Peer Pressure Affects Everyone
Going back to school means facing peer pressure. Peer pressure sucks in more ways than you might think. However, trying to fit in is a good thing for your kids if they are in a group of kids with healthy goals. But, when there’s a negative pressure to fit in, your kid might make some really bad decisions.
You have to be the one to help your kids think for themselves, and not just follow the crowd. You are the one that influences your kid’s choices and how they make their choices, so helping them learn to think about the consequences of those choices is up to you.
Age and Peer Pressure
Age doesn’t influence your kid’s need to fit in, although I think the pre-teen years are the worst for girls. Sadly, kid’s interests change from one day to the next. Their priorities can change as quickly too. What doesn’t change is that they all want friends. At some point, they start basing choices on their friends, not their family. That’s when it can get scary for us parents.
It’s hard enough to send our non-typical kids off to school knowing there’s the pressure of sex, drugs, and humiliation. However, and I’ve lived this through my own autistic daughter, our special needs kids can often be influenced by kids who seem to be friending them, but have intentions of just hurting them. Hate crimes and bullying are huge issues for our kids now days. Teachers can’t save the kids anymore! I’ve made it a point to get involved at school for my daughter’s sake. I can’t go all the time, but if I go, it gives me something to talk to her about and some information that I can ask about to get her talking.
I know I’m lucky in that Nove actually talks. Many kids with autism don’t speak, or can’t. But, if I don’t have a reference to her school day, she won’t tell me much. So I go. I get involved.
Solid Support Made Out Of Love
Last year we experienced something no parent wants to go through. It took a small amount of coaxing because it was a scary situation, but my daughter knew I would support her no matter what had just happened. Everything in our life is a learning situation. They are often hard lessons, like that one was, but when your kiddo knows that you will support them, it’s easier for them to stand up for themselves.
There was a discussion on a group asking how much influence parents give their kids about making their own life choices. I’m a firm believer in giving my girls the tools to make smart and informed choices on their own. I encourage them to be honest about what they believe in and stand firm in it. And, I also want them to know that they can change their mind later if they start to feel differently about something.
If your kids have some self confidence and know how to make their own choices, they can resist peer pressure better. No one is impervious to it, but the more your child feels good about herself, the easier it is to stand up to others.
We Can’t Protect Them Always
You won’t always be able to make the world a perfect place for your child. But, you can help your child live in an imperfect world by giving your child the tools to become a stronger, more self-assured person. If your child feels comfortable in his or her own skin, has a strong support system, and knows what he or she wants and believes, it will be easier for them to stay on the right path.
Yes, this is true, even for our special needs kids.