Peers pressure because they want collaborators, not because they ‘like’ the one they are pressuring. After all, would anyone pressure someone into something that they know spells trouble if they really liked them?
Over time, these ways of parenting help children stay solid inside of themselves:
Nurture their individuality.
Cultivate their interests.
Earn their trust by being honest and responsible as best as you can.
Boost their self-worth in a non-egoic way: show reverence for everyone and everything and they will learn that all of life is valuable.
Give your child lots of attention.
If your child is old enough to understand others are pressuring them to do things they do or don’t want to do, they are old enough to do their own inner work. Teach them how to sit quietly and ask themselves what they really want in their lives. (After you learn how to).
Teach your children to say no, properly. (After you learn how to).
Byron Katie teaches people how to say no in practical and polite ways (some are paraphrased):
Thank you, no.
I’m scared of saying no to you but I feel it’s best if I do.
I love you, no.
Thank you for asking me, and no, thank you.
I’m scared of saying no to you and am asking if you would support me in this.
Teach your child about consequences in a non-punishing way.
Actions have consequences tied to them that are not punishment, they are just consequences. When the sun comes up it gets warmer. When one harms themselves the body and mind suffer. There are also different consequences for actions depending on the consciousness level of the parent. Each family will have their own. For example in most families, repeated lying will have a consequence of losing trust and therefore cause tension in relationships.
It's a good idea to have a conversation with your children about actions and consequences, inviting them to participate in the conversation - when everyone is calm. If they are tempted to drink, smoke or do drugs, it's really important that they be told the truth, not as a punishment, but as a guide.
Learn to let your child live with their consequences. They are the only one who can.
Free yourself and your child by doing your own inner work. Sit quietly and ask yourself what you gain (wait for a positive word to come up) if your child acts out the following behaviors. Feel all the feelings that come up until they dissipate. This will begin to clear your mind of conditioned information gained when you were a child.
If my child rebels, I gain____________________________________________________________________
(example: If my child rebels, I gain that I show that I care. Notice it would be possible to show we care without needing a child to rebel.)
If my child doesn’t listen, I gain_____________________________________________________________
(example: If my child doesn't listen, I gain that I'm right when they mess up. Notice that is an expensive way to be right.)
If my child disobeys, I gain_________________________________________________________________
(example: If my child disobeys me, it gives me the opportunity to be the teacher. Notice that we can teach our children long before disobedience becomes a habit.)
Add more of your child’s behaviors here and then do the work on them:
If my child does this, what do I gain?
When your children are old enough, their decisions. That puts the ball 100% in their court.
Love doesn’t mean enabling our children. Love doesn’t mean punishing them either. Love means being responsible – 100% of the time for 100% of what’s going on in your life. Love means responding and not reacting. Love means understanding mistakes.
Love means to do your own work and be the best person you can. That is the greatest gift you can give another. If a child see’s you growing in a way that truly enhances your life, they are more likely to do the same, and that leaves peers who pressure less likely to succeed.