Parents of teens, be careful! If you are accustomed to winning in debates by means of suppressing your child’s opinion, he or she will not be able to defend his/her opinion in other situations.
A new research, conducted at the University of Virginia, shows that the teenagers, who are not able to convincingly prove their position during an argument with their mother, find it harder to resist peer pressure. In contrast, other children are able to calmly and persuasively defend their point of view.
Of course, parents should give their children an opportunity to use their arguments in the dispute. However, they must first of all learn to listen – to listen to their children’s opinion to the end, to try to understand the motives which prompted the child to commit a particular act. This is the basic pattern of behavior, which the teenager copies and will continuously apply in life, including interaction with peers.
The skill of reasoned argument will be very useful when a classmate or a friend from the neighborhood will offer your child to try alcohol or drugs for the first time. It is not simple to abandon the “temptation”, because one can easily do anything “in a company”. And if a teen has an argument and the skill of using it, he or she can prove the peers that drugs and alcohol will not do any good in one’s life. At the same time, the teenager will retain the “reputation” in a social group, which is so important in this age.
Of course, parents can simply demand compliance with some rules of conduct, but the consequences of such pressure on the child are unpredictable – the teenager may act in the opposite way, thus demonstrating the protest.
Joanna Marie Chango (Ph.D., a post-graduate student in clinical psychology) and her colleagues have tested the adolescents and their mothers (because it is mothers who spend the most time with their children). They were offered to discuss any problems and then take part in a simulated hypothetical situation. As a result of these studies, the children, who did not get their mother’s support and understanding during the conversation with her, were more susceptible to peer pressure.