Peer Pressure and Healthy Male Mentor
As your adolescent boy grows and matures it is increasingly important that he has a strong relationship with dad; if dad is healthy and safe. If that is not the case, a healthy male mentor (grandpa, uncle, stepdad, coach).
You hear me say this often, I have dads tell me they’re doing the best they can (doing things “just like their dad did!”) and I believe that to be true. I also believe through my research I can tell you exactly how and when relationships between dads and their sons began to deteriorate. I’ll blog about this in detail in the next couple of weeks. And, BIG NEWS in even more detail in my new book in the works specifically for dads!
If dad is absent a boy will bond with peers and many times that is where he takes direction on becoming a man-this is not how you want your son to learn how to become an adult male!
Peer Pressure and Your Son
We all dealt with peer pressure at some point or at some level. It’s a part of life; how we respond is what’s most important. For boys, this is where it can get risky; if dad isn’t around to guide him he’ll look to his friends as his example.
Peer pressure can lead a boy down the wrong path. Often times boys will bond together and act out in unhealthy ways. Boys think proving they’re a man means doing crazy scary stuff to show their bravery. They may be drawn to negative groups like gangs, or to the boy who has a minimal amount of supervision at home. They “hang out” and you guessed it, that’s where he’ll likely have the opportunity to experiment with drugs, alcohol or other risky behavior that leads to trouble-serious trouble!
What to Watch For:
- change in behavior – more isolated
- change in sleep habits – sleeps less
- change in appetite – eating less
- mood swings – dramatic/traumatic
- doesn’t want to talk or be with family – some of this behavior is common, you’re looking for a change
What Can You Do?
Here are some basic suggestions that can help you help him get through this critical time:
- Insist dad spend at least 3-5 hours a week with his son (if dad isn’t present, seek out a healthy male role model-uncle, stepfather, grandpa)
- Provide positive feedback and encouragement which helps build self-esteem (helps avoid bad choices)
- Practice good communication, I’ve written examples of this (conflict resolution skills)
- Share some of your experiences (give him examples of how you handled peer pressure)
- Sports are a great environment for boys, as are school clubs i.e.: chess, art, debate and Jr. ROTC (they provide activity and a sense of pride)
Boy Scouts, religious and community activities are also great ways to engage with your son and give him a sense of mission. Your goal is to surround him with good positive support by making sure he is in an environment that provides him an example.
Peer pressure is alive and well still today. I believe now more than ever it requires your attention.
Are you afraid your son is being pressured by peers? Post your questions or comments below or on my Facebook page.