How to Prepare Your Teen to Deal with Social Pressure

10 Dec

Teenagers and peer pressure seem to go hand-in-hand when discussing issues concerning parents. Peer pressure exists as long as peers exist, from the first taste of socialization to the last. Peers serve a purpose in establishing self-identity and the place of self in the community and the world. Even a jury in a court case is supposedly composed of 12 peers of the defendant. Peer approval indicates acceptable behavior for a group despite what the social norms dictate. Peer influence follows a person throughout his life, but teenagers are particularly susceptible to its pressure to act against better judgment.

Prepare Your Teen to Deal with Social Pressure on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

According to research published in Developmental Psychology, peer pressure often factors into teen risk-taking behaviors, including substance use. 

The best way to approach your teen on such serious matters is from a perspective of mutual respect — not mutual status — but sincere respect for their autonomy and your authority. Understand that you have limited control and that they have autonomy in decision making, especially if it is a spur-of-the-moment opportunity. Admit these facts, but also present other facts to support your concerns and to make sure that your teen understands that actions have consequences.

Open Door Policy

Communication is key to any successful relationship and trust is a necessary component to this kind of commitment. Give them as unbiased a sounding board as you can so that they may get feedback that they can trust. This also better helps them handle making a decision that conflicts with those made by their peers. Remember, this is an exercise in accepting their autonomy, not approving whatever choices that they make.

Understand that they need to establish themselves by exploring identities in which they come in contact, but that exploration must have boundaries. They can use these boundaries to strengthen unwavering respect for their core values. This will help them to be true to themselves regardless of what their peers decide to do. They may even help their friends to make better decisions.

Be aware with whom they associate and identify as valuable. Who they respect and what they accept as truth will affect how they make decisions.

Researching how does drug abuse affect families may help them to keep a practical handle on what is at stake with the decisions that they make.

Prepare Your Teen to Deal with Social Pressure on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Present the Facts

  • Advise them that as young adults they are most susceptible to peer pressure between the ages of 14 and 18. This window of vulnerability is a platform to establish good and bad habits that will follow them into their middle school, high school, and post-high school endeavors. It is fertile ground for experiencing dangerous situations as their ability to assess risk is highly compromised, and youngsters are more prone to take risks as a result.
  • The human brain is approximately 80 percent developed between these ages and that the remaining 20 percent involves areas of unconnected synapses in the areas that assess risk. Teenagers are at a biological disadvantage when it comes to making sound decisions.
  • Their friends may not be trustworthy. Trust isn’t just about loyalty. A bigger part of it is about judgment. You have already proven that their friends are just as incapable as they are to make sound decisions at their age. Guidance is necessary.
  • While they cannot be forced to comply with all your wishes, they can be advised of consequences for their actions, both directly by a particular action and indirectly by how you handle that particular action.

Coming together as a family and being involved in your teen’s life must happen if you are to successfully improve the quality of their decision making through a very trying time for them.

Prepare Your Teen to Deal with Social Pressure on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

Sources – Age Differences in Resistance to Peer Influence – Peer Pressure – How Does Peer Pressure Affect a Teen’s Social Development?

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