Raising good men is the goal of all parents and educators, but the social pressure boys may face can be an obstacle to achieving this. Peer pressure is when a boy chooses to do something he wouldn’t otherwise do, in order to feel accepted and valued by his friends. As a result, he might wear different clothes, listen to different music, change the way he talks, or even participate in risky behaviour. Though it is human nature to listen and be influenced by others, as parents you have the responsibility to ensure that your son can face these influences appropriately. Here’s how to tackle the social pressure boys face today.
1. Develop strong values
Some of the common peer pressures on teenagers today include drugs and alcohol, stealing, sexual activity, bullying and dangerous behaviour. One of the main things you can do is to help your son to develop good values and principles to live by. Support him in identifying between right and wrong and to be confident in his beliefs, so that when he feels pressured to take part in activities that contradict his views, he can stand up for what is right.
2. Find good friends
A great way to tackle negative social pressure is to surround yourself with friends that positively influence you to do the right thing. When faced with peer pressure, it can help to have at least one other friend who is willing to say ‘no’ too. This removes a lot of the power of peer group pressure and makes it easier to resist. Teach your son the old adage, “Choose your friends wisely.” By encouraging him to develop a wide range of friendships – from sport, hobbies and his other interests – it will provide him with multiple sources of support if a friendship weakens.
3. Talk to him
When teaching your son how to deal with peer pressure, it is important to talk to your son as a friend. When you treat him as someone who is responsible and capable, it helps him to develop his own self-esteem and confidence. Praise him for what he does right and show confidence in your son’s ability to make the right decisions. Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences and challenges too. Tell your son the stories of the social pressures you faced at his age, or even the ones you face now, and how you are able to move forward positively.
4. Put a plan together
Some teens give in to peer pressure because they don’t see a graceful way out. Help your son to create a plan that will help get him out of a bad situation with minimal consequence. If your child feels that he’s in a risky situation, it might help if he can phone you for backup. And when your son does call you, it’s important to focus on his positive choice to ask for help, rather than on the risky situation your child is in. Your teen is more likely to ask for help in the future if he knows he won’t get into trouble.
When it comes to facing social challenges, it really is a collaborative effort between you and your son. Have the right conversations, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, and work together to move forward effectively. To learn more about how Christ Church Grammar School equips boys to live positively, download our Building Good Men Magazine.