How to Help Your Teen Deal with Peer Pressure

Parents have a huge role to play in shaping their teens' relationships

Girl being teased by other girls
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The social pressures of middle school and high school have pushed many a teenager to alter their behavior or even their personality, just to try to fit in. Teens can get caught up in this cycle of peer acceptance and unacceptable behaviors, and it's hard for parents to know how to nip this behavior in the bud, before it grows into something more serious.

Helping Your Teen with Survive Peer Pressure

Parents can focus on helping teens to be more self-confident, because this will help them resist the pressure to be accepted by those who would lead them down the wrong path.

While they're not foolproof, and may require some creative adaptation on the fly, here are some tips to help teens handle peer pressure.

Help Build Your Teen's Confidence

Find your teen's niche. There are so many different activities, sports and hobbies that you can encourage your teen to participate in. Explore as many options as you can (but be careful not to push too hard) until your teen finds something they like. When they do, they will naturally be drawn to other friends with similar interests.

Talk About the "Popular" Crowd

Encourage your teenager not to belong to 'the popular' crowd. Many times teens that belong to this crowd become overly stressed. They become so involved with what others want from them that they never explore what genuine friendship is all about. This is a tricky conversation to have, but relaying a true story from your own teenage years can help make your case more convincing.

Keep Discipline Consistent

Don't get caught up in the discipline battles. If your teen and their friends do something wrong, even if it is a serious issue, you will need to apply consistent discipline. Teenagers learn by making choices, so they often learn a lot more from their mistakes at this stage of their lives.

If your teen gets into trouble with a friend, they will be deterred from future trouble if you take away the privilege away of seeing that friend. Then, let them see that friend again, to see what they've learned from the previous situation. If you bar them from seeing that friend forever the first time there's a problem, there will be nothing for them to learn from. And it may have the unintended consequence of making the friend seem all that more appealing to a rebellious teen, since mom and dad don't approve.

Of course, repeated trouble with the same friend or friends requires tough action. But initially, try to give your teen the benefit of the doubt that they'll learn from their mistakes.

Don't Nit-Pick Your Teen's Social Life

Yes, going out with friends is a privilege, and one that should be taken away at times when your teenager does not live up to his responsibilities at home and at school. But parents need to remember that learning social skills can only happen in a social setting.

It is very important that they learn these skills before they head off on their own. Therefore, try different forms of discipline instead of always taking social events away.

Allow Your Teen to Be True to Him or Herself

Try not to make your teen feel bad about who they are. If they are left out of a certain group that you would like to see them be involved in, remember that it may be their choice not to be involved with that group, and it is their choice to make. Allow them to be true to who they are. Give them constructive choices, show them what they can become involved in and then let them make those choices.

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