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Teen Peer Pressure

One thing all tweens and teens have in common is the fact that they will have to face teen peer pressure at some point during their developmental years. Whether they realize it or not, teenagers experience social pressures almost constantly. As a parent, you should be aware of the types of peer pressure your teen will face as teens in order to prepare her to do what's right.

Types of Teen Peer Pressure

As you're probably aware, there isn't just one way to pressure kids into doing something. Helping your teen understand the different types of peer pressure is one way to help her stand strong against it. Below is a list of different types of teen peer pressure:

  • Direct peer pressure - This type of pressure is in a teenager’s face and can seem unrelenting. For example, "All of us are going to skip history class today, come with us or else you'll be the only who isn't there." Direct teen peer pressure makes kids feel guilty about whatever decision she decides to go with. This type of pressure involves direct confrontation, and it's hard for teens to come up with an excuse on the spot that others find valid. You and your teen can come up with a variety of excuses beforehand to counteract peer-pressure requests. "I've already missed too many days, so I can't, but I'll meet up with you after school." "I'm on a sports team, and I'll get kicked off for skipping class."
  • Indirect peer pressure - Indirect peer pressure can be just as convincing as direct peer pressure. Think about it, what was the last big trend that everyone had to have? Did you run out and buy it? If you did, you gave in to indirect peer pressure. When your tween or teen wants to wear a certain clothing brand, she's longing to fit in with her peers. This type of pressure can also account for kids drinking, smoking cigarettes, and having sexual intercourse. If your teenager's friends are drinking on the weekends, she may feel like she's missing out on something. Additionally, if your teen's friends always talk about how they're having sex with a boyfriend/girlfriend, your child might want to have sex just to be able to talk about it with them. To fight indirect teen peer pressure, explain to your child the consequences of smoking, drinking, having sex, etc. and provide her with alternative choices. You can also get teens involved in sports and extracurricular activities to keep them busy and focused on other things.
  • Positive peer pressure - Yes, positive peer pressure does exist. Maybe your child decided to join a sports or youth activity because all of her friends did. Additionally, if your tween or teen is involved with a school sponsored activity, it probably prohibits smoking and drinking, and teammates often convince each other to stay away from parties and other such events that promote these types of activities.

The most important thing you can do to help your child deal with teen peer pressure is to be there for her and shower her with your support. Be the shoulder your tween or teen can cry on and the person she can tell anything to. If you build a solid communication path with teenagers early on, then they're more likely to ask your advice on a particular situation or activity before they participate in it.