When you hear the expression “peer pressure” it tends to bring to mind a teenager, but peer pressure can start as early as preschool. All children want to be accepted by their peers and while this becomes more important during the teenage years, it is important to teach your children some basic life skills that will help them think independently and be able to stand up for themselves when the need arises:
- Encourage your child to make decisions at an early age- reasonable choices in what they would like to eat or wear.
- Teach your child appropriate social behaviors, such as sharing, introducing themselves, listening, and waiting to talk. Also teach them that teasing and bullying others is not acceptable behavior.
- Learn to say no – role play and share your own experiences of when you had to say no.
- Make your child accountable – do not blame their friends or others when they make mistakes. Be an example for them.
- Invite their friends over and get to know them.
Children today face different challenges due to social media, as well as all of the other methods of communication that are readily available. Your child will be well prepared when you practice and positively reinforce the right behaviors.