|Children, especially during adolescence, begin to spend a lot more time with their friends, and less time with their family. This makes them more susceptible to the influences of their peers. It is important to remember that teenage friends can have a positive influence on your children, you should therefore help them find friends that have similar interests and views as those you are trying to develop in your children, including doing well in school, having respect for others and avoiding drug use, smoking and drinking, etc.
During adolescence, children practice risk taking behaviors as they are trying to find their own identity and become more independent. This makes them very vulnerable to experimenting or becoming addicted to using drugs and drinking, especially if there is peer pressure to do so. Children who use drugs are also more likely to practice unprotected sex at an earlier age, have low self esteem, behavior problems, school performance problems, and depression.
It is very important to communicate with your child to help minimize their being susceptible to negative influences and prevent them from picking up bad habits. Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly are at much less risk for experimenting with cigarettes, drinking and drugs. Teach them how to avoid situations where drug use, drinking, or smoking are present and to minimize negative influences by choosing friends who also choose not to use these substances. You have a lot more positive influence over your children's choices, even when you are not physically around, then you think.
Other ways to minimize the influences of negative peer influences is to help her to have high self esteem, confidence, a sense of self worth, and to feel needed and loved by her friends and family.
A lot of the peer pressure that your adolescent children will be exposed to and be influenced by relates to external things, such as clothing and hair styles, taste in music, etc. It is not always important to insist that your child conform to your own ways of thinking, especially when it relates to these less important issues. If your children are doing well in school, are not using drugs, drinking, or smoking and you are not having serious behavior problems, then it may be worthwhile to ignore some of these less important issues as your child tries to find her own identity. Creating power struggles over these issues are unlikely to change their attitudes and will likely create more problems.
There are other negative influences on your children, including the Interent, television, movies, video games, books, etc. You should monitor very closely what your adolescents are exposed to, to minimize the negative influences these things may have on them.
You should talk with your child if you think she is being negatively influenced by her peers to drink, smoke or experiment with drug use. Or you can set up an appointment with a medical professional with experience in dealing with adolescents with this problem. This professional can be your Pediatrician, a psychologist, counselor or someone else that your child can build a relationship with to talk about her problems.
Adolescent Peer Pressure reading list (in association with amazon.com):
- Coping With Peer Pressure
- How to Say No and Keep Your Friends : Peer Pressure Reversal for Teens and Preteens
- Life Happens : A Teenager's Guide to Friends, Failure, Sexuality, Love, Rejection, Addiction, Peer Pressure, Families, Loss, Depression, Change, and other challenges of living
- Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul : Journal (Chicken Soup for the Soul Series)
- Teen Love: On Relationships, A Book for Teenagers
- Chicken Soup for the Teen Soul III : More Stories of Life, Love and Learning (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
- Taste Berries for Teens : Inspirational Short Stories and Encouragement on Life, Love, Friendship and Tough Issues