When you have teenagers, it is only natural to be concerned about peer pressure. After all, you could be concerned about how the influence from other teens might impact your son or daughter.
You probably already know that peer pressure can negatively impact your teen, but what you might not realize is that peer pressure can sometimes be a good thing. Asking yourself these questions can help you determine if your child is experiencing positive or negative peer pressure.
Then you can make a plan for helping your son or daughter with handling influences from their peers.
Is It Negatively Impacting Your Teen’s Self-Esteem?
Negative peer pressure can have a negative impact on your teen’s self-esteem.
In some cases, children and teens find themselves overly dependent on their peers because they begin to develop an issue with self-confidence. Teasing from others can cause teenagers to feel as if they aren’t as good as their peers.
If your so or daughter is showing signs of having low self-esteem, peer pressure could be partly to blame.
Low self-esteem is a serious issue that can impact your child or teen in a number of ways. Teens who have low self-esteem may be overly self-critical and hard on themselves.
They may be more focused on their own failure than their successes, or they might be too unsure of themselves to make an effort in the first place. They may allow other teens or adults to mistreat them without standing up for themselves, and they might struggle to cope when they make mistakes or fail at something.
Low self-esteem doesn’t just impact young people, either, and those who suffer from it as a child may continue to have self-esteem issues into adulthood. On the other hand, positive peer pressure, which is also called peer influence, can actually help your teen feel better about himself or herself.
For example, if your teen is surrounded by friends who are positive, kind and encouraging, this can actually contribute to your son or daughter having higher self-esteem.
When possible, it is best to encourage your children to make friends who help them enjoy higher self-esteem and better self-confidence.
Has Your Teen’s Performance in School Been Impacted?
Poor performance in school, particularly for those who have always been good students, can be an indication of any number of issues. One of them is negative peer pressure.
If your son or daughter spends time with other peers who don’t take their schoolwork seriously, then this could impact your teen’s feelings about school.
Teenagers who spend time with others who enjoy school and who work hard while in class, on the other hand, can be positively persuaded to put a focus on their schoolwork as well.
Also, be aware that poor performance in school can be related to more than just negative peer pressure. Teenagers who suffer from anxiety might perform poorly in school, for example, or children who have an attention disorder might struggle to focus and concentrate on their schoolwork.
Your son or daughter’s teachers and a medical professional may be able to help you determine the cause and address the issue if your teem is not doing well in school.
Do You Feel Like Your Relationship With Your Teen Has Changed?
It is only natural for your relationship with your teen to change over the years.
As your son or daughter gets older, for example, he or she might become more independent and may not need your help as often. A child who has a healthy social life and plenty of friends might not need your attention as much as he or she once did. All of these things are natural and positive.
However, it is important to maintain a positive, healthy relationship with your teen throughout all of these stages. Unfortunately, negative peer pressure can actually cause your relationship and communication with your teen to be impacted in a negative way.
He or she might become overly dependent on peers, or his or her attitude toward family or other matters might completely change because of peer pressure.
Positive peer influence, on the other hand, can actually help you develop a stronger relationship with your teen. Your son or daughter can develop communication skills that can improve all of his or her relationships, including with you.
These benefits can actually positively impact your son or daughter’s life in many different ways.
Has Your Teen Picked up Bad Habits?
Teenagers can pick up bad habits from many different places. Leading by example and striving to be a good influence is one good way to prevent your son or daughter from picking up bad habits.
Of course, your teens are influenced by many more people than their parents and the other adults in their lives. Influences from peers can also cause children to pick up bad habits.
You may find that this is most noticeable in teenagers. Teenagers can be particularly prone to picking up smoking, drinking or drug habits, particularly if they have friends who use these substances. Younger children can also pick up bad behaviors and habits from their peers, too, so this is something you should begin paying attention to when your child is still small.
Some of the bad habits that children and teenagers pick up from their peers may be relatively innocent and harmless, such as using swear words and making crude jokes when in the company of other teens.
Others can be dangerous. Be aware of how your kids are being influenced and what types of bad habits they might be picking up.
Watch out for dangerous behaviors such as substance use or risky sexual behavior, and talk to your children about the dangers of peer pressure and bad behaviors.
Peer pressure is not always a bad thing; in some cases, it can actually be a positive thing. It is important to keep an eye on how your teens are being impacted by peer pressure.
Then, you can help guide your children in the right direction. For example, you can talk to them about choosing the right friends, and you can help them learn how to handle bad situations and say “no” when necessary.
There are also professional resources that you can make use of if you need help with guiding your teen.
Talk to your teen’s pediatrician or your family doctor if you have concerns about how friends are impacting your son or daughter; you might need a referral to a mental health specialist, who can help them put their friendships and peer interactions into perspective.
Dr. Nalin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Founder and Executive Director of Paradigm Treatment Centers, who has been a respected leader in the field of adolescent mental health for more than 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, his Master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University, his Doctoral degree from Pacific University’s APA approved Clinical Psychology program, and completed his training at the University of California, San Diego’s APA approved psychology internship program.
Dr. Nalin has provided training and mentoring to students entering the field of psychology at institutions of learning including Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, UCSD, Pacific University, and Santa Monica College. He was also instrumental in the development of the treatment component of Los Angeles County’s first Juvenile Drug Court, which now serves as a national model.
Dr. Nalin has appeared as an expert on shows ranging from CBS News and Larry King, to CNN, The Today Show and MTV. He was also featured in an Anti-Drug Campaign for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Dr. Nalin is a Diplomate of the National Institute of Sports Professionals and a Certified Sports Psychologist as well as a Certified Chemical Dependency Intervention Specialist. He lectures and conducts workshops nationally on the issues of teen mental health, substance abuse prevention, and innovative adolescence treatment.
In 2017 Dr. Nalin was awarded The Sigmund Freud Foundation and Sigmund Freud University’s Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his work with youth in the field of mental health over the course of his career.