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Pressure-Proofing Your Kids

Your young child experiences social pressure every time he or she is with people! Social pressure can be exerted or manifested in a number of ways, including:

  • Verbal pressure from adults who criticize or challenge.
  • Physical pressure from bullies or siblings.
  • Expectation pressure from teachers or parents.
  • Social-judgment pressure from peer groups or adults.
  • Self-pressure.

Your child may be more susceptible to negative social pressure if he or she is consumed by:

  • Personal insecurities.
  • Fears of peer-group rejection.
  • Personal status.
  • The need for excitement.
  • The need to be noticed.
  • Personal independence.
  • The need for an identity.
  • The need for approval.
  • Success at any cost.

You can help insulate your child from the negative affects of social pressure by following these five steps:

  1. Identify risk factors. Keep your eyes and ears open and discover the types of social pressures that easily influence your child.
  2. Be protective. Find ways to lessen the amount of time your child is left unsupervised around sources of negative social pressure.
  3. Be a teacher. Empower your child with the skills to help him or her deal with stressful and pressure-packed situations.
  4. Monitor and plan. Make sure your child can have his or her needs (acceptance, excitement, etc.) met, including maximizing time spent with positive social influences.
  5. Communicate. Talk with your child to keep your relationship strong.
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