“How can I protect my child from peer pressure?”

Seeing my 11-year-old daughter’s school performance drop sharply, I asked her if there was anything that was bothering her. She hesitated a bit, but then said, “Mom, my friends think talking about college and getting good grades means you’re uncool!” I had a long chat with her to clear her mind of such ideas, but it got me thinking. At school, I didn’t want to be seen spending a lot of time with certain friends who were considered less cool. I even pretended to like the actor just because my friends adored him. All this made me remember how as a child, how I was perceived and treated by my peers, was an important part of my happiness. So I am not surprised that my daughter and other children I talk to often worry about their social position in the peer group.
First, let’s understand what peer pressure is. This is when people your age try to get you to behave a certain way or do something. Peers don’t always influence you in the wrong way. This influence is most evident during the school years. More than once, you’ll learn an easier way to memorize formulas, a smarter way to talk to teachers, or different ways to style your hair neatly. But sometimes you are also influenced in a not so good way. You may secretly want to be like them, even if they don’t really put pressure on you – because it’s natural for you to want to fit in.

Jyotsna Ahuja Kapoor, founder of Coach’s personal transformation division, The White Space, explains: “Peer pressure sometimes challenges a child’s basic concepts of the (un)conditionality of love and acceptance and uniqueness. The pressure to be seen sometimes causes great fear of being left behind in those who are more sensitive by nature and therefore uncomfortable in competition. The act of competition itself is a modern, covert form of warfare if it is not handled with sensitivity and delicacy.
The child learns to push forward by force as a byproduct of developing a competitive approach or perspective. Instead, this can be changed by replacing the “do or die” approach with the “put your best foot forward” approach, where the child learns to express his or her most beautiful and unique qualities, and is celebrated as such. If you must teach them to compete, do it in the most productive, solemn way.”

Parents also experience peer pressure

Peer pressure doesn’t just affect kids. If you have adopted hobbies, goals, or values ​​based on what your peer group believes, you are also a victim of peer pressure. One couple was on the verge of divorce when one partner insisted on the other to take their children on lavish vacations, enrolling them in expensive classes just because her friends were doing it for their children. The husband believed that the wife was unaware of their increasing expenses, which interfered with his earnings.

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Jyotsna explains, “Parents experience peer pressure in two ways, both related mainly to their own upbringing.

a) Will I be a good enough parent if I (not) do the things other parents do to keep their children happy? Will I be judged by society, peers, and other pillars of support?

b) Will my child love me if I say no to him because I don’t think it’s right for him? In this case, the parent is under pressure due to the refusal of acceptance and tolerance by their own child who has internalized the same concepts that the parents themselves practice. Parents are afraid of being too strict, so the child catches this subconscious influence and can wield it to get his way. This manifests itself as peer pressure on the human parent who desires to belong to the family itself.”

How to help your child deal positively with peer pressure

Feeling peer pressure is inevitable. But what matters is how your child handles it. Jyotsna explains, “Children are the product of the human values ​​their parents share. If parents don’t give in to peer pressure in the beginning, children learn to understand how to deal appropriately with their peers. They need to be taught that true friendship (and therefore true love) doesn’t force you to do anything. Least of all threatening to exclude you from friendship itself if you choose to follow your heart and refuse.

Above all, children should be taught to listen to the inner voice of love: The starting point is always the question: “Is this something that love would do?” A question I often ask my own child is, “If you were my parent and responsible for my well-being as your child, how would you feel if I insisted on it and you knew it wasn’t safe?”

Should you interfere with your child’s friendships?

Friendships at any age are extremely important to a person, especially when you are young. This is the age where you learn to choose your tribe. As parents, it’s normal to dislike a particular friend of your child or see them as a bad influence. However, controlling your child’s friendship can be dangerous territory to enter. Jyotsna shares some tips below:

“It’s a double aspect. Children are vulnerable and vulnerable. However, the only thing that fails safely is how you are alone, so with them. They don’t always do what you tell them to do, but they always do what they’ve seen you really do.

What kind of person you are and what kind of friendships you choose becomes a voice in the background in their hearts and heads. They become the kind of friendships they engage in. Therefore, choose your own influences wisely.

The best approach is to be your child’s best friend first. This way you meet them on a level where they can find you open to their hearts and thoughts. They will share their emotional space with you, and you will resonate beautifully with all relationships.”

In short…

Teach them to listen to their inner voice

Teach them the true meaning of friendship, which doesn’t force you to do anything or be someone

Choose your company wisely to lead by example

Be your child’s friend

Don’t always tell them what to do

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