• CREDOS : Parenting — I

Peer pressure is one of those fear-eliciting phrases that send shudders down a parent’s spine. “Sibling rivalry,” “terrible twos,” and “rebellious teens” are in that same category.

Let go of any old associations you have with the “peer pressure” phrase. Banish the picture of some terrible group of kids lurking somewhere out there waiting to lure your child into drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The truth is, and research backs this up, you are more important in shaping your child’s values than any group of peers. Another truth is, peers pressure each other to stay in school, try out for the team, share a book, join the choir, and other positive behaviours.

Shift your thinking to how friends might enhance your child’s ability to make connections, show kindness, stand up to hurtful behaviour, express an opinion, define themselves as individuals, learn forgiveness, and develop healthy boundaries. Friends may try to persuade kids to do things they don’t want to do or know are wrong. As challenging as the pressures may be, they are learning opportunities for kids to put into practice what they know to be right and standing up for those beliefs.

It’s through friends that a child solidifies the ability to make connections with others and when we keep the communication open we become a part of that exploration. It’s critical to instill in children a sense of belonging to their families so they won’t hungrily seek that connection solely through their peers. — Beliefnet.com