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Moms Talk Q&A: How Does Peer Pressure Affect Children and Parents?

And how do you approach the subject with your kids?

We live in a culture that places value in fitting in. Most kids like to feel accepted by their peers, but the same is true for parents as well. What kinds of peer pressure do your kids experience and how do you talk to them about it? And do you feel peer pressure as a parent to have your kids participate in specific activities or act a certain way?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please jump in and share your stories in the comments box below. Our Moms Council members will offer their wisdom too.

And if you missed last week's Moms Talk Q&A, we talked about .

Jennifer Armstrong April 07, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Resisting peer pressure (for our kids - or for parents!) involves well-developed social courage. Knowing who we are, knowing that the opinion of others doesn't alter the reality of who we are, is hugely important. On the Lion's Whiskers blog www.lionswhiskers.com we talk about six types of courage - physical, emotional, social, moral, intellectual and spiritual. Parents who make excuses for their child "he's usually not like this!" or "stand up straight, dear!" in front of other people tell our children that the opinion of other people may have more weight than whether our child is tired or hungry or needs our attention. For our kids to resist peer pressure we have to model it in our own behavior.
TP April 08, 2011 at 01:53 PM
As I'm thinking about how to respond I'm trying to find a way to draw a line between peer pressure (for me as a parent) from my direct peers and the pressure I feel from society as a larger whole. Every parent should be pressured to be a good one. However, the conflicting messages of what "Good" parents do make it more important for us to set our standards and stand firm. Standing firm and teaching our children to follow suit is the best example we can set that will help them deal with their own peer pressure. My husband and I have set standards for how we will live, and we explain those choices to our kids so they can make similar decisions of their own. For example, I have never forced my children to limit their activities, but I have pointed out what options they won't have if they over do it. I do not limit what they can spend their birthday money or lawn mowing money on. But if they blow it all on a new video game, they won't be able to buy the next great invention because the Bank of Mom doesn't play that. Mainly, when they make decisions, I push them to make them for the right reasons - THEIR reasons - instead of someone else's. If that decision is that they want to play a sport they don't like because their friends are playing it, then it's a lesson they will have to learn and results they will have to live with. They may make it once, but probably not twice. Ta-Da. They just learned a lesson....hopefully & will be stronger next time.
Becky Slatin April 08, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Peer pressure is everywhere no matter how old you are. I love the messages Victoria shares with her children. I’ve tried to teach my own child to treat others with an open heart and appreciate our differences. All we can do as parents is set a good example for our children. It’s OK to let them know that even as an adult you some times feel like you’re wearing the wrong clothes, don’t have the latest and greatest ‘toys’ and everyone has moments of feeling left out. Being happy with who you are and doing the right thing will always help you have the confidence you may need in tough times.

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