If you have a child about to enter middle school or high school, they are about to face something they may never have had to face before—peer pressure.
Consider this. In a recent survey, 37 percent of teens said that within the last 30 days, they had ridden in a car driven by someone who was drinking or using drugs. 66 percent said they are currently sexually active. And 27 percent of admitted they had thought about suicide during the last 12 months.
Dennis Rainey, the president of Family Life, points out that very few teenagers have the courage to resist peer pressure. They simply don't want to stand out.
The desire for acceptance and approval from their peers is so intense that many teenagers end up compromising their values and following the crowd.
Dennis offers a few suggestions for helping your kids to make the right choices when they are under the gun.
First, help prepare your kids for the choices they will face. Unfortunately many parents make the mistake of allowing kids to make their own choices without helping them develop their convictions beforehand.
As your kids approach the teen years, discuss how their friends will try to influence them in areas such as: cursing, lying to parents, watching R-rated movies, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, sneaking out of the house at night, looking at internet pornography, and sexual purity.
Discuss how to respond in each situation. For example, set up a role-play situation, in which they are challenged to spend an afternoon stealing from stores at the mall. How should they respond? What should they say?
Dennis also says we should challenge our kids to be leaders rather than followers. Encourage them to make their own choices and to influence others for Christ.
Dennis says he is convinced that we don't challenge our teens today with a high enough standard. He believes they are capable of much more than we give them credit for.
I’ll have more of Dennis’ thoughts on coping with peer pressure tomorrow.I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.