haru, My friends daughter came home upset today, she didnt like her home anymore. She loved how her friends had so much freedom , while she felt constrained and restricted by her parents. She wanted a more independent life and to be able to make her own decisions - something that felt impossible in the environment she was growing up in.

The other day Sharu was upset becuase her friends had new phone while she was stuck using her parents old one. She wanted to be able to have the same privileges as them, but felt like her parents weren't understanding.

My friend has been upset about it too, and has been trying to find a way to give Sharu more freedom without sacrificing her safety.

Is it easy for kids to be influenced by others

Yes, children are often easily influenced by others, especially their peers. As they grow and develop, they are constantly learning from their environment, including the people around them. Children may imitate the behavior, attitudes, and beliefs of their friends, classmates, or even media figures they admire.

Peer pressure is also a common phenomenon among children and teenagers. They may feel pressured to conform to the norms of their peer group in order to fit in or avoid being ostracized. This can include engaging in risky behavior, like experimenting with drugs or alcohol, or participating in other activities that may be harmful.

However, it's important to note that not all influence is negative. Children can also be positively influenced by their peers, family members, and other role models in their lives. Positive influences can include encouraging healthy habits, like exercise or healthy eating, promoting academic achievement, or inspiring creativity and individuality.

But young kids do not know the difference between positive and negative influence and don't have the same filters and judgement to choose what is right or wrong. Parents should take a proactive role in teaching their children how to identify positive influences, while avoiding negative ones.

Are children suseptible to social influence

Children are highly susceptible to social influence, especially from their peers and significant adults in their lives. As social beings, children rely on social interaction to develop their sense of identity, form relationships, and learn about the world around them. This social interaction can include both positive and negative influences.

Children are more likely to conform to the behavior and attitudes of their peers and social environment because they want to be accepted and belong to their social group. This can result in children adopting the beliefs and values of their social group, even if they may not agree with them or if they conflict with their personal values.

For example, a child who is raised to value honesty may feel pressure to conform to the behavior of their peer group, who may engage in cheating or other dishonest behavior. The child may feel conflicted between their personal values and the desire to fit in with their social group, which can lead to stress and anxiety.

Children can be influenced easily due to a variety of factors, including:

  1. Desire for acceptance: Children often want to fit in with their peers and be accepted by their social group. They may conform to the norms and values of their peer group in order to be liked and avoid being rejected.
  2. Lack of experience: Children are still learning about the world around them and may not have the life experience to make independent decisions. They may look to their peers or other adults for guidance on how to behave or make decisions.
  3. Developmental stage: Children's brains are still developing, and they may not have the cognitive skills to fully understand the consequences of their actions or to think critically about information they receive.
  4. Media exposure: Children are exposed to a wide range of media, including television, movies, and social media, which can shape their attitudes and beliefs. They may imitate behaviors or attitudes they see portrayed in the media.
  5. Parental influence: Parents are also a significant influence on their children. Children may adopt their parents' values and attitudes, or rebel against them and seek out alternative influences.

How can parents raise kids who do not get influenced easily

Its important that kids understand the difference between negative and positive influences. Parents should take the time to discuss positive and negative influences with their children and help them develop the skills to make independent decisions based on their own judgement.

Raising children who are less likely to be influenced by negative peer pressure or other external influences requires parents to be intentional and consistent in their parenting approach. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Develop a strong parent-child relationship: Building a strong relationship with your child is the foundation of effective parenting. This includes spending quality time with them, actively listening to their concerns, and showing empathy and understanding.
  2. Model healthy decision-making: Parents are the primary role models for their children, and they learn by watching your behavior. Be consistent in modeling healthy decision-making skills, such as setting goals, problem-solving, and weighing the pros and cons of a decision.
  3. Foster independence and self-esteem: Provide opportunities for your child to make decisions and solve problems on their own. This will help them develop confidence and self-esteem, which can make them less susceptible to peer pressure.
  4. Establish clear values and expectations: Help your child understand your family values and expectations, and communicate these clearly and consistently. This will provide a framework for making decisions and help your child stay true to their own beliefs.
  5. Teach conflict resolution: Teach your child to communicate effectively, listen actively, and resolve conflicts in a peaceful and respectful way. This will help them deal with peer pressure and other challenges they may face in their relationships.
  6. Teach assertiveness: Help your child to develop assertiveness skills, including how to say no and how to stand up for themselves in a respectful way. Encourage them to express their opinions and to be true to themselves.

Here are some practices parents can adopt to raise kids with strong identities

Encourage self-expression:

  • Encouraging your child to explore different creative outlets, such as music, art, dance, or writing.
  • Letting your child choose their own clothing or hairstyle that reflects their personal style.
  • Allowing your child to express their emotions in a safe and healthy way, such as journaling or talking with a trusted adult.

Foster independence:

  • Letting your child make choices about their own schedule, such as what activities to participate in or how to spend their free time.
  • Encouraging your child to take on age-appropriate responsibilities, such as helping with household chores or managing their own homework schedule.
  • Letting your child make mistakes and learn from them, rather than always intervening to prevent failure.

Promote positive self-talk:

  • Encouraging your child to speak positively about themselves and their abilities, such as "I can do this!" or "I'm good at this!"
  • Helping your child reframe negative thoughts, such as "I can't do this" to "I haven't learned how to do this yet."
  • Pointing out your child's strengths and accomplishments, and encouraging them to focus on these positive attributes.

Provide positive feedback:

  • Praising your child for their efforts and accomplishments, such as "Great job on that project!" or "I'm proud of you for trying your best."
  • Providing specific feedback that helps your child understand what they did well and how they can improve, such as "You did a great job explaining your ideas in that presentation, but maybe next time you could speak a bit louder."

Emphasize personal values:

  • Encouraging your child to think about what values are important to them, such as honesty, kindness, or fairness.
  • Helping your child understand how their actions align with their values, such as "How does telling the truth fit with your value of honesty?"
  • Encouraging your child to stand up for what they believe in, even if it's not the popular opinion.

Expose them to diverse perspectives:

  • Reading books or watching movies that feature characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Participating in cultural events or festivals in your community.
  • Encouraging your child to ask questions and learn more about people who are different from them, and modeling respect and empathy in your interactions with others.

By having a strong sense of self-worth and a clear set of personal values, kids with strong identities may be more confident in their decisions and less likely to conform to peer pressure or negative influences.

However, it's important to remember that every child is unique and may react differently to different situations. While some children may have a stronger sense of self and be less influenced by others, others may need more guidance and support from parents to help them navigate social pressures and stay true to themselves. Ultimately, it's important for parents to stay involved in their children's lives, encourage open communication, and provide guidance and support as needed to help their children develop strong identities and make positive choices.

Mar 2, 2023
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