4 Tips to Help your Child Handle Peer Pressure
It can be really tough when your children are influenced by peer pressure. It feels so out of control for a parent, but it is important for us to focus on what we can control which is the conversations we have with our children about it and how we build their confidence in other areas.
Here are 4 tips to help you with those conversations
- Your approach
Our approach and timing is everything! We need to get clear on what is our responsibility and what is theirs. Our responsibility is to have lots of conversations with them without expectation. It is to give them a safe space to talk about it without feeling under pressure for a result. A space for THEM to come up with an idea to try. They need us to believe in them more than they need a solution. When we believe in them, they will start to believe in themselves and have the courage to try something. This can be tough because we want results so that we get them out of the pain, but presence during the learning will support them way more. The timing of our conversations is also important. The rule is, never go into these conversations when they or you, are upset. They need to be in a resourceful state to think about options to try. In the moment of upset our role is to be there for them acknowledge them. I can see you are upset, and we are going to find a way! They don’t need a solution in that moment, they need reassurance. The questions and conversations come later.
- Help them prepare for the in the moment situations
Help them to prepare for situations by asking questions. The more prepared they are the more chance they will try something. Here are some questions to ask:
- What do you think will happen?
- How would you feel?
- What could you do?
- What could you say?
- What do you think their response will be?
- What could you try?
- How can you feel strong in that moment?
If they have a strategy, that is a start. We can be there for them to talk about it after they have tried something. The goal here is to stay out of judgement and expectation and to come from a place that you believe in them. See if they can agree to try something and them have a discussion with you afterwards. It is important for them to become aware of how they feel in those situations and practice feeling strong. They can even practice saying things to you and feeling strong.
- Develop their perspective about themselves
When children are susceptible to peer pressure, it is an indicator to build their opinions and ideas about themselves. It is important to build their perspective about themselves and THEIR opinions to be louder that other children’s views. This a process completely separate to managing the peer pressure conversations
- Notice when they feel good or empowered about themselves and ask them how they feel. This draws association between their conscious mind and their feeling to create a frame of reference for them when they feel good or powerful
- Ask them their opinions about different situations. Allow them to have their opinions and test them. Don’t influence them with your perspective. Let them learn from their perspective and have discussions around the outcome of those perspectives. If you try and influence and tell them, you are just reinforcing the pattern to be listening to outside perspective rather than themselves which results in more peer pressure
- When ever they bring up a situation or something someone has said, ask them what they think. This interrupts a pattern or assumption that the other person is right and it gives their brain a perspective that there is always room for more than one opinion.
- Always have after conversations
After conversations are the most important conversations to have. This is where their learning happens. This is where their confidence builds. Give your children the safe space to talk bout what happened without judgement or expectation. Ask questions
- What happened?
- How did you feel?
- What did you do?
- What else could you do?
They need reassurance from us whether it went well or not. How can they start to assess themselves without judgement so that they can keep tweaking their approach until they get what they want? We support them with this by reassuring them. I know it is hard and we can find a way.
Developing your child’s ability to stand up to peer pressure is a process of many small conversations. Try focus on your consistency to have these conversations rather than their ability to get it right!
Use these tips and others I provide in my blogs. I am here to support you through your entire parent journey
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About the Author
Gail is a Family Relationship Coach specialising in Parent-Child Relationships. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring parents to develop children’s self-awareness. She believes that this can be achieved by balancing parent’s needs with children’s development and happiness. Understanding how to synchronise our thoughts and emotions and what drives them ensures our happiness, and our children reaching their full potential. Gail is a Qualified NLP Practitioner, NLP Life Coach and Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner with over 10 years’ experience and success at applying these techniques to children’s learning and behaviour. Her success with her own son is proof of the possibility of true potential