Some kids are very independent and think for themselves and aren’t afraid to express themselves when they want to voice their opinions. Others are much more concerned with being popular or just fitting into a certain social group. The latter have difficulty with peer pressure.
A good relationship with your child is the best insurance against peer pressure. Here are some helpful hints:
Talking about sex is definitely sensitive. They’ve probably had a class in school that gives them basic facts. It’s important that they know they can discuss protective sex. Discussing it doesn’t encourage them to engage in sexual practices; it just makes them more knowledgeable which leads to self-assurance.
Talking about drugs is another difficult subject. Learning the information the teen already had is the first step so they don’t think you view them as being ignorant. Yet at the same time, you want to research different drugs together to learn about the side-effects of frequent exposure. Marijuana is a touchy subject because although it’s accepted in some states for medicinal and recreation usage, each teen react differently and the composite of the drug can vary widely.
Another sensitive topic is interpersonal relationships. When to feel comfortable about staying in groups rather than dating is an important discussion. Lots of teens aren’t prepared for commitments to relationships and like to view their peers more as friends and companions. But those who feel they are in the middle of a crush, may find it rewarding to develop loyal relations. A close companion is an asset for many kids who find it hard to just go it alone. It also teaches them the beginnings of trust, loyalty, sharing confidences and giving mutual support.
Teens Mature at Different Rates
A chronological age and a developmental age are two different things. At any single age, there are wide variations in kids’ social maturity and interpersonal skills. Some kids need tips on how to begin conversations, relax and be themselves and have a good sense of humor. A good sense of humor about oneself is particularly helpful when kids call each other pet names and make fun of each other. It’s hard not to feel hurt and take these comments personally but those who can have a more secure self-esteem.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Study and Research, among others.
She has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, The Inner World of the Mother, Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine, Long Island Parent.
She also wrote her popular column, PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE, at Moms Magazine and has been a parenting expert for numerous publications such as Good Housekeeping.. She currently writes for Active Family Magazine (San Francisco) and blogs for Huffington Post.
Her new book is Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior.
Visit Dr. Laurie’s website: http://lauriehollmanphd.com/