When gauging a child’s success in school, many factors instantly come to mind. Aspects such as a student’s home life and parental involvement are critical for achieving academic success. Other important factors lie in what hobbies and activities children enjoy during their free time. Some after-school activities noticeably foster a sense of higher achievement and personal drive. Despite the rightful care and concern in a student’s success, parents and teachers sometimes neglect one of the biggest influences affecting students today: Peer pressure. Numerous studies show a growing link between a child’s peers and the impact they have on their learning environment. As parents, this is a major concern. With enough time and influence, a child’s friends can easily “make or break” their entire school experience. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. With the influence of positive, motivationally-driven friends, children can reach new academic heights. What type of learning environment is best for your child? An even bigger question remains: how can peer pressure help create the perfect learning environment? Consider these beneficial traits within positive peer pressure.
Although some children seem to dislike school regardless of the activities or lessons, this is not the case for every student. A 2014 study conducted by Portland State University found that a child’s enjoyment of school and their view toward education in general partially stems from the attitudes and interactions they witness from their peers. If their friends seem to hate school and regularly criticize it, it’s only logical that your child will also develop negative feelings toward school. Also, if they experience very little moral support or encouragement from these supposed friendships, the likelihood of poor academic success increases significantly. If not addressed, negative attitudes toward school grow over time and can either help or hinder your child when it comes to higher-level education opportunities such as whether they will eventually desire to attend college. By inspiring your child to show a love for learning and finding like-minded supportive friends, positive attitudes toward education improve radially.
Relationship with Authority
Just as emotions toward school are transferred among students and their friends, respect and trust for authority is also contagious. Every school has a group of students who seem to strongly dislike or mistrust school authority. Although authority should be respected, students should never fear or mistrust those over them. Talk to your child and help them see that school leaders act out of care and concern when creating rules. If your child grows with a healthy relationship with their authorities, they will far exceed those students who experience tension with their leaders.
There is a sad lack of powerful student leaders within schools. Many children are content to wait for the leadership and decision-making of others. Rather than constantly waiting for their friends to make all of their choices, help your child see the powerful benefits of becoming a leader among their friends and inspiring good goals. Talk with your child and help them discover the proper tools to make a genuine difference in their school. Not only will this help their peers, but it will also encourage personal and social growth within your child as they become more independent.
Respect for Others
Sadly, bullying and racism is still a struggle for some students and schools. Even with the strong anti-bullying agendas being implemented, some schools experience noticeable disharmony among their students. Bullying is present in obvious forms such as physical fighting or verbal abuse. It is also possible in subtle forms such as cyber bullying which often escapes the knowledge of school faculty and parents. Unfortunately, these negative influences grow when shared among students. It may initially start with one child but quickly spread through peer pressure. One of the best ways to eliminate school bullying is to promote positive peer pressure qualities such as respect and care for others. Find out what types of friends your child spends time with. Ask about their behavior and take notice of children who seem to encourage mean-spirited action, teasing, or language. As parents, we can help our children develop positive social qualities by growing your own relationship with them and helping them build their self-esteem. Emotionally stable children are far less prone to lashing out at others.
While we should rightfully show concern over the influences our children experience during school hours, we must also realize that one of the best ways to counteract negative peer pressure is by helping our children learn to spread positive influences among their peers. For more information on helping your child find their ideal learning environment, please contact us today.