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Children are social beings. They enjoy mixing in the company of their peers. They feel a need to belong. They want to be accepted by their friends. They are natural copy-cats as they see it as a way of gaining acceptance within the group. Children seek security in numbers. They feel safer to follow than to lead.

Young children below age of 10 feel that they are beginning to be independent as they get accustomed to the schooling system. They may test their wings by asking the parent for new possibilities. Sometimes, after observing what their peers do or have, they, too, want to assert themselves by asking for the same things.

Older children from the age of 10 up are more confident in asserting their self opinions and requests. They can argue with the parent and use their peers as examples to support their arguments.

Peer pressure occurs when the child looks up to a leader (dominant) peer. They use him/her as a pillar of reference. Parents aren't fighting against their child to get around peer pressure. They shouldn't take the child's remarks too personally and put down the child straightaway. This isn't the time to criticize your child or his friend. It may result in the child becoming more stubborn in standing up for his friend. It may also discourage him from talking to you further about his friends and his life. This will be a serious communication breakdown.

Overcome peer pressure by asking your child to stop being a copy-cat and start thinking for himself. Explain that different people can have different opinions and actions. Teach him to to debate the advantages and disadvantages of each point of view. Then ask him what he prefers for himself. Use concrete evidence of good examples to overcome his bad choices.

Even adults face peer pressure when they try to keep up with the Joneses. The difference is that with children, adults think its reasonable to argue for compliance to parents' wishes. When its uneconomical or impractical to bow to peer pressure, teach the child to compromise. He may not get the most expensive toy but he can get something within his parents' budget. Establish a supportive relationship with the child. He will trust and value his parents' explanation more than his peers.