Handling teens can be challenging for a parent; they always seem engrossed in their worlds, and the raging emotions are beyond you. But, you have to have that conversation about friends at some point. Teens are faced with crucial decisions each day; they have to select which course to take in high school, which clique to hang out with, what to wear, whether to date. It is essential that a teenager has an adult to direct them through this phase in their lives.
Insecurities and a desire to fit in cause teens to follow the wrong cliques. This group can lead your child from forming bad habits like smoking, casual sex, drugs, violence and even crime. If you are a parent and are wondering when to that conversation with your teen, then this article is for you.
Define peer pressure to your teens
There some teens who are not even aware of what peer pressure is. As a parent, you need to first define to them what peer pressure is and what it entails. This will help them detect it when you are not around. Informed kids can make better decisions and are able to identify manipulation by friends. Most of the teens who get caught up in peer pressure are seeking a form of identity and acceptance and cliques offer this.
Most parents forget that they were at some point teens and they struggled with peer pressure in the same way as their children. Empathy involves putting yourself in your teen’s shoes and looking at things from their perspective. To cultivate empathy, listen carefully to your teen’s concerns. Are they experiencing severe challenges fitting in in school, are they been bullied, are they in a sexual relationship? These questions will better help you understand your child. One significant effect of peer pressure is teen drug addiction. Many teens will start experimenting with drugs to fit in. It’s crucial that you detect this early.
Teach them to say No
Teens in an effort to fit in with the crowd have a hard time saying No to anything thrown their way. They may be aware of the consequences ofa certain course of action, but they still follow the crowd. Teach your teen creative ways to say No; if someone suggests they take a drug they can say No thanks, I want to finish my education first. Also, teach them the consequences of engaging in risky sexual behaviors.
Build a close relationship
Teens will not open up to you unless they feel you will not judge them. You will have to find the time and spend it with your child if you want them to open up to you. Children who have a close relationship with their guardian or parents have an easier time saying No than those who don’t. The best time to build this relationship is when they are children, as they grow up they will always be confident that you have their back.
Watch what you say
Teens at this point in their lives are overly sensitive to what you say; this is especially true when it comes to their self-esteem. There are hormonal changes that are taking place, and this brings a lot of sensitivity when it comes to body image. Positive, affirmative words can help them build up their confidence. Choose your battles with them carefully. When they are leaving the house find something nice to say about their clothes or hairstyle.
Set a good example
Children of parents with a history of drug and alcohol addiction are more likely to have addiction issues themselves. With this in mind, parents can help their children by setting a good example. This means avoiding illegal drugs, only using prescription drugs as prescribed, and drinking in reasonable quantities.
Know who their friends are
While we are not encouraging that you go snooping their phones, it is important to know who their close friends are. You can encourage your child to invite their friends over for lunch or take them shopping on a Saturday afternoon. This will not only create an environment of trust and openness, but it also helps in your relationship with them.
Help them make a right decision
One way to help them make better decisions is to give them responsibilities and applauding them for a task well completed. This will help them build their confidence levels and instill in them that their decisions matter. It also encourages them that they are responsible for their lives and wrong choices have negative consequences.
Increase their social network
Your child may be thinking that it’s only in school that they can build friendships. You need to help them expand their social network. Encourage them to make friends through book clubs, church, clubs or family events. Speak to them on the dangers of random online friends. In this age of social media, many predators are lurking online wanting for victims.
Monitor any changes in behavior
While teenagers are subject to mood swings, if you notice something extraordinary it would be wise to dig deeper. Some of the warning signs that your child could be under intense peer pressure include: – low moods, sudden changes in behavior, overeating or loss of appetite, anti-social behavior or aggression, withdrawal from activities they found fun, and reluctance to go to school.