2007-11-08 / News

Help your child manage peer pressure

At some point in nearly every child's school years, he or she will face anxiety about "fitting in" or being "popular."

Parents and guardians need to remember they are the first line of defense for children susceptible to developing a negative self-image as a result of school-related social situations.

According to the experts at The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, there are many things parents can do to help kids manage peer pressure.

To help children of all ages develop as individuals, maintain a positive outlook and successfully socialize at school, parents should praise their children for their accomplishments and nurture special talents and interests.

In addition, parents can stay involved with their children by encouraging family discussions.

And what you talk about with your kids and their friends is important, stress therapists and child development experts.

Talk to your children about drinking, drugs and other behaviors that are harmful. This will allow open communication and help you better understand your children's opinions.

Talk to your children about some of the concerns or pressures they may be experiencing at school or in other social settings.

Help your children prioritize items that are important. Setting achievement goals will help keep your children focused.

Use television shows and movies to start discussions with your children about appropriate and inappropriate ways of responding to negative classmates and peer pressure.

Invite your children's friends to your home to find out who they are and learn more about the type of social group to which your children belong.

Quickly address any concerns your children bring to you to ensure they do not develop into longterm problems. Consider your children's point-of-view when resolving image issues.

Despite active participation in your children's lives, you may find that you may be unable to help your children solve image-related problems on your own. If you feel one of your children is having a difficult time with peer pressure, consider contacting a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). Meeting with a mental health professional, such as a MFT, can help families and children resolve image-related issues.

For more information about how to select a family therapist if you decide to turn to one, visit www.camft.org online and click "How To Choose A Therapist" in the Web site's menu.

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