Peer pressure is a powerful force in the lives of our tweens and teens, and once they enter adolescence, it’s likely your kids’ friends will have more influence on them that you will. Parents can take a proactive approach to help kids resist negative influences around them. One of the best ways to do that is to keep family lines of communication open from an early age. Follow these tips to involve your kids in conversations that count:
Talk to your children about right and wrong
When parents don’t set moral standards, children are left to navigate a challenging peer culture without direction. Begin speaking to your children about right and wrong even before they enter school and help them understand how to make good choices. These early lessons will provide a strong foundation when they face ethical dilemmas as teens.
Encourage your kids to cultivate their talents
A child who is involved in fulfilling activities is less likely to be tempted by rebellious pursuits. Let them dabble in the things that interest them when they are young – baseball, ballet lessons, nature walks, arts and crafts. Teach them to express themselves by using their talents in music, arts, or sports as they grow older.
Talk to your kids about their friends and get to know them
Often the first sign that teens are on the wrong path is that they start hanging out with a crowd that uses drugs or alcohol. Get to know your kids’ friends. Make your home a gathering place so you can spot potential problems and steer them away from these harmful associations.
Tell your children that you care, and be there when they want to talk
If kids are assured of your love and support, they are more likely to come to you when they have a problem. Build self-confidence by letting them know what they are doing right. Let them know what you expect of them, but don’t shun them if they make a mistake. Some teens may have to seek help at a and they will need their family’s support, says professionals from a Utah drug rehab center. Going to a rehab center is not something that is easy for the child or parent, but if it is needed, offering support is essential.
Set the right example for your kids
Actions speak louder than words, especially in parenting. Set a good example for your children. If you take drugs or drink heavily at home, your children may be less equipped to resist those influences from their peers. Parents should model strength, confidence, positive thinking and similar attributes that will show children how to face challenges in the future.
Whether your children are toddlers or teens, keep the conversation going so they have the tools and knowledge they need to successfully handle negative peer pressure.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She enjoys writing about home and family, finance and much more. This article was written with information from Ascend Recovery.