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Peer Pressure Facts

The fact is your child will experience peer pressure at least once in their lifetime. Kids and teens are constantly pressuring one another to do the "cool" thing and align with a popular or specific belief. As a parent you have the resources to help your child combat peer pressure and stand up for what they believe is the right thing. If you’re prepared with knowledge and patience, then it’s just about knowing the way to best support your child. Start with the peer pressure facts below, and you’ll be armed with information to help you help your children.

Symptoms of Peer Pressure – The Facts

The fact is parents are the number one influence on their teens. Although you may feel as if your child is never listening to what you say and is constantly following in the footsteps of their friends, you have the power to influence their decisions, whether you're there or not. Peer pressure affects children, adolescents and teens, so it's important to start talking to your kids at an early age. When a child or teen gives into peer pressure they are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Lower self-esteem - When a person does something that is inconsistent with their personal values and morals (even due to giving in to peer pressure) they're bound to feel guilty about it. Children may feel as if they let you or themselves down and in turn feel bad about it.
  • Emotional Damage - Constantly giving into something to make others happy can result in a loss of sense of self. Some kids no longer know what makes them happy, only how to please others. This can also reduce a child's belief in their ability to make the right decisions, therefore they constantly rely on others to make choices for them.
  • Early Abuse - Peer pressure can result in drug abuse, smoking, drinking and sexual behavior. When children or teens hear from peers that everyone is "doing it," they are likely to try it so they feel accepted and part of the group. Teens long to fit in and they tend to engage in behaviors if they feel threatened by the fact that they might lose a friend and/or their social status if they say no.
  • Loss of self-control - Children and teens who give into peer pressure are likely going to experience a loss of their individuality. Their favorite movies, clothes, music, etc. can now be determined by someone else instead of their own individual taste.

Positive Peer Pressure is a Factor

Before you ban your child from stepping foot outside the house, it's important to understand that not all peer pressure is harmful and neither are all group settings. Positive peer pressure does exist in many in social situations, such as when athletes help each other with schoolwork and convince one another to stay away from drugs and alcohol in order to stay on the team and remain a valuable player. Your child is capable of making their own decisions and standing up for what they believe is right, as long as you're there to give them support and guidance.