“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.” – Genesis 2:18-20, NLT
High school is a place where fun memories are made and important life lessons are learned. Unfortunately, it can be also center stage for plenty of ugly dramas. Peer pressure is often a catalyst for typical plots that teenage sons find themselves in.
Peer Pressure: How to Handle It
Peer pressure is essentially what happens when someone feels pressured by others similar to their age or role in life, to do something they wouldn’t normally do, because they don’t want to feel left out of the group. Children don’t really get influenced by peer pressure until they are seven years old – and the older they get after that, the more pressure they will likely deal with. Not all peer pressure is bad. For example, your son’s friends encouraging him to try something new like football if he isn’t athletic would be considered a positive new experience. But other examples, such as your teenager trying out drugs and making out with girls in an attempt to be more “manly” like his friends, is risky behavior that sets him up for more trouble down the road. Fortunately, there are ways you can get involved to help your child resist negative peer pressure influences. Here are some:
- Don’t overreact when your son tells you about the crazy things other kids in school are doing. If you dog him out over every little thing, you will alienate his trust and he won’t feel safe enough to share with you. Recognize that these are the times in the world we are in and that crazy and utterly bizzare things are said and done even in schools today.
- When you talk about peer pressure with your son, get him thinking about what would happen if he went with those decisions. Teenagers love to exercise their independence! If his peers influence the suggestion he would face, is that choice independent? How would those choices impact his future?
- If the school environment your son is negative and gets out of hand, consider private school or homeschool options. Talk about it with your son. You may be surprised to learn that he is silently asking you for them!
Competing for the Spotlight
In today’s Information Age, so many things compete for our attention. In fact, experts say that it’s not uncommon for today’s teenagers to be multitasking with multiple devices at the same time! This constant multitasking, however, is not healthy for our brains. That is why it’s important to make time to pause about something in your mind and completely focus your attention on it, a process called deep thinking. Try this technique for yourself, and have your son do the same. Even better, get your Bibles out for some quality study time together to focus on one Scripture passage and think about it. This process, according to Romans 12, is called renewing your mind, and it’s actually Biblical. Recent evidence shows it’s healthy for our brains, too!
With time, your son can be well practiced in renewing his mind with Scripture and find answers to many problems he faces in life. With the Word of God first place in his mind, dealing with negative peer pressure could be easier for your teenager. Why the heck would he want to try to please his peers when he wants to please God, anyway? It just makes common sense.
Your Son is Not Alone
If you or your son need help that goes beyond peer pressure, consider Christian Boarding Schools for Boys. It is a wonderful place to clear the mind from negative peer pressure, discipline bad habits and establish good ones, and get your child thinking about a bright future. God bless!