Growing up can be a transitional period for many students; an exciting time where they begin to form their own sense of individuality and expression as a person. With all these changes happening at once, it’s important to talk to your child about how they are feeling about life at school, as well as their interactions with other students. Here are Tutor Doctor’s tips for helping your child to manage peer pressure and peer influence.
Let them know they can tell you anything. Your child may feel embarrassed to talk about what they are going through. In some cases, they may be hesitant to open up in fear of the response or any repercussions. Encourage them to be completely honest with you, and make sure to remain calm and neutral. If your child is dealing with something serious, it’s always better to approach the issue with compassion and understanding. Parents will often ask their kids after the fact why they didn’t reach out to them and receive the classic reply, “I didn’t want to get into trouble.” Let your kids know they can talk to you about anything, and that everything discussed will be respected and kept in a safe environment.
Remind them that nothing is permanent. It’s no surprise that our years in school are filled with exposure to current trends, social groups, in-demand fashion, popular entertainment – you name it! This is just part of growing up, and it’s important to remind your kids that these things are only temporary. Fads and cliques will eventually fade away, but the skills they take away from their education will continue to benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Praise them for being strong. Just because everyone else is doing something, it doesn’t mean it’s right for them. Praise your child for being strong and unique, and encourage them to make their own choices and decisions based on their own judgments. Most importantly, remind them to never do anything they are pressured into or uncomfortable with doing.
Listen to serious concerns, and take action if needed. If your child is faced with a situation that can cause them harm (either physically, emotionally, or legally), it’s time to step in. Although you may feel guilty for violating your child’s trust, there are certain issues that they can’t be expected to deal with alone. If your child shares any highly concerning information with you about themselves or anyone else, take the proper steps and reach out through the appropriate channels. As we always say, it’s better to err on the side of safety.
Be aware of any warning signs. As understanding as we try to be, sometimes our kids simply won’t share what’s going on. In many cases, they may not know themselves. If you notice any alarming warning signs (behavioral issues, lack of energy, personality changes), there may be deep factors at play and it’s best to reach out to their school and doctor.