Helping your Kids Build the Right Kind of Friendships With the Right Kinds of Kids

When discussing peer pressure with your kids it is helpful to to teach them how to avoid being in sticky situations as much as possible (because they definitely will get involved in some anyway.)

As a parent, you may not realize how much influence you can have on your child’s choice of friends to reduce any potential negative peer pressure.

Friendships are very important to the normal development of your children. This is where they learn to make decisions, to lead or follow, to become considerate and loyal and how to recover from mistakes.

So how is this done?

De-emphasize popularity – many parents unwittingly push kids to make friends. They get upset if their child is not invited to every birthday party. They might be devastated whenever their child is rejected by the “in” crowd. When you push for popularity your child gets the message that something is wrong with them.

If you emphasize being part of a clique your child may become a follower who goes along blindly with the crowd. Encourage quality over quantity. The number of friends your children has is less important than if they have one or two good friends.

If your child is left out or picked on by their peers help them recognize it is not necessarily their fault. Instead, reassure them it is normal, though painful, to be “in” one week and “out” the next. I am sure you all have memories from your own days in school when you felt out of the loop or remember someone who was your friend one day and not the next. It helps to relate these stories to your kids.

It is important to know that while it might be painful to you to see your child “snubbed” by their peers your child might just be more resilient than you give them credit for. Kids are fickle and peer groups change on a regular basis. If your child does not give in to the pressure one or a group of peers tries to give them, this is something to praise and feel good about.

Part 2 continues here…