Peer Pressure: Do you know you kid's friends, and how strong their influence is over your child?

Teenagers face consistent and intense social stressors. Peer pressure is a major social stressor for youth. Pressure to fit in with a group, pressure to wear the "right" clothes, and pressure to behave like your friends all contribute to your stress level. Whether these stressors lead to distress (negative stress) have a lot to do with how you manage your stress levels. Do you have strategies in place to deal with your children’s peer pressure? How about choosing friends – are you involved in their friendships?

What should you do?

Keep Communication Open - Many times teenagers will not talk to their parents from fear of criticism, ridicule, or punishment for what they say or do. When your son or daughter speaks to you, keep an open mind and try to listen without judging.

Know their Friends - The best way to know what is going on at school or what teenagers do outside of school is to know the friends and their parents, if possible. Be careful, if you disapprove of these friends and voice this to your teen, your teen may cling to them even more. Adolescents want to make their own decisions on whom to be friends with because they believe people have told them who to be friends with their whole life. You may not be able to stop your child from being friends with certain people but you can talk to him or her about the activities these people are engaging in.

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Comment by Brenda C. Wade on January 15, 2010 at 6:52am
As a professional who happily works with teenagers in the school setting, I experience firsthand the stress some feel regarding peer pressures. I find that what teens want most is to be HEARD by their parents and to be given DIRECTION by their parents. Sadly, many parents leave their teens to make choices and decisions on their own. Fortunately, many come to school seeking guidance, limits and boundaries from the adults in the building, meaning their teachers, counselors and administrators. DIARY OF A HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER is a place where teens and parents can openly dialogue in nonthreatening and nonconfrontational manners about the stressors of teen life.
Comment by Fanchon on January 14, 2010 at 9:04pm
Also, children should be strong in their owns values and identity and hang with those that agree with them. This strengthens them for the fight that at one time or another they will be faced with. Your company is part of you, they pull towards or away from your goals. Decide which way each "friend" is pulling you, and make wise decision. If children learn this lesson early, it will benefit them greatly throughout life.
Comment by Fanchon on January 14, 2010 at 8:57pm
It is essential that you know your child's friends at any age. Not only that, you should know their parents and have their contact information. You should talk to their friends, be aware of myspace pages and such, and basically do a mini background check on them. These are for friends, not so much associates. If these kids are going to be in your home and with your child without you around and sometimes without adults around, you really need to know them and a bit of where they're coming from.
Comment by LaCheala N. Taylor on January 14, 2010 at 12:36pm
i teach my children to be leaders and not followers and becareful who you hang out with because everybody is not you friend. Hang out with people who want to do better in their lives. If my children couldnot talk to me about
their problems their are members of our church and family who can help with their problems. It is very important to have a postitve role models available at any time, for our youth to keep their heads on straight.
Comment by fireman2one on January 12, 2010 at 10:25pm
What i try to tell my son is that i was once a young man once and even if theres certain issues that he feels as though he cant tell me or his mom go to his uncles if need be, only because they would do or give him advice thats best suited for him and not have to rely on his friends for anything


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