the pre-teen and teen years, children are extremely susceptible to peer
pressure. 'Fitting in' becomes the ruling philosophy of life at this stage.
Sometimes such peer pressure can force the child to do or try to be a
person contrary to her own nature as well as the values she believes in.
One of the
many responsibilities of parents is to help their children stand up to
peer pressure: -
- Pay attention
- Know when your child is under tension because of peer pressure.
- Play out
scenarios of hypothetical situations to see how your child would react
to situations - what if all your friends are going to this all night
party where you know there will be drugs and drinks?
- Help the
child think of ways to gracefully avoid a situation which he is uncomfortable
about. Suggest some responses to pressures/ questions about smoking
or drinking etc.
reevaluate your family's rules to see if the child's maturity and behaviour
warrant loosening them. The less stringent the home environment, the
greater the ability to say no to peer pressure.
on building up the child's self-confidence
and sense of responsibility through praise, encouragement and other
casually with your children how sometimes the short-term gratification
of a desire can damage long term goals e.g. by taking drugs or speeding.
Discuss news happenings like the Nanda BMW case or the killing of Jessica
Lal or any other happening with a view to exploring the broader issues
leading upto each tragedy.
make it clear to the child that you will bail her out of dangerous or
uncomfortable situations without lecturing or punishing endlessly.
your child's status in the peer group. Is he always the follower or
the leader? Often those who are always followers, end up getting bullied
- Make a
game of analyzing media messages with your children. Take the impact
out of glamorous ads on smoking or drinking or other undesirable activities
by providing your own numerous comments or punch lines designed to show
the other side of the message.
- Ask the
child specifically about their days not just how much they have studied
- Make sure
that at least one meal is taken together and that the lines of
communications are open.
- Set a
STRESS & YOUR TEEN
Stress has made in-roads into the teen years. The problems of coping
with exams, the need to score high enough marks to say ahead of the
large and competitive pack, the confusions of a changing body and emotional
highs and lows all contribute to stress. The lives of today's teenagers
are complicated also because of changing social values, which often
conflict with parental dictums. There are also the pressures of fitting
in and looking good. The beauty pageants (both Miss and Mr. India) set
up unrealistic expectations in the minds of a child and there is no
way that his body will completely match those expectations.
How can a
parent make a difference? Well firstly understand that fears and worries
are an essential part of growing up. The child does not at this stage
have sufficient experience to put his fears in perspective. You will have
to do that using yourself and others as real life examples.
There are some effective stress busters that you can teach your children:
your children to stand up to peer pressure.
- Be their
friend and non-judgmental confidante. This will help to lower the stress
levels by providing a caring support structure.
thinking - a child who only sees the worst in everything is more likely
to suffer from stress related problems like depression or insomnia.
- teach your children to believe in something or somebody - not to rescue
them but to give them strength in moments of crises.
memories - there are essential stress busters. A child without a storehouse
of happy memories is vulnerable to stress.
exercise - it raises the endorphin levels in the brain making the child
feel happier. It is also great for raising poor self-esteem related
to poor body image.
and analytical thinking - a child, who cannot break up a problem into
its more manageable components, is more likely to feel overwhelmed and
unable to cope.
a child to work and earn a little pocket money.
your child's Self-confidence
- Help the
child develop a hobby.
him techniques of simple meditation. Or simply ask him to breath deeply
whenever he is feeling stressed.
All the above
are long term measures. In addition if you feel your child is getting
stressed out try these instant remedies.
- Go for
a walk with her.
to happy music together.
- Tell jokes
or laugher of any kind.
- Go on
a surprise trip a picnic.
- Talk it
- Take a
break and work together or clean up the room.