Negative peer pressure and risky behaviors is a significant influence in the lives of teens. It may cause children to experiment with alcohol or drugs, skip school, or participate in risky behaviors.
The key to assisting your teen in making the good decisions is to provide ample assistance without becoming overbearing. That means you must not be scared to stand aside and allow your teen to make mistakes.
Natural consequences can sometimes teach essential life lessons. Just be sure to be there for your teen when they mess up. Let’s explore the best solutions together.
What is Peer Pressure?
A young person may experience peer pressure to various degrees. Sometimes, their peers actively influence them toward certain behaviors, while other times, they follow along. Both scenarios seek the approval of peers, but bullying may also play a part. Your child could fear being teased or physically hurt if they refuse to conform.
Who Are My Teen’s Peers?
Your teen’s peers are people they look up to and consider influential. Depending on your teen’s lifestyle, they may belong to multiple peer groups. They usually originate from locations where your teen spends time, such as school or the local neighborhood. If your teen uses the internet, their classmates may include people they meet online through forums and social media.
One important thing to know is that teenagers care a lot about what others think of them, which can affect their choices and behavior. This can sometimes make it harder for them to plan, think logically, solve problems, or control their impulses.
Peer Pressure is Part of Growing Up
As your teen leaves your side and starts seeking independence and identity for themselves, the influence and pressure from others can become increasingly significant in their life. However, if peer pressure seems detrimental to your teen’s life, there may be steps you can take as an adult to support them and ease its negative impacts.
Let’s dig deep into the science behind your teen’s risky behaviors.
Brain Development in Teens and Pre-Teens
Teenage brains are in a state of exploration. It has additional disconnected synapses in the region where risk assessment occurs, interfering with judgment. Furthermore, the prefrontal cortex is immature, which makes teenagers depend more on a brain region known as the amygdala for decision-making and problem-solving than adults. The amygdala is linked to emotions, impulses, aggressive tendencies, and instinctual reactions.
Other changes in the brain throughout adolescence include fast expansions in brain cell connections and the creation of more efficient neural pathways. Nerve cells generate myelin layers to improve cell communication; these changes lead to coordinated cognition, action, and behavior.
Support Teen Brain Growth
Parents are in an excellent position to support the brain development inside teenage brains. Here are some strategies you can employ to make an impactful difference:
- Please communicate with your teen about the ways their brain is developing.
- Encourage an active lifestyle, from hiking to joining book clubs.
- Encourage empathy; discuss your feelings, your teens’, and other people’s.
- Model healthy choices, such as good sleep habits and exercising regularly.
- Motivate your teen to take some healthy risks to build independence.
- Build a balanced home life.
If your adolescent is experiencing severe challenges, don’t hesitate to enlist the assistance of a professional with expertise working with troubled teens.
Staying Involved is Crucial
Parents and others dealing with teens must attempt to determine whether the behavior they witness from teenagers is part of growing up or whether their moodiness and lack of judgment signal an underlying, perhaps pathological problem. Many of them appear to make poor decisions that might have long-term implications. So, stay involved in your teen’s life.
Yes, parental monitoring is essential. Today’s Teenagers face more stress than ever due to drugs, alcohol, films, and TV shows. You don’t have to watch them like hawks, but stay vigilant.
What adults can do to help teens make better behavioral choices
Strengthening your teen’s self-esteem and respect can dramatically impact their decision-making processes. Parents can help by:
- Allowing teens to express their personal opinions (and don’t get defensive when they have a different perspective than yours)
- Involve them in decisions that affect the whole family.
- Listening carefully to their opinions and feelings
- Help your teen set realistic goals.
- Focusing on showing confidence in their ability to reach those goals by showing unconditional love
- Please get to know their favorite people to build strong support bonds between you.
- Offering support when errors occur and maintaining an open, understanding presence for your teenager whenever they seek someone to confide in
Focusing only on poor decisions may seem tempting, but the most effective means of prevention is to start early with open and honest dialogue. Here are a few quick tips for parents looking to support their teens while also giving them space to make decisions on their own:
- Allow your teen to describe the problem or situation in their own words.
- Talk to your teen about making choices.
- Brainstorm together! Sometimes, teens only see one or two solutions to a problem. With our encouragement, they can come up with other creative solutions.
- Review both sides of each issue carefully and compare potential consequences before giving your teen the autonomy to decide for themselves. Once everything is clear, let them carry them out independently.
- Ask how everything went at the end. They may be reluctant to discuss things if things are unplanned. Allow them room and be patient until they come to you.
Help With Teen Peer Pressure and Risky Behaviors
Have you ever found yourself awake late at night only to discover your teenager is missing? Have you ever seen yourself disturbed by their internet history? Unfortunately, risky behavior in teens is all too common, something that might even apply to you at some point during your youth years.
As parents, we understand the stress and anguish of not knowing whether our teenager is safe.
HelpYourTeenNow provides personalized solutions for teens needing assistance, from residential treatments and wilderness programs to individual therapy solutions designed to address behavioral or emotional concerns. Whatever you may be searching for, we can assist in finding a program that best serves your teens’ needs.