family has gone through a situation where the pressure in being a parent of a teenager was greatly felt. It was a decision that I had to make concerning my 16-year-old, something that everyone around me felt he should be able to do. But I didn’t think it was a good idea. It was really hard to be the lone ranger in that situation. I had very strong personal beliefs concerning the situation but everyone around me thought I was being ridiculous.
What do you do when as a parent you feel very strongly about something but everyone is pressuring you to do their thing? Most times I would have stood strong but I have to admit, I caved on this one. Now keep in mind that what this concerns is nothing illegal, dangerous, or that sort of thing. It has more to do with my values and standards. Everyone was against me and unfortunately, I was not able to stand against that. So I went along with what they wanted.
Do you think I felt any satisfaction when I caved in to the pressure? I felt absolutely horrible. I felt guilty. I felt I had failed as a parent. It was terrible the way I felt. It made me realize how difficult it is for teenagers to deal with pressure. It’s like you are in this pressure cooker and at any moment you could explode. When teenagers stand strong against the pressure, they may not be popular but at least they can feel a peace within knowing they did the right thing.
At that moment I suddenly knew what it felt like to be a teenager who gives in to the pressure. Sure, everyone around you is happy and you might even try to convince yourself that you are happy about the decision. But deep down inside it eats away at you. Pressure is not fun to deal with. I feel so much more understanding of what my teens must go through. I have also learned that teenagers are the only ones that feel pressure.
Parenting a teenager is difficult but I guess through this experience what I learned is that I have to stand strong when I believe something and do what I know is best for my teen.