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Peer pressure is an ongoing struggle for teenagers. Teens deal with pressure from kids at school, teammates on sports teams, and even other children around the neighborhood. Negative pressure can set your child out on the wrong path. As a parent, it's critical you know how to spot the signs that often indicate a child is struggling with peer pressure. Learn what you should look for.
Acting Out of Character
You know better than anyone else what is considered normal behavior and what is not when it comes to your child. When you see your child is not acting the way that he or she usually did, this is a warning sign.
For example, if you start to notice frequent calls from the child's school about behavioral concerns and your child never had these types of calls in the past, their change in behavior means that something is amiss. A child might also no longer want to engage in activities that they once enjoyed.
Comparing Themselves to Others
Peer pressure has a way of making you feel like you have to fit in with everyone else. Children that succumb to the pressure often do so in order to feel accepted. However, peer pressure is an ongoing cycle in that you have to keep engaging in the activity to feel accepted.
Pay attention when your child is continuously comparing themselves to other children or expresses that they feel different from other teenagers, as these are both red flags. A child may also want to change their hair or clothing or want to perform some other change that will alter their physical appearance.
Seems Sad Often
Peer pressure is not fun. Often time, the teenager is engaging in activities that they don't necessarily want to but are doing so only because everyone else is encouraging them to do so. Teens are no different from adults in that they don't find joy in engaging in activities that they don't want to be a part of.
Monitor your child's behavior to see if they seem sad more often. If their feelings of sadness are paired with a change in their overall behavior, peer pressure could be to blame. Even if it's not peer pressure causing these changes, there is something wrong that you should get to the bottom of.
Don't ignore any of the warning signs. As a parent, it's your duty to protect your child. Contact a counseling center like Lifeline for assistance. A counselor can sit down with you and your child to help you identify and work through these problems together.