How to teach your kid to deal with social pressure in school?
If you have children, you would do everything you can to protect and care for them. You want to help them through any troubles they have and you can do that. One of the main issues children go through, especially when they start reaching middle school and high school, is social pressure in school. They need you, as their parent, to help them navigate these pressures, even if they don’t directly ask you for the help. You can learn about the common social pressures children face and how to handle those. Doing so will put you in a better position to help your kids.
Pressure to use alcohol and drugs
Unfortunately, alcohol abuse is becoming more and more common for kids as early as late elementary school years. Many middle schoolers are active drug and alcohol users and have already developed an addiction. Your kids might be pressured in school, by their friends and others kids in the school, to use alcohol and drugs. If you want to help them deal with this pressure, there are some things you can do such as:
- Teach them the many ways they can say “no”
- Help them build their own self-confidence
- Teach them the dangers of alcohol and drugs
- Let them know the legal ramifications of using alcohol and drugs
- Talk about how alcohol and drugs will affect their life now and in the future
These are some of the ways you can help your kids handle the pressure to use alcohol and drugs. If they have already fallen into this pressure, let them know you understand. Let them know you will help them get the treatment they need.
Pressure to participate in sexual activity
There are also many children these days that are participating in sexual activity very early on in their life. A ReCAPP study shows that 41% of teens in high school have had sexual intercourse. There are many teenage pregnancies as well. If you want to help your children deal with the pressure to have sexual activity there are some things you can do such as:
- Teach them the dangers of unprotected sexual activity
- Talk to them about safe sex
- Teach them about unwanted touch or “bad” touch
- Talk to them about pregnancy and what that “really” means
- Teach them that they have a right to wait until they are ready to have sex
This may all take some time and it certainly isn’t a one-time conversation. Let your kids know they can come to you whenever they want to talk about these things. The more comfortable they are with talking to you, the more comfortable they will be turning down pressures to participate in sexual activity before they are ready.
Pressure to be popular
Many children these days feel they have to be one of the popular kids. Years ago, this used to be a pressure that was only a major concern in high schools. However, now, it is even becoming a concern in middle and elementary schools as well. Some kids feel they won’t have any friends if they aren’t popular. If you want to help your children to deal with this type of pressure you can help them by:
- Teaching them what it means to be a “true” friend
- Tell them personal stories you had from the “popular” kids when you were in school
- Let them know popularity isn’t as important as having friends you can trust
- Explain they can hang with any kids and not feel pressured to ignore people others might not like
- Tell them the dangers of being mean to certain kids just because they aren’t popular – depression or even suicide might be topics to discuss
- Let your children know that having the most friends don’t make you a good person – it is your character that does
Being popular isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is a matter of making sure your children understand that being popular doesn’t define who they are. Also, make sure they understand that being popular doesn’t mean you can put down other people either.
Pressurer to be skinny
Another one of the social pressures many kids fall into is being skinny. Unfortunately, not being “skinny enough” has even caused some children, teenagers specifically, to commit suicide. If you want to help your children to better deal with this type of social pressure some of the things you could do or say are:
- Let them know about genetics and weight – genetics do play a factor in whether someone is on the skinnier side (that doesn’t make them better or worse people)
- Talk to them about not judging someone based on their weight
- Let them know you understand the pressure and are there if they need to talk
- Be sure they understand the terrible consequences it can have on someone’s self-image if they pressure someone else to lose weight
- Talk to them about healthy weight, weight loss, nutrition, and exercise – not the fad diets people do to lose weight quickly
- Help them believe in their inner beauty and help them understand beauty isn’t only skin deep
This can be a very difficult pressure for many children, for both boys and girls. Help your child to work through this pressure of being skinny. If they want to lose weight, talk to them about healthy ways to do that.
If you have children, you can’t keep them from all the pressures in this world, no matter how badly you want to do so. However, you can help them to better deal with the social pressures they might experience in school. Your children might experience the pressure to use alcohol or drugs. They might experience the pressure to participate in sexual activity, to be popular, or to be skinny. No matter what pressures they might have put on them, help them learn how to respond in healthy ways. Let your children know you are there for them and they don’t have to give into any of these pressures.
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.