When you are caught in the moment and trying to decide between right or wrong, peer pressure can be daunting and challenging to stand up against. As teens get older, they begin to make new friends, change schools and join new clubs. Teens have more complex and larger friend groups than they did as children consisting of people from different cliques that often change.
There are positives to peer groups and friendship circles but it is also possible for your teen to fall in with the wrong crowd or be subject to peer pressure. Pressure can come from anyone, including your teen’s closest friends—but this does not make the pressure any better or more acceptable.
Signs your teen is under peer pressure:
- Abandonment of regular activities
- Poor attendance and grades
- Withdrawal from family
- Change in behavior, dress, schedule
It can be difficult to cope with a teen experiencing peer pressure. There are ways to help support them, however.
How to help a teen cope with peer pressure:
- Be supportive
- Boost their confidence and self-esteem
- Encourage diverse and positive relationships
- Teach your teen how to resist negative behaviors
- Teach your teen exit strategies to pressured situations
If you are a teen
If you’re a teen experiencing peer pressure, talk to a parent, teacher or someone you trust. It is up to you to decide if you want to make the change happen. Instead of having a drink with the rest of the crowd at a party (because you’re not into the whole drinking thing), offer to drive people home at the end of the night. That way you and your friends stay safe.
If you are a parent
If you are a parent and believe your teen is being peer pressured, talk to them about it and be supportive. Let your teen know the door is open if they want to talk or need any advice on how to handle a sticky situation. Involving teachers, coaches and other parents may be necessary depending on the severity of the case.
Featured image Jake Stimpson