Peer Pressure: 7 Times it MIGHT Help Your Child!
Peer pressure usually has a negative meaning. Sex. Alcohol. Drugs. Ooooh that spells S.A.D. Yes, Peer pressure is often sad! (Am I the only one chuckling to myself?)
The point of this blog is that peer pressure is not always sad or bad!
As our kids grow up, there are things that they just don’t want to do. They dig their heels in and say no!
We call it a “phase” and boldly declare things like: “It’s not like she’s going to college in diapers!” And then we frequently let our kids set their own schedule to achieve goals.
I know this post will not sit well with many parents, but I write it as an option for other parents to consider. One of the most common things I hear is… but she is only 3. She will outgrow it. Unless she doesn’t.
I agree that many things will sort themselves out, but sometimes a gentle nudge by someone, other than parents, may be beneficial. I have seen it happen many times.
7 possible times peer pressure may help your child
1. Thumb sucking habit
Being around friends who do not suck their thumbs is a positive influence on your child. These kids are often not gentle about discussing the thumb sucking habit, and this can infuriate parents who want to wait for their child to decide to stop. However, many children stop sucking their thumbs to play with new friends. That’s not a bad thing.
There are millions of adult thumb suckers! I did not know this until a few years ago when a beautiful, intelligent surgical nurse was talking about her daughter who wouldn’t stop sucking her thumb. She then floored me by saying, “But I can’t help her because I still suck my thumb.”
I couldn’t help it, but there was a deafening judgmental silence.
She continued on: I know it’s wrong and it’s embarrassing. But I have trained myself to only do it when I’m alone. Not around husband, kids. No one. It’s my dark secret. I will excuse myself to go to the bathroom! All day at work I think about it. I even do it at stop lights on the way home. It is my addiction, and it calms me and reduces my stress. I just don’t want this for my daughter.
This is a great article and book for parents with a child struggling to stop thumb sucking. Do not assume it will go away.
2. Roller coaster fear
My children initially had no desire to ride roller coasters, but over time, it became a true fear. Every now and then, they would get brave, ask to ride…and then have a melt down and need to be taken off.
Fast forward to middle school when all your friends are riding roller coasters on school field trips and parties. Who wants to be THAT kid always left out, watching from the sidelines? Not my daughter. She suddenly had a surge of bravery and jumped on the most ridiculously daring roller coaster she could find. Then, calmly came home and announced: I like roller coasters now.
Thanks, peer pressure.
Truthfully, I like this better than thumb sucking because it is easier to take away. I did not say easy, but easier.
My daughters were never thumbsuckers, but they loved a nice pacifier! One was easily weaned, but the other one could not give it up. At home, if the pacifier was not in her mouth or hand, there was a melt down. At one point, I think there were extras in every room, purse, and car. Excessive, but those of you who have experienced toddler meltdowns, you know what I am saying.
But, daycare came to my rescue! No toddler at school used a pacifier, so neither did my child. Well, not at school anyway. We had to work on weaning at home later!
Every day, I witness children who only whine, grunt and point with limited speech when they are at home. As a parent, you understand the gestures, but there are precious few attempts at articulating words.
In play groups, if a child rudely snatches a toy from another child, many kids will develop speech and snatch it back shouting “MINE”. Nice? No. Effective. Maybe.
A child who takes great naps is a blessing to parents; however, when it comes time to get kids on a schedule, they often resist.
Kids in daycares and with sitters often conform to new sleeping routines easier than they do when mom suggests it. Truth.
5. Potty training
Once again, at home, potty training might be a nightmare. However, in day care and play groups, you may often hear great reports about the progress you have not seen.
Wet pants and accidents at home do not put the same pressure on a child as it does when the accident happens in front of peers.
6. Scary Movies
My girls would not watch scary movies. There was even some anxiety at seeing Voldemort in Harry Potter.
But as soon as they were at sleepover parties, they were all… Weee! We love horror movies. What?
7. My food is touching!
Yes, there are plenty of adults who do not like food touching. But if you think about it, there is an additional stress in worrying about where food sits on your plate for the rest of your life.
At home, parents choose what to work on. We often encourage, back off, push, demand, or wait. Most kids will uneventfully pass through these phases. But I have seen the kids who don’t. As they get older, the simple “phase” becomes a problem.
Sometimes, an outside force teaches things we cannot. So, if you are having trouble with a habit or fear, look forward to group settings where other kids may, rudely, help your child see another option.
In future social interactions, your child may receive help getting to the next phase. Just remember, peer pressure is not always bad!