Sunday, August 24, 2008

Social pressure

Social pressure

Many of you may not realise that your young children are under negative social pressure at all times. Here are some examples:

- Verbal pressure from adults who like criticising or challenging anything about the young children, starting from the way they talk, walk, eat, values, ideas and such.

- Physical pressure from bullies or siblings especially when the children turn out grow slower, smaller, or fatter. Bullies are everywhere and can be mean.

- Expectation pressures from teachers or parents. Children are not only expected to do well in school, many are expected to be geniuses too.

- Social judgement pressure from peer groups or adults.

- Self-pressure such as wanting all "A" grades, want to be the best in sports and the like.

Meanwhile, your children can be more sensitive to negative social pressure if they are preoccupied with the following condition: Personal insecurities, fears of rejection, the need for excitement, the need to be noticed, the need for an identity, and the need for approval.

Here are a few suggestions to help reduce the impact of the negative social pressure:

- Learn to recognise the types of social pressures that easily influence your child. Be objective and even if you find out that you yourself may be one of the causes, don't be alarmed or defensive, you can start reducing the pressure and help your child.

- Protect your child. You may want to reduce the amount of time your child is left unsupervised around sources of negative social pressure.

- Be a teacher. Teach your child how to deal with stressful and pressure-packed situations. And be a good role model.

- Monitor and plan. Make sure your child can have his or her needs (acceptance, excitement and etc). Maximise time spent with positive social influences.

- Communicate. Talk with your child to keep your relationship strong . Be available, listen carefully and show him/her that you understand his or her feelings.

Dr Chantima Ongkosit Krairiksh is chairwoman and co-founder of Manarom Hospital. She is also an assistant professor and guest lecturer of psychiatry, Mahidol University.

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