How Can I Help My Child Deal with Peer Pressure?

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Peer pressure can take many forms and changes as children age. So when their younger, especially in elementary and middle school, peer pressure can really involve a lot of bullying behaviors. So that if the whole group is picking on another child, your child might jump in because they don't want to be the one that's excluded or not part of the group.

That's something that kind of continues over time. As they hit middle school and high school, peer pressure can involve being involved in drugs or alcohol, engaging in sex, cheating, stealing, any of those kinds of things. Often times peer pressure happens because kids want to feel like they're part of the crowd, they don't want to feel excluded.

So the more you can promote self-esteem and a healthy sense of who you are and real sense of identity in your child, the more likely they will be to not engage in the behaviors that you don't want them to engage in which is really what peer pressure promotes. Kids who are popular often gets sucked into peer pressure more.

So not that you don't want your kids not to be popular. You do want them to have a sense of identity and ability to say no, so that they can be protected and not get involved in all the negative things that might be going on around them. It's really important to have your children in teams, participating in things they love, because the more they are feeling confident about their own ability, the less likely they will be to engage in things that are negative.

So if you can promote them being involved in things that make them feel successful and positive and good about themselves, and that will build their self esteem up, the less likely they're going to be victims of peer pressure and they're going to be able to stand up for themselves, and potentially for anybody else that might be needing some help.