Young children tend to accept the values of their parents without question. They have been exposed to few alternatives, so they rely on their parents to understand what is right and wrong.
As children grow older, however, they begin to think about a variety of options and they are likely to question the values around them. This is a normal process that almost all teens will go through.
The act of questioning should not be viewed as a challenge to the beliefs of the parents. Rather, it is a normal means of consolidating a set of values as the foundation for the practices of a lifetime.
Friends are important in this process. Teenagers need reactions, and their fellow teens will listen and give honest opinions.
The key for parents is to shore up their teen’s self-confidence and not over-react to ideas that might be floated out just for effect.
Teens who are unsure of themselves, and want to be accepted, are more likely to give in to negative peer pressure. They want to be liked and they want to have their ideas approved. They will seek that approval wherever they can find it.
Teens who have plenty of confidence will be affected by input from their friends but are less likely to be dominated by it. They have a sense of inner strength and self-worth that they will not want to jeopardize.
So be sure to show your teens you love and respect them. Knowing they can count on you helps with their decision-making, and helps keep them grounded in the values of the family unit.