Dealing with Peer Pressure And Other Problems of Teens & Pre-Teens

By: Ed Harmon

As school dropouts, unwanted pregnancies, substance abuse, and teen suicide escalate to alarming levels; the need to enable young people to make choices that lead to healthy, productive lives has become increasingly urgent.
A major cause of destructive behavior is low authentic self-esteem. When young people reject themselves, they are more likely to give in to peer pressure in order to feel wanted and to belong. They are more likely to abuse alcohol, drugs, or food in an attempt to relieve the feelings of guilt and unworthiness that self-rejection produces. Low self-esteem also creates strong needs to control, to be right and make others wrong in order to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. Severe feelings of self-rejection, in some cases, may even result, tragically, in suicide.
When young people think they have no choices, they feel helpless and victimized, unable to experience their worth and importance. The need to compensate for these feelings often occurs and may result in strong antisocial behaviors. These behaviors will diminish, and largely disappear, when young people realize that they are in charge of their actions, feelings, and future. As caring adults, we can assist young people by helping them form the habit of exploring choices and consequences.
If we are to assist our young people, our most important natural resource, in having successful experiences in school and in their personal lives, we must provide them with the knowledge and experiences which will foster and develop authentic self-esteem.
That is exactly what the book, “Taking Charge of My Life” will do for teens and pre-teens. These ideas on how and why people act the way that they do are presented in cartoon form, so that teens and pre-teens can easily grasp the ideas while enjoying the process. The problems addressed in the cartoons were based on a survey of young people regarding issues, problems, and things for which they want guidance.
Just as for adults, the starting point in building self-esteem for young people is to understand clearly that “I am my own authority, and in complete charge of my own life.” Such thinking is opposite to the way most of us were programmed, starting early in life.
Teens and pre-teens seem to get the message quickly from the cartoon presentations in the book. One group of students who experienced the program was asked two questions, “What was the most important thing you learned?” and has this program been of help to you?” Check their responses in the following chart..

Teen Responses
I am loved and a worthy person It has helped me overcome many physical and mental barriers which I don't think I could have accomplished alone
It taught me to like myself
To make my own choices I came more in touch with different areas in my life and learned how to deal with them
How to feel good about myself
I always have a choice. It helped me get motivated The most important thing for me was that I am not my actions and I can learn from my mistakes
You are who you are and not what other people think of you
It has helped me to know who I am and what I need to do I find that I have more self-esteem and am more comfortable with myself now that I realize I can't control other people.
That you have a choice, but you have to take the consequences
It has totally changed my perspective

To the extent that a young person has authentic self-esteem, based on total and unconditional self-acceptance, that person is immune to pressure from others to do something that is contrary to that person’s own sound values.
From our experience, the best way for parents, teachers, and other caring adults to exert a positive influence on young people is to “know thyself”, in other words, bring your own awareness into alignment with reality. Discover how and why you operate as you do. Examine your beliefs to find out which ones are limiting and distorted, and get rid of them. Replace them with the realities of human behavior. Listen to your own inner dialogue, your self talk, and replace that which stems from limiting beliefs with self talk based on reality. Then you will have valuable knowledge to share with the young people in your life.
Many adults study the book Taking Charge of My Life together with their young person, reading and discussing one chapter at a time, and doing the short exercise at the end of each chapter. This book offers tools for eliminating the causes of destructive behavior and for helping young people deal effectively with the many pressures they face today.

Article Directory:

| More

Is your teen properly equipped to handle the pressures of everyday life. A seemingly insurmountable barrage of challenges are lined up against them. Dr. Ed Harmon an Marge Jarmin offer solutions that begin on the inside. Please contact them for more information and start on your road to a better life for you and your kids.

Please Rate this Article


Not yet Rated

Click the XML Icon Above to Receive Parenting Articles Articles Via RSS!

Powered by Article Dashboard