Mom of a Tween and Teen
Mindful Parenting & Mindset/Emotional Wellness Expert
Peer pressure is very common among children, especially tweens and teens. It’s something we can’t take for granted or pretend it doesn’t exist. In some instances, peer pressure leads to positive outcomes. Yet, there are times in which it can lead to painful consequences that can potentially scar our children for life.
Recently, I received a message from a mother who was concerned about the peer pressure her daughter is facing. Here it is along with my response:
“Dear Dr. Yanina, my daughter has been spending too much time with this mean girl lately. I’m not about judging people, but, I’ve seen how she treats my daughter. I read a few texts from this girl and she’s constantly putting my daughter down calling her trashy or chubby. I brought it up to my daughter, and she defends her new friend stating she’s just kidding. This is not the first time her friend puts her down. How can I help my daughter find better friends?” — A concerned mom
Dear concerned mom,
Moms really care about the quality of friends their children hang out with. You and I want them to be selective and careful about choosing their friends. We know peers can be positive and supportive or negative and dangerous. Some encourage good habits and positive attitude whereas others encourage risky behaviors like skipping school, cheat, or steal to say the least.
There’s plenty of research stating the majority of teens with substance abuse problems began using drugs or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. And frankly, often times kids give into peer pressure because they simply want to fit in, be liked by others and fear to be made fun of or left out.
So, let me share 3 steps to help your tween or teen handle peer pressure smartly.
- Empower your child to say “NO” when they feel others a pressuring them to do something wrong or fishy. Remind them what a true friend is like and that a real friend will not put her down or make her do something she doesn’t want to.
- Teach your child to be smart and selective about who they consider as friend. The reality is you can’t be friends with everyone. I tell my children they have to show respect and be courteous with other kids but they don’t have to be friends with every kid. It’s about developing a healthy and strong support system even at their young age.
- If your child already has a downer in their inner-circle, it’s time to let go of this relationship. Here are some tips to help her transition this relationship out.
Encourage your child to talk to this friend and share her concerns about the relationship.
If the conversation takes place and her friend continues spreading negative energy, suggest to gradually cut down the time and attention she’s giving to this person until the relationship fades away.
Remind your daughter (or son) she doesn’t have to answer every text or phone call from this person. She needs to reclaim her space!
My dear reader, I can’t stress enough the importance of teaching your tween or teen to be selective about who they call friend and detoxify their inner-circle if necessary. Peer relationships are strong influencers in your child’s life. And, generally, they are very close to them. Your child values their opinion and listens carefully to their feedback before making an important decision in their life.
Foster open-communication between you and your child so that you can influence her and she respects your advice. They can too, detoxify their relationships and build a healthier and stronger support system.
I would love to hear your takeaways from this post. Share it below!