How many times have you had a talk with your child about peer pressure and social dynamics? Think for yourself, you say. Don’t allow others’ actions and pressure to interfere with what you know to be correct, you implore. But at the same time, are you giving in to peer pressure in your social group? Peer pressure isn’t just for kids!
Have you ever started watching a new show because your friends tell you it’s great or you just want to be able to talk about it during playgroup? Do you find yourself thinking about your apparel based on what will fit in to your mom’s group? Have you ever quieted your opinion so as not to upset someone in your social circle?
Guess what? You’re dealing with peer pressure — from other grown-ups. And before you can most effectively counsel your kids on dealing with influence from other peers, you need to get a handle on it in your own life.
Not just for kids
Peer influence and peer pressure is not just for kids. Grownups must navigate this social dynamic, too, though they don’t always admit it. Oh, you call it getting input or support, but call it what it is: The influence of your peers. If “You should totally get a back tattoo!” or “Streaky highlights are so 2006!” have influenced your decision making, peer influence has played a role in your life.
Good AND bad
Naw, you say, not me. I’d watch that show anyway! I already knew that the highlights weren’t a good idea, and I’d always wanted that tattoo! But, really now, call a spade a spade. How much are you thinking for yourself and how much is your peer group’s influence playing into your choices? Be honest!
Peer pressure — and peer influence — can have both positive and negative effects. It can help you make good choices and not so good choices. And it’s ever-present in all our lives.
Walk the walk
Before you sit down with your child again and talk about the influence of his or her friends on day to day life, make sure you are walking the walk your are talking to your child. When you recognize the role peer influence plays in your own life you can better present examples of the kind of independent thinking you’d like to see in your child — and the pitfalls of falling in and following what the group does. Make sure you really are making your own decisions before you counsel your child to do the same.
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