How to Combat the lie of Peer Pressure
What causes so many of us to believe that we must have everyone’s love and approval? This is the mantra of today’s junior high and high school campuses, and it’s a conversation we have with our kids more and more often. “Nobody loves me, nobody cares…mom, dad you don’t understand.” This thought is based on the unrealistic expectation that if everyone likes me and approves of me, I will be happy. Unfortunately, this is just not true. We hope that by the time we reach adulthood, we understand how to combat the lie of peer pressure, but what about our kids? Do we know what happens if our children buy into the lie? What pressure will they live under to constantly perform for the praises of others? What happens when when their instagram picture doesn’t immediately get liked by all their friends? The result is an ongoing attempt to please everyone and the effects can be disastrous.
This is one of the biggest issues of peer pressure at school. Kids wanting their classmates to like them so much, that they’ll do anything to get someone’s approval and attention. This can surface in a variety of ways depending on the age of your kids: episodes of anger which tend to subside as quickly as they began, taking on the role of class clown with self-deprecating behavior, getting involved with things uncharacteristic of themselves to fit in with the cool kids, lying, etc
For some teens, this pressure to fit in can mean “hitting the sheets.” The pressure that tells a girl that if she really wants to be his girlfriend, she better have sex with him. For others, it might mean eating disorders. For another, it might be sneaking a drug enhancer before practice to up your energy and performance. But the truth is, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Some people are never going to like you, period. I hope this isn’t a shock to you as a parent, but it could be a shock to your kids.
Hammering our kids with the truth probably won’t make much of a difference, but teaching them early and feeding them the truth that: “Jesus Christ OUTRAGEOUSLY loves you, in spite of yourself!”
Love does amazing things, and the love of God, when embodied through loving parents, can make a huge difference and set the groundwork for healthy relationships for your kids.
Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
In other words, help your kids take their focus off of themselves and getting other’s approval, and be an example for them of how to place their significance on someone bigger, with a purpose. Simple stuff…or is it?