The teenage years are known to be challenging not just for teenagers but also for you as their parent. This is a time of roller-coaster hormones, wild mood swings, and fluctuating self-esteem as your child goes through growing pains. More importantly, this is a time when your teenager needs you more than ever. You may find that hard to believe since teenagers are notorious for seeking the approval of their friends more than that of their family. This makes them prone to peer pressure. As a mom or dad, it is your job to step in and make sure they’ll know how to navigate their way through this prickly phase in their life. Here are five smart strategies that will help teens deal with peer pressure.
Create a Safe Home Environment
With all the changes going on, from their hormones to the demands of high school, it is easy for teenagers to feel isolated and alone. Because of this, they may easily succumb to negative peer pressure so they can feel like they belong somewhere.
What you can do to prevent this from happening is to make sure your child knows their home is a place where they can be safe and accepted. Develop healthy communication habits among your family. Deal with conflicts in a reasonable and calm manner.
Cultivate fun and healthy family routines like eating meals together or going on a vacation out of town once a year. The bottom line is that your home must be a warm and inviting place for your teenager.
Lead by Example
If you expect your child to be responsible in the way they act and make decisions, then you too must model positive behavior. Set a good example for your children by demonstrating self-discipline and accountability.
As a parent, your child looks up to you as their primary source of guidance and support. They will not be able to trust you if they see you as someone unreliable and inconsistent. If you struggle with your own bad habits, then it’s time you quit these and start living a healthier life, not just for your own sake but for your child’s future. Breaking bad habits is never easy, but there are comprehensive detox programs to make the process safer and easier.
Treat Your Child with Respect
Parents want the best for their children, and sometimes, this can manifest in nagging and probing behavior. Many times, all your child will need from you is a listening ear and your undivided attention.
Instead of talking down to your teenager, listen and really try to understand what they are going through. Do not dismiss their problems as petty. Instead, help them deal with their issues in a calm, rational, and wholesome way.
If you treat your child with respect, they will learn to carry themselves with dignity. They will have solid self-esteem and learn how to set firm boundaries with everyone they meet.
Connect with Your Child’s Friends
Many parents make the mistake of treating their child’s friends as threats. Bad-mouthing or disrespecting the people your teenager holds in high regard will not only make you look bad; it may alienate you from your child.
Start connecting with your teenager’s circle. You can do this by inviting them to have gatherings in your house so you can observe and get to know them more. Make them feel welcome in your own home. This way, they don’t have to go elsewhere to hang out and have fun.
Aside from knowing the people that your teenager spends time with, this will give you a great opportunity to understand your child more. You’ll be surprised to see how much you can learn about your child through the eyes and hearts of their friends.
Choose Your Battles
As a parent, you may instinctively feel that you have to step in and tell them what to do and not do all the time. This can lead to fights especially when your teenager insists on doing something they may regret later on, like dyeing their hair pink or getting a tattoo.
While it’s normal to be overprotective of your child, it’s not normal to make mountains out of molehills and fight over every small difference you have. This does not mean condoning bad behavior, though.
Pick your battles carefully. If you think the issue will not endanger your child’s life or create any major damage, then explain to your teenager the possible consequences, and let it go. Sometimes, it’s best for them to learn by experience, and this will prevent unnecessary stress on your part.
As a parent, you must double your effort to give love and compassion to your teenager. It’s not always easy, but this is what parenting is about. Your journey with your child isn’t supposed to be perfect; it just needs to be enjoyed together.