PEER PRESSURE – HOW CAN WE HELP AND TEACH OUR TEENAGERS THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING GOOD CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT FOR THEIR PEERS. (Teens aged between 13-16 years of age)

    I have run a number of workshops in schools over the past 12 months. The issues I see coming up over and over again that really concern me are:

    peer pressure,
    social media addiction,
    exam pressures,
    friendship issues,
    family expectations,
    sexual expectations,
    lack of communication at home,
    being judged by family (because of peers behaviour not their own) – this was a big one.

    Yes, peer pressure and many of these issues have been around since we were growing up but there are a few changes:
    Social Media
    Expectations (family and friends)
    Family communication
    Sexual expectations (a lot of this I blame on our boys learning from porn sites)
    and everything starts younger – much younger than our day.

    I am going to go through a few of the Q & A here to try to support parents, to help them to understand what the teens are thinking and what their main concerns are.

    15/16 year olds (starting 3rd year and 4th year)

    Q Do you control your phone or does your phone control you?

    A 70% said they controlled their phone/30% phone controlled them

    By the end of the workshop this changed to 50/50 – we discussed in length how their phones effect
    Friendship
    Family relationships
    Study
    Image concerns
    Confidence
    Mindset and so much more

    In my opinion we need these lessons as part of our curriculum, kids are crying out for support. How are they supposed to know how to live safely and healthily in this world run by technology if they are not shown?

    Q Do you think it is harder being a teenager now than in your parents time?

    ( I am going to write a few of their exact answers so ignore some grammar etc)

    A Yes, because things such as drinking, smoking are happening at much younger age and there is so much pressure to do it.

    Yes, more pressure.

    Because not everything was on social media so you are judged by social media accounts.

    Yes, because there is so much more pressure because of school exams.

    Yes they had no worries ( I had to smile at this one!)

    Yes because of the internet/social media being available to us an an early age.

    Yes, their life was not on social media.(over 50% of answers)

    Our kids are battling daily with so many pressures, we need to get them the support the need and deserve.
    Q Do you have any regrets over the past year or two?

    A Yes not doing as well as I would like in school and doing some stupid things I didn’t realise were wrong.

    Yes making stupid mistakes – e.g.. drinking.

    Not working as hard as I could in school – caring too much about boys.

    Yes embarrassing myself in front of people – trying to keep others happy

    Yes spending too much time on my phone

    Yes not doing the best for me always – trying to please my friends
    There is a lot of confusion around boys, drinking, smoking, friends, but I do find when we talk about these issues they do tend to see reason. They are very clever and open to advice, in fact I would go so far as to say they are crying out for it. (Again our curriculum fails them)

    As a mum of four I realise parents are not always the best people to talk to them about these issues. Although we have their best interests at heart, it doesn’t always come out the way we intend. Hence the reason why I set up these workshops.

    If anyone has any queries about any of the above or would be interested in organising a workshop for a group of teens, please contact me by email eileenkeanehaly@gmail.com or 08.8112110.

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