Peer pressure is a very powerful motivator in today’s society. Teens that struggle are often trying to keep up with someone who may not be very positive. In an effort to be accepted teens will do just about anything positive or negative. Teens are not the only ones influenced by what others think. Many adults are still very concerned about what their peers think. This doubles the problems associated with raising a difficult teen. Parents should not be concerned about the way others perceive they are raising their teen. As long as parents are doing what is in the best interest of their child they should forget about their own peer group. The parents’ peer group is often much larger than that of their teen. For example parents have both sides of the family watching what they are doing, as well as those at church, their place of employment, and of course, the neighbors. This is much too large of a group to please, and since others don’t really know the details of the problem parents need to forget about them. Parents will need to put their own insecurities aside in order to help their teen.
The teen usually has a tough group of people they are trying to please also. Many teens consider those in magazines, on television and in videos as their peers, and role models. Trying to follow these “make believe” role models can make a teen’s life miserable. Teens can also be very harsh and critical of each other. When a teen is trying to fit into a social group they consider cool, they will do just about what ever it takes to gain acceptance. There are plenty of adults who will admit they started smoking, drinking alcohol, having sex, and using drugs to be accepted by their peers as a youth. The power of acceptance should not be underestimated. Parents should always consider peer pressure when trying to figure out what is making their teen act the way they are.
Breaking The Cycle
In order to break the cycle of teens doing crazy things to be accepted by others, here are a few things to try. First it is important to help a child realize their own worth, and the uniqueness they possess. This is best accomplished by finding ways to praise the youth for the positive things they do. Positive experiences may need to be created by spending time with the teen doing something they like. Positive praise can go a long way in helping a teen establish his or her own identity. Another way to assist a teen in breaking the cycle of craving negative peer pressure is to engage them in honest sincere communications. If a teen knows that an adult is really interested in them and what they have to say, they will eventually begin to respect the person that is respecting them. A parent may even want to show a teen where they will end up if they continue down the path they are following. This can be done by showing a teen what the results of drug abuse and smoking can do to their appearance. It may not be a good idea to try to find fault with those the teen is currently looking up to as this might create a barrier for the parent. It is better to discuss the negative activity not the person. Of course this is not easy, but who said parenting would be?