Peer Pressure

Whether they have fallen in with the ‘wrong crowd’, or started dressing like a slob, peer pressure may be partly to blame for your teenager’s behaviour. The Supernanny team has some simple ways you can support your child.

Help! My teen has turned into a monster!

Whether they have fallen in with the ‘wrong crowd’, or started dressing like a slob, peer pressure may be partly to blame for your teenager’s behaviour.

Young people learn about everything from relationships to fashion from their peers, and it is a vital part of growing up. However, peer pressure can be harmful when teens are influenced to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do alone.

Children with low self esteem or low academic ability are particularly vulnerable, as are those with a lack of close friendships or family relationships. For many teens, the need to ‘fit in’ can override their self control and help them forget the consequences of their actions. Your child may shut you out and become quiet or argumentative at home. As a parent, you may feel like a failure, but you’re not alone! Talk to other parents and you’ll find most families are dealing with the same issues.

The most important thing to remember is that despite appearances, your teen still needs your love and attention. Research from UK charity Parentline Plus has found that children actually want to hear about issues such as sex, drugs and relationships from their parents. Your teen may not agree with you, but they do want to talk about it!

Parent Tips

  • Talk to your children about issues such as relationships, sex and drugs from an early age and they will be more likely to share their problems with you in their teen years. 
  • Talk to your child about peer pressure and discuss how they would say no in a situation they didn’t feel comfortable with. 
  • Try not to criticise your child’s friends - it will only turn them against you. Instead, get to know them – invite them over for a meal or DVD. 
  • Encourage your child to have a range of interests and friendship groups so they are less vulnerable to one group’s peer pressure. 
  • Make time to talk with your child when you are both relaxed, such as in a café or eating a meal. Driving can also provide a great opportunity for communication. 
  • Listen to what they have to say and respect their opinion – don’t judge them or find opportunities to nag and lecture. You won’t score points with your good debating skills!

Finally, try not to blame yourself. Some conflict is inevitable in the teenage years, and asserting independence from parents is a natural part of growing up.

Related links

  • Surviving the Teenage Years: During their teenage phase your children will tell you one thing and act in another way. So how can parents survive the teenage years with their relationships and sanity intact.
  • Teenage Drug Abuse: a mother's story: When Sylvia from Newcastle discovered that her two eldest sons were using drugs, she blamed herself...
  • Teenagers and Alcohol: It's the 'socially acceptable' drug... but what do you do when your child starts drinking to excess? How can you talk to them about alcohol without shutting them out or losing their trust?
  • Video Diary: Communication is the key to understanding older children's behaviour. As seen on Supernanny, a Video Diary could help get you and your child talking again...
  • How to tell if your child is being bullied: There's nothing worse for a parent than worrying that your child is being bullied. Bullying Online has this guide on how to tell if your child is being bullied.
  • Stop Your Child Being Bullied: When your worst fears are confirmed, there are plenty of ways you can help to stop the bullying. Bulling Online has this guide for parents.

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