Peer pressure is when your child is influenced by others. They may feel like they have to ‘follow the crowd’ in order to fit in. This can make them behave differently or change their appearance.
We all understand the desire to be included and this is especially important for children at school. Many children fear that they will be excluded or bullied for not being like their friends.
To help your child avoid peer pressure and feel confident to be themselves, here is some great advice from an independent girl’s school in London…
Talk about peer pressure
To help your child combat peer pressure, they will need to be able to notice when it is happening. Talk to your child about possible situations where they might experience peer pressure and role play some examples. Teach your child to be sensible and confident in their decision making and reassure them that they can always talk to you if someone is making them feel uncomfortable.
Teach your child to say No!
Teach your child to say ‘no’ when something feels wrong. It can be extremely hard for your child to say no to their friends, but it is important to explain that true friends will not pressure them to do something they are unhappy to do. You could teach your child to offer an alternative suggestion in response to peer pressure. For example if they feel that an activity is unsafe, they could suggest a fun activity to do instead.
Watch out for bullies
Spend time getting to know your child’s friends and their families. If your child seems upset by a classmate or tries to avoid someone at school, you should ask their teacher for advice. They will be able to keep an eye on your child and look out for any signs of bullying. It can also help to encourage extra-curricular activities, as this will allow your child to form many social circles.
Finally, teach your child to be proud of their individuality and to be accepting of others. This will help them to feel less worried by peer pressure. Peer pressure works by making an individual feel wrong or unaccepted for not following along. Explain to your child that we do not all need to be the same, or do the same things in order to fit in.
Note: This is a collaborative post