In a previous Know! tip, the Effect of Peer Presence, we discussed the fact that the mere presence of peers can lead a young person to take risks he or she wouldn’t normally take on their own, and that the main culprit is the adolescent brain and its underdeveloped self-control center. In addition to parental supervision and extra caution when allowing your tween/teen to gather with friends, experts say we can help our children curb those impulsive tendencies by encouraging greater self-control.
It is normal and healthy for adolescents to seek increased independence as they grow and develop. It is also normal for parents to have a hard time letting go. Naturally, we worry about our children’s health and safety and quite frankly, their ability to make good decisions. However, in order for our children to become mature, responsible, self-disciplined young people, we must loosen the reigns and allow them to make some decisions on their own, mistakes and all.
We all know the heavy influence peer pressure can have on a tween/teen, especially when it comes to risk-taking behaviors like drinking, smoking and using other drugs. But are you aware of the impact the mere presence of peers can have on an adolescent’s decision-making, without any coercing or encouragement at all?
In a previous tip, Know! Your Child’s Risk for Sexting, we talked about the prevalence of teen sexting, the problems it can cause and the importance of making this topic a priority in your conversations with your pre-teens and teens. In this tip, we provide parents with ideas on taking those conversations beyond, “You better never…”
As any parent or caregiver raising teenagers knows, smartphones play a leading role in their daily lives. While social media, apps and messaging provide a fun and highly accessible path to connect and share with friends, such outlets also allow youth to connect with those they should not be connecting with and share things they should not be sharing. We’re talking SEXTING - defined as sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos via cell phone or other electronic devices.