RELATIONSHIP

Confidence in your own skin kills peer pressure

We all love hanging out with like-minded friends. They’re sympathetic to your situation with parents, teachers, and siblings because they’re going through the same as you are. But, this takes a strange turn if friends become foes and you under duress do things that make you uneasy.  It may be a just show-off, one-up-man-ship, building a macho image. This can be smoking cigarettes, stealing from parents’ purse, or their prescription medications, cheating a test, or skipping school/college and making cruel jokes?

The friends you see around you make up your “peer group.”  A common experience we all have gone through is a group ganging up to ridicule or making cruel jokes targeted against a person because he/she was different, did not fit in, or suffered from a mental or physical disability. This hurts the person at the receiving end but also lowers the character of the person involved in dishing out the insults.

At a time it may be hard to stand up for what you believe in when everyone around is pushing you to do something different. “Go with the Flow “is easy. Parents have a big role to play by teaching their teens to stand up for what’s right. This can be done by building self-esteem, feeling confident in your own skin. You can change the conversation or defend the person being ridiculed. Resolve to stand up for others and go against the flow.

The easiest solution, parents can teach is to completely avoid the bad kind of peer pressure. Surround yourself with friends you like, who like you, and who like doing things you like doing (things that won’t jeopardize your future). It’s not worth it to hang around with people who don’t treat you well or respect you and your decisions.

A parent can teach the importance of saying “No”, respect for the self and dignity of others regardless of skin color, weight, or other physical or mental traits.  This will restrict your children getting influenced by the unhealthy lifestyle of getting addicted to drugs or alcohol or bad practices of stealing money or bunking school/colleges.

The next advice for parents is that they should be aware of the peer –group your teen hangs out with. Peer pressure is all around your teen. Be observant, look at his/her friends. Is he/she wearing hair the same way or the same brand of clothes?  Teach your teen to be in control, be it smoke, miss class or just about anything, the decision must be his/hers. If your teen is under control, then his peers can’t be, so learn to be assertive. As a parent keep your lines of communication open with your teen. Make sure you are always available when your teen needs to talk. Adult supervision and care is a must for them at this point of age. Involve your teen in healthy activities.

Teach your teen values, to mold the character. A character is important. It’s important to people all around you, to future employers, and to your future spouse. Most important drill into them that it’s your life, and it is your choice how you shape it.  Taking risks is fun and exciting — and some risks can be good for you. The trick is to take those chances that teach you something new or make you a better person.

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