By Rahma Uneeb
Parents play a vital role in helping their children deal with peer pressure. If you are a parent, it is essential for you to take the following steps:
1. Help your child develop self-confidence. Always value their opinion and encourage them to make their own decisions and judgments. This way, they will easily stand up to peer-pressure and are less likely to be swayed by their moral values.
2. Listen to your child. Often children find it difficult to express their problems to their loved ones. If you listen more and lecture less, children are likely to open up more to you. Thus, if there is some peer pressure that they are facing, you can identify it and address the problem.
3. Boost your child’s self esteem. Encourage them, when they are doing something good. Make them feel special and reward them, when they have achieved something. Also, encourage them to polish their skills and excel in a field. That way, they will feel much better about themselves.
4. Teach your child how to say “NO.”. Sometimes, the shortest response is the easiest. Help your child role play a situation in which he says “no, thanks” pleasantly but firmly. You could ask them: “Will you help me cheat in the paper?” And then further emphasize by pressurizing: “You’re so weird. Everybody does it.” Replying to such questions efficiently will help the children, when they face similar situations.
5. Create awareness. An invitation to a place that will have no adult supervision, or hanging around students who smoke can lead to ‘sticky’ situations. Such phrases as “we won’t get into any trouble” or “everybody else is doing it” are misleading, and children must be made aware of the dangers they could lead to. They should also be warned against the numerous dangers that they may become victims to, if they give in to peer pressure.
6. Get to know your child’s friends. Don’t start spying on your children like agents but invite your child’s friends and observe the way they treat your child or the way he/she reacts in front of them. Also, get to know about the backgrounds of the different families your child’s friends come from.
7. Look for better educational institution. Before choosing a school for your child, always ensure whether your child will be able to deal with the peer pressure there; if not, select a different school. If you notice your child is feeling insecure in the school environment, do offer to change the school.
Today, peer pressure is spreading like a growing cancer; if teenagers and parents won’t take positive steps towards eliminating it’s effects, the cancer will soon lead to the death of their moral character and ability to choose. The reward for resisting peer pressure is enormous – Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Verily! (During the worldly life) those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed. And whenever they passed by them, used to wink one to another (in mockery); and when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; and when they saw them, they said: Verily! These have indeed gone astray! “But they (disbelievers, sinners) had not been sent as watchers over them (the believers). But this Day (the Day of Resurrection) those who believe will laugh at the disbelievers.” (Al-Mutaffifin29-34)