Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

Guest Blog ~ Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

As teenagers grow into their independence, they tend to reject their parents’ advice in favor of making their own decisions. They test your rules and take more risks against your will. As a parent, you may start to wonder if your teen is even listening to you at all.

You worry that this sense of stubborn self-reliance could lead your teen into a sticky situation, especially when he or she is being pressured to engage in potentially dangerous activities. Will your teen’s sense of reason be trumped by his or her desire to belong? Will he or she even be able to detect peer pressure, especially when it’s coming from a trusted friend? Can your teen say “no” with confidence?

These are tough questions for any parent to have to consider, but there are things you can do to help yourself feel confident in your teen’s ability to resist peer pressure.

  1. Instill a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. Teens with a greater sense of self are more confident in making their own decisions. They are also less likely to succumb to the negative influence of friends. Teach your teen that “No.” can be a complete sentence and empower him or her to stand firm against pressure.
  2. Reinforce trust. Open communication, listening and understanding are key when engaging in a dialogue with your teen. When the trust is mutual, he or she will be more likely to come to you with any questions or concerns about peer pressure.
  3. Take advantage of teachable moments. Taking your teen to a party? Use those minutes in the car to discuss party behavior dos and don’ts. During high-stress periods, such as exams or sports competitions, teach your teen about healthy stress management. Warn your teen about the negative consequences of using alcohol or medicine abuse as a coping mechanism.
  4. Role play. Act out various scenarios of peer pressure, such as being offered an alcoholic beverage or drugs. Alternate between overt and subtle situations. Watch how your teen thinks through and responds to each one. Use different “characters” in your scenarios, including close friends and family members, to illustrate instances where trust and boundaries may be blurred.
  5. Talk to your teen about online safety. With new social networking sites and apps popping up all the time, teens are becoming more accustomed to sharing personal information and photos online. Teach your teen to limit the amount of personal information he or she shares as well as limiting who has access to it. Emphasize that what’s posted online can live online for years—just one bad mistake can have lingering effects.
  6. The gut check. Teach your teen to trust their intuition as a first alarm. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it’s not right. By the same token, check your gut as well. If something doesn’t feel right, follow up on what is making you feel uncomfortable and take action if necessary.

All of these things will help you feel more confident in your teen while simultaneously helping your teen feel more confident in him or herself. That’s a win, win.

Author: Christy Crandell is a mother of two, an author and a drug awareness advocate working to educate other parents about risky teen behaviors such as medicine abuse on the Five Moms blog.

When, if Ever, is it OK to Let Your Teen Quit?

Stick it out!  This question is really about the lessons we learn from failure and how to build confidence in teens. One of my favorite quotes ties in with this question.

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” — Vince Lombardi.

As a parent, you have to help her get back up. Why? It builds self-perseverance.

So what’s self-perseverance?

Confidence,  self-esteem and approval are all tied very closely. Combined, I call this the triangle of self-perseverance.  They are interwoven and when out of balance, we can’t be the best version of ourselves. Like a science project that successfully shows cause-and-effect when elements are evenly poured, so too happens with the proper mixture of confidence, self-esteem and approval. Keeping the triangle of self-perseverance in balance is not easy.

Confidence is that undefinable ability or feeling we have that tells us that we can do it.  That we are smart enough or strong enough to take something on, win or lose.  It provides us with a sense of self where we are comfortable to try something and not fear failure, but look upon it as a growth opportunity. This builds resilience in all of us which in turn squashes fear and cultivates self-esteem.

See more at yourteenmag.com.

The Beauty of Fourth Grade Before Peer Pressure Begins

Why do I think fourth grade is beautiful? Because this is the place and time in a child‘s life when they are innocent enough to still try anything. They believe they can run faster than lightning.  They believe they are strong as an ox.  They are willing to take on most challenges and have no concept of failure.  They see themselves as invincible. Within that naïveté  there is simplicity that is pure and good. They still have dreams of being astronauts, doctors and firemen. They listen to their parents (for the most part) and believe mom and dad are the smartest people in the world.  But the best part about this age group is that they still firmly believe in themselves. They are confident and strong and they believe that they can be anything they want to be as long as they work hard because that’s what their teachers and parents have told them.  Fourth grade is the tipping point for confidence building that sticks.  Factors such as friends, teachers, and family all play a critical role at this point in a child’s life.  Just like the “School House Rock” song says; [age] 10 IS the magic number. After this age, peer pressure comes into play.  Some resist because of the confidence they built and tools they have gained from strong family, teachers and coaches, while others unfortunately fall victim.

Note: The ages of 7 to 13 are critical for positive growth and confidence building. These elementary school years are at the core for building self-confidence.  Age 7 is where we start to see children grapple with confidence, and parents need to pay close attention by  encouraging and reaffirming their child in most activities.  Age 10 is where things can either go very right or very wrong in your child’s development.