Remember the time when you wore those ridiculous clothes that were supposed to be the ‘in-thing’ back in school, even when you knew fully well that it did not suit your frame one bit? Funny the things we do to fit in, even when we know they aren’t meant for us. That is the compelling force of peer pressure.
Often, some of life’s most important and path-changing decisions are taken in the face of adverse peer pressure. Smoking cigarettes is one such trap that is mostly always brought about due to peer pressure.
Every kid feels the need to fit in. If the cool group they aspire to be a part of smokes, they’ll most likely feel pressured to try smoking cigarettes too. The geeks, the jocks, the popular kids, they all wish to fit in and belong somewhere. Smoking cigarettes is one such leveler that attracts kids and makes them feel cool and with-it.
So, how do you prepare your child to resist this peer pressure to smoke cigarettes? How do you prepare your child to resist the gnawing need to fit in? I would recommend the following strategies:
Teach Them To Say “No”!
A good starting point would be to teach them how to say ‘NO’. Two simple letters, but one powerful word, is all it takes to resist this fatal habit.
Think it’s an easy way out? Well imagine yourself to be in the shoes of a young undecided confused hormonal teenager. It is pretty tough to say no when all you want to do is be accepted by your friends and be considered cool.
Start by teaching your kids to stand up for themselves and decide for themselves. Teach them to say NO to things they do not wish to indulge in, no matter how much other people may want them to do it. A good way to do this would be to role-play with your kids. Take on the role of the school bully or the class queen who forces your kid to try smoking cigarettes. Put your child in a position to be able to resist the temptation of giving in to smoking cigarettes. You may even instruct your child how to react to peer pressure with smart and cool responses. ‘No thanks, I don’t want a hole in my lungs.’ Or ‘No thanks, the girl/boy I like would never kiss me if I smelled like an ashtray.’ Such responses are a good way to deflect the topic of smoking and still let your child come off unscathed by mock or disdain.
Make Them Aware Of How Strongly You Feel About Smoking
As important as it is to be popular with friends, you as a parent have a very pivotal role in your child’s life. You are a powerful force and you can make a difference. There may be times when your child turns their back on you and gives more importance to friends. But even so, it is important to recognize that you are a vital part of your child’s life and he or she will ultimately not want to disappoint you. So reiterate that you do not wish to see them smoking cigarettes.
Let Them Know You Love Them
And like they say, love conquers all. Shower your child with all the love and affection, so that he/she knows that at the end of it all, you matter the most and your wishes need to be respected. Also, if your child is trying to resist peer pressure, then the odds are that they will be having a tough time making or keeping friends. They will be going through pangs of fear and loneliness and sadness and it’s at times like these times that a parent’s role becomes most important.
Show them how much you love and care for them and that your love is unconditional and unwavering. It will surely get them through the tough phase of peer pressure.