At an early age children start thinking about how they are perceived by others and their opinions of them. Friends and peers become influential people in their lives which can lead to both positive and negative peer pressure. For adolescents, it can create the need to fit in by acting and dressing a certain way. Where this becomes problematic and potentially dangerous is when there are negative influences and harmful behaviours involved. In this post we share guidance from a prep school in St Albans on how you can teach your child to resist peer pressure.
Start With Their Self Confidence
A child who is already confident in themselves and who they are is less likely to be influenced by those around them and seek external validation. To get to this point you will have to build their self-esteem and help them in accepting themselves (including their flaws). Start with words of affirmation that help your child recognise their great qualities and remind them that it’s okay to be different.
You should also teach your child to follow their intuition, or gut feeling and question whether what they are doing is right or wrong.
What Makes a Good Friend
It’s important that they surround themselves with good people as we subconsciously learn and take from those around us. To help your child choose good friends, teach them about what they look like and what one never would make them feel/do.
Get to Know Their Friends
You can also keep an eye and see whether your child has good influences around them by getting to know their friends. Also consider getting to know their parents as it will give you a line of communication to go down if you have any concerns.
Practise Saying No
Remind your child that it’s okay to say no, just because their friends are all doing something, it doesn’t mean they have to join in. This comes with some getting used to as it’s not easy to say no, especially to friends. To help your child get comfortable with this, you can role play situations, practice saying no and explore alternative ways to respond.
Listen and Provide Support
Lastly, be sure to create a safe space for your child to come to you with their problems. Make yourself available and check in with them from time to time to get conversations going about school, their friendship groups and how they are finding things.