By David Joel Miller.
Why do we tell kids to resist peer pressure?
People who are really good at resisting peer pressure end up in places like jail, prison, and mental hospitals. They become rapists, murderers and people no one wants to be around. So why do we keep talking about teaching kids to resist peer pressure?
Humans are social animals. We look around and see what other people are doing and we copy them. That’s what we are supposed to do. That’s how society and cultures hold together. We hope kids will get a job and work and raise a family just like everyone else. That is what peers are doing. So why do we keep telling them to resist peer pressure?
We should be telling kids to give in to peers, that’s what we all know they will do sooner or later.
There is an oft-repeated saying – “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” It is truer than we realize. Rather than spending our time, or should I say wasting it, on teaching kids to resist peer pressure, we should be encouraging them to pick good peers. Hang out with the winners and you become a winner – spend all your time with the losers and you – well you get the idea.
If you hang out in a barbershop you will get a haircut. If you hang out in a crack house you will smoke crack and if you spend time in a bar you will drink. So why are we surprised when kids hand out with “stoners” and get stoned? And why at that point do we go on a crash course in trying to teach them to resist peer pressure?
Waiting till your teen is a stoner to talk about peers is like heading out across Death Valley, on foot, without water and then complaining about your thrust. You just now thought of that?
So what should a parent do? Start young. Know you children’s friends. Spend time with them and with their parents when possible. Encourage your child to do positive things. Think you’re too busy for that? Well, you probably won’t be too busy for their court date or worse.
Anything a parent can do to encourage their kid to be involved in something positive is like an immunization against problems later on.
This isn’t just true for our children. It is something we should be practicing ourselves.
What are your thoughts on peers, peer pressure and the impact it has had on you and yours?
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog, there is also a Facebook authors page, in its infancy, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the books, trainings and classes category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. Thanks to all who read this blog.