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Monday Mom challenge: Don’t give in to peer pressure

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.

>> Learn how to make good decisions

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.

Not all peer influence is bad, both in your life and your child’s life, but you must recognize to be able to address it most effectively. And in understanding the role peer pressure plays in your life — and hopefully learning how not to give in to it quite so much — you can better help your child manage peer pressure in his or her life.

More on peer pressure

Helping teens combat peer pressure
10 Ways to help kids really say no and buck peer pressure
Parents are the perfect antidote to peer pressure

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