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The social circle at school in which the tween dwells consists of friends, classmates, and schoolmates who are considered peers. Tweens years are the age when they make friends and have fun with them, confide in them, and get influenced by them. These peers who mostly come as friends can influence the tweens into peer pressure.
Peer pressure is a way of tempting a child into doing things that they would not do otherwise just to be a part of a social group and be valued by it.
Why are tweens easily influenced by peer pressure?
Here are the reasons why tweens get easily peer pressured:
Several physical and mental changes occur when coming across adolescence. Hence tweens find it easier to create friendships with kids of their age who may also go through the same changes as them.
To fit in and make friends, tweens find it easier to behave the same ways as their friends
Types of peer pressure
There are negative and positive ways peer pressure can affect tweens
Positive: This can make tweens do things that may benefit them such as exercising, eating healthy, participating in competitions, and adapting healthy hobbies.
Negative: this can make tweens pick bad habits such as underage drinking, smoking, and other illegal activities.
How can parents deal with their tween peer pressure?
Below are some ways parents can help with peer pressure and it can also be considered part of good parenting.
Ask a specific question about the day:
Parents can start with open-ended questions such as “what did you do in your break time? “, “what was the best part of the day?” and more. This makes the kid feel their parents are open to communication and they can rely on them. Be careful not to sound interrogative.
Parents can help tweens build self-confidence as tweens with low self-esteem and self-opinion are often given in to peer pressure easily. Parents should tell them about the times when they underwent peer pressure and how they overcame it.
Set some rules:
setting boundaries makes the kids realise what is acceptable and what is not. What time they should be home and for how long they can stay out can be one of them.
Encourage interactions with a wider circle of friends:
Encourage kids to make friends outside of their school such as neighbours, local parks, and from their hobby classes. This will allow them to experience several peer pressures.
Kids do not stay under the influence of peer pressure as they age. Parents can not choose friends for them as there is much to experience on their own. However, if the situation seems to be going out of hand then a professional like a therapist can be of great help.
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Do read my previous article in these series of : “Parenting TweenS”