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Peer Pressure

As friendships grow ever more important to ten year olds, you may begin to find that they are more and more influenced by what their peer groups thinks.

While of course it's perfectly natural for your child to grow more independent and have their own thoughts and views on things, it's important to ensure that your child isn't succumbing to peer pressure and behaving in a certain way simply to fit in; even if they know that you would find their behaviour unacceptable.

How should you deal with it?

If you're concerned about the influence of others on your child, it's a good idea to sit down and talk it through in a relaxed non-combative way.

Some ten year olds are ‘easily led' and this may be down to a lack of self-confidence. For example, they may feel that if they don't act/behave in a certain way then they will be shunned by their existing group of friends. The idea of losing their friends may be a far more scary a proposition than any form of punishment for any undesirable behaviour. As such, you'll need to approach the subject with sensitivity.

Ideally, rather than talking in general terms, highlight a specific situation that has occurred, talk to them about the behaviour they have displayed and ask them why they chose to behave in that way. It might be helpful to highlight how and why that behaviour was unacceptable. For example, you could talk about how that behaviour might have hurt someone else's feelings or may have been dangerous etc. Talk to your child about how they might cope if they were put in a similar situation in the future.

If you think that your child is worried about moving away from a particular group of friends but would actually like to, then talk about how they might make new friends. Are there other children at their school who they do get on with and would like to be closer to? Perhaps you could suggest that they invite those children over after school to help them cement the friendship?

Peer pressure can be tricky to handle but it's really important to ensure that your child is able to handle themselves and make good decisions amongst their peers. It will grow increasingly important as they grow up and face ever more complex choices in the coming years.

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