Children are very easily swayed into doing and saying what they see. That’s true as soon as their old enough to walk. For example, if you push over a pillow on the couch, kids will immediately try to copy you and see how you react. Humans are susceptible to peer pressure at all ages, but as you enter adulthood, it gets easier to feel confident in individual choice and decision making. For teenagers, it’s not that simple. Teens are regularly ranked as the most vulnerable group for peer pressure, and it’s essential to know the signs that your child is undergoing some sort of stress in their friend group or at school.
Change in Actions and Attitude
If your teenager starts to act a bit differently, seemingly out of nowhere, the difference is likely coming from somewhere. They might be acting out because of pressure at school to mimic a certain kid or a group of kids. Likewise, they might be experiencing some sort of bullying, making them want to act out in response to the negative emotions.
Change in Clothing and Attire
A child’s clothing is pretty spot on with how they’re feeling. If they begin to dress differently, look at how they’re covering to decide if there might be an issue. If they start wearing clothes that mimic a disrespect for authority, appeal to violence or aggression, or even reveal a bit too much of their bodies, it’s time to have a talk.
Increased Comparisons to Others
A child is likely going to be viewing others as better than themselves. The pressure of school with all the various outfits, attitudes, and people is going to make a teenager feel like they need to be a certain something. If they start to talk about how they wish they were more like something or someone, take note right away. Someone might be telling them they need to be different.
A child is going to need you, whether they like to admit it or not. If intense peer pressure is occurring, they might be feeling as if they can’t come to you. In this case, your recognition that something is wrong is going to make all the difference. Talk to your child, let them know you care and make sure they know you’re here to talk about anything.