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Peer Pressure Statistics

You may think peer pressure is blown out of proportion and that your child will be able to say no when they want, unfortunately peer pressure statistics show the exact opposite. In fact, according to a survey taken by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), peer pressure is directly responsible for an increase in risky behavior, i.e. smoking, drinking and engaging in sexual intercourse.

What Can You do about Peer Pressure?

You don't want to ignore the fact that peer pressure is inevitable, you want to build an open and honest line of communication with your child, and this means talking about peer pressure and how to say no. Chances are you won't be there when your child is being pressured by peers, but by talking with them they already know what you'd think about the situation even when you can't say a word.

Parenting tips to help your child combat peer pressure:

  • Set expectations. Let your child know what behaviors and actions aren't tolerated. You have to set limits in order for them to be followed. For example, according to the same CDC survey, by the time children are 14 years old more than one-third of them have engaged in sexual intercourse. As a parent you don't want to give them the opportunity. Maybe they're not allowed to have their boyfriend/girlfriend in their room, or over at the house without adult supervision, etc.
  • Be involved. It's important to show your child that you care. Take part in their school and extracurricular activities. Teenagers who have a good family support system are less likely to succumb to pressure. Also, extracurricular activities forbid drinking and smoking.
  • Talk about it. Discuss what is going on with children the same age as your child. Talk about the pressure of academics, sports, social groups, etc. You also want to discuss the consequences of peer pressure. According to a CDC survey, 66 percent of children under the age of 14 have tried alcohol; therefore you'll want to explain the consequences and dangers of drinking.
  • Get to know their friends. You want to get to know your child's friends and their parents if possible. Make your home inviting for your child and their friends so they feel comfortable hanging out there, instead of someplace else. The Kaiser Foundation reports that 50 percent of teens feel pressured to have sex. However, your child is less likely to engage in those risky behaviors under your watchful eye.
  • Pick your battles. You don't need to nit-pick on every little thing your child does. If you pay attention to the small stuff you might miss the big stuff or worse, your child will stop listening to you. Know when something is important enough to intervene.

Now You Know the Peer Pressure Facts

By now you should have gotten the message that peer pressure is fairly common. Your child will surely encounter a situation where they feel uncomfortable, but if you prepare them with knowledge beforehand they're more likely to uphold the morals you've instilled in them.