Adolescence refers to the period of human growth that occurs between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence begins at age around 10 and ends at age around 21. During adolescence children are begin to form their identity and develop the interpersonal and occupational roles that they will assume as adults. Therefore it is important that parents must treat them as young adults. Though adolescents look to peers parents remain influential in their development.
A teenager who thinks poorly of him or herself, is not confident, hangs around with gangs, lacks positive values, follows the crowd, is not doing well in studies, is losing interest in school, has few friends, lacks supervision at home or is not close to key adults like parents and is vulnerable to peer pressure. Parents often feel isolated and alone in parenting adolescents but they should still make efforts to be aware of their adolescents’ activities, and to provide guidance, direction, and consultation. Adolescence can be a time of high risk for children, where new-found freedoms can result in decisions that drastically open up or close off life opportunities. Adolescents tend to increase the amount of time they spend peers of the opposite gender; however, they still maintain the amount of time they spend with those of the same gender, and they do this by decreasing the amount of time they spend with their parents.
Also, peer pressure is not the reason why peers have influence on adolescents; instead, it is often because they respect, admire and like their peers. Parental issues at this stage of parenting include dealing with “rebellious” teenagers, who didn’t know freedom while they were smaller. In order to prevent all these, it is important for the parents to build a trusting relationship with their children. This can be achieved by planning and taking part in fun activities together, keeping promises made to them, spending time with them, not reminding them about their past mistakes and listening to and talking to them. When a trusting relationship is built, adolescents are more likely to approach their parents for help when faced with negative peer pressure. Helping the child build a strong foundation will help them to resist negative peer pressure.
It is important for the parents to build up the self-esteem of their child: Praise the child’s strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses it will help to grow the child’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence, so he/she does not feel the need to gain acceptance from his/her peers, acknowledge the child’s efforts, do not simply focus on the final result when they notice that the parent recognizes their efforts, they will keep trying, and lastly, disapprove the behavior, not the child, or they will turn to their peers for acceptance and comfort.