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10 Things To Talk To Your Teenager About Regarding Peer Pressure

Adolescence, which is the transition period between childhood and adulthood, can be a difficult time for parents to influence their teen to make logical decisions. It's common that influence and guidance are affected by your adolescent's peer networks rather than parental values - which makes teenagers unreceptive to hearing advice from their parents.

Some types of peer pressure can actually be beneficial; depending on your teen's social groups, it can influence friendships, positive examples, feedback and advice, socializing, encouragement, and new experiences. However, with searching for their identity and independence, it can be disquieting hoping they don't fall into the wrong crowd.

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10 Conformity

Many teenagers go through a phase of discovering their own self-identity. Through this impressionable time, the values they have been raised with may become a bit blurred. Conformity is a type of social influence that can shape beliefs or behaviors in order to be accepted into a group. Teenagers who are more susceptible to conformity within the "wrong crowd" are those who may have a socio-affective sensitivity throughout their pre, present, and post-adolescence.

Teaching your child how to resist peer pressure can be tough, but it helps to have open conversations without making your teen feel like you want to take over. Adolescence is an important time for your child to develop self-reliance; therefore encouraging them to listen to their gut, having a buddy that has their back, or a plan to get out of uncomfortable situations can be ways to promote confidence in their own assertive abilities.

9 Drugs and Alcohol

Underage drinkers (ages 12 through 20) consume 90% of their alcohol through binge drinking. Based on data from 2006-2010, the CDC estimates on average 4,358 of young people under the age of 21 die as a result of alcohol poisoning. The CDC also warns that alcohol consumption impairs judgment and interferes with normal brain function when introduced too young. Teenagers who drink alcohol before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or other types of drugs.

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It can be tough for your teen to 'just say no' when it comes to this type of peer pressure. However, having a bail-out code phrase they can use to call home when they feel pressured to drink but don't want to admit it to their peers can be an easier solution to leaving the situation.

8 Risky Behaviour

Teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as dangerous driving, drug use, binge-drinking, and risky sexual activity since peer relationships and peer influence play a vital role in their decision-makingStudies show that teens prefer socio-affective support from their peers rather than cognitive support (parents or adults) when faced by distress.

Therefore, if they will inevitably choose their peers as their immediate support group, it can be helpful to talk to them about creating their own form of positive peer pressure. Teaching them awareness about their own ability to influence others by their behavior can promote confidence to make sound judgment when others are following their lead.

7 Sex

Having a conversation with your teen about the 'Birds and the Bees' can be uncomfortable for both of you. However, Guttmacher Institute states nearly 72 out of a 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 become pregnant each year. Compared to the general population, teenagers have a higher rate of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or illness, experience dating violence, and inflict or encountering sexual coercion.

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Intimate relationships become a major focus in a teen's development of becoming a young adult. Although abstinence is the only true form of safe sex. it's important to talk to them calmly and honestly about sex. It should be a two-way conversation, allowing your teen a chance to feel heard, and ask questions without hesitancy.

6 Direct Peer Pressure

Direct peer pressure is much more difficult for a teenager to resist since it consists of their peer directly asking or telling them what to do. Teenagers who are socio-affectively sensitive, so those who follow rather than lead, are the ones most likely to succumb to negative direct peer pressure.

Teenagers fear being ridiculed by their peers, therefore the ones who want to lead, feel as if they have something to prove and become more likely to bully and instill direct peer pressure. However, more than 57% of bullying situations decrease when peers intervene on the sake of the bullied, thus proving the significance of the direct 'just say no' approach.

5 Indirect Peer Pressure

Indirect peer pressure is associated with conformity in adolescence. What a teen might hear, say, or do indirectly affects their peers to what is acceptable or expected to do to remain in a social circle. Indirect peer pressure can derive from the need to be included, which is why teenagers are more likely to follow trends, fads, or expectations placed on certain 'images' or social status'.

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Although indirect pressure seems less disparaging than the physical direct approach, harmful indirect peer pressure can be destructive upon self-esteem, confidence, or logistical decision making. Reminding your teen often that they are loved for who they are can be a powerful tool in helping them resist negative indirect peer pressure.

4 Delinquency

Research shows that delinquent behavior in teenagers emerges from both biological and environmental inputs.  Yet according to the Juvenile Crime- Juvenile Justice report on The National Academies Press, although delinquent behavior typically begins to rise during preadolescence or early adolescences, and then peaks in late adolescences, the criminological influence or "grip" begins to descend in early adulthood. However, it's estimated that nearly 60,000 youth under the age of 18 are incarcerated in juvenile jails or prisons.

Antisocial behavior, associated with delinquency in children and adolescents,  can be decreased through family management with authoritative parenting practices, effective communication, and supportive problem solving with your teen.

3 Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can present direct and indirect forms of peer pressure. The danger of cyberbullying is that it can take place by whatever means of technology your teen has access to, therefore is a type of pressure that makes it feel impossible to escape. Social media, where cyberbullying commonly takes place, is a staple of adolescents' community and influence. Since cyberbullying is intended to target, harass, embarrass, and intimidate - this negative type of peer pressure can result in lifelong consequences.

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Setting consistent yet fair boundaries on your teen's use of technology is important but could be a bit difficult to actively practice. However, encouraging your teen to partake in extracurricular activities, hobbies, or positive interactive gatherings with their close friends can be helpful when you are trying to limit time on their phone.

2 Toxic Masculinity and Feminity

Gendered behavior is a set of ideas based on gender socialization and expression of how one is supposed to dress, act, and behave based on their gender identity. Toxic masculinity refers to a coercive description of what it is 'to be a man', that is defined by violence, sex, status, and aggression. Toxic Feminity displays certain 'feminine traits' such as passivity, sensuality, and receptivity to please others (particularly men) at the detriment of their own well-being.

Of course, all parents should encourage their teen to be respectful, polite, and helpful. However, it can be a powerful tool when you remind your teen how incredible they are when they are themselves, and not to follow behaviors just because their peers think it's okay.

1 Body-Image

Through the abundance of changes on a teenager's physical, emotional, and mental growth - their perception of their body now includes aesthetics and sexual attractiveness since they are gradually maturing into adulthood. In fact, body-image is so important to adolescents that 36% of adolescent females are unhappy about their weight and 59% are trying to lose weight.

Even though as parents, we see our children as beautiful just as they are: it is our jobs to remind them that beauty isn't just what is on the outside. Self-compassion plays a major role in developing healthy self-esteem, therefore emphasizing often what your teen's strengths are and what they are doing right can help foster healthier perceptions of themselves.

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