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Doing Life Together

family teensPeer pressure sounds like a negative thing because we usually think of it as something to resist. But the teenage brain loves social acceptance more than the adult brain.

In fact, teens get great pleasure from being liked by other people. This yearning for peer acceptance peaks around age 15 and then begins to decline.

So can peer pressure be a good thing?

Yes, the influence of friends is important to development. When peer pressure is positive like getting good grades, competing in sports, trying new opportunities, etc., it can encourage teens to try harder or be more excellent in what they do. It prompts teens to take risks, to seek novelty and explore their environment, all steps important to individual development.

However, when it comes to decision making, more development is necessary.  Brain research tells us that teens are just as adept as making decisions as adults when they aren’t emotionally wound up. Emotionally wound up is the key phrase here. Brain connections are still forming and emotions get in the way of good decision making until a bit later in development. This is why you see teens making poor decisions with their peers. If peer pressure goes a negative direction, then the decision-making follows that path because of the need to fit in or be liked. But not always.

There are a few factors that help teens resist negative peer pressure:

1) Being popular

2) Having families with little dysfunction

3) Having good, strong communication skills

4) Having a high need for uniqueness

5) Having parents who enforce strict boundaries

6) Having parents who help prepare teens for peer pressure situations with rehearsal or role-playing

7) Having good friends

8) Excelling in something

Parents, bottom line, get your kids involved in positive activities with kids who are motivated. This will go along way to prevent negative peer pressure. Since the teen brain wants peer acceptance, put them around positive peers.

SmallerAfter all the bad news of the day, did you find yourself smiling at the birth of the royal baby?

If you did, you were engaging in stress relief!

Stuck in traffic, SMILE!

Someone cuts in line at a sporting event, SMILE!

Your co-worker beats you to a deadline, SMILE!

Your husband forgets to pick up the dry cleaning, SMILE!

Smiling may be one way you can control stress and the impact it has on your body. The “grin and bear it” approach to life may actually be prescriptive.

A study published in Psychological Science (2012) found that smiling, even when you don’t feel like it could be beneficial to your health.

Researchers at the University of Kansas looked at the connection between smiling and recovering from stress. Since other studies have concluded that smiling affects emotions in a positive way, these researchers wanted to see the impact of smiling on stress.

In the study, even people who were forced to smile reduced their physical bodies stress response.  They didn’t have to feel happy, just smile! So forget the medications, that extra drink to relax you or that unhealthy way to cope with stress, put on a happy face. Smiling not only signals happiness to others, but relieves stress in your life.

So one more time, let’s put a big smile on our faces and thank William and Kate for giving us a few moments of stress relief!

advice coupleYou see her trying to balance the checkbook. You have some advice that you are ready to give.

After all, you are just trying to be helpful, but it turns out that your partner may not appreciate that type of help. In fact, too much advice giving is associated with lower martial satisfaction according to a University of Iowa study. The study noted that men experience advice giving by their wives as nagging or being reprimanded. Wives feel that their husbands are more condescending or see them as incapable when husbands try to “fix the problem.”

If you really want to make things worse, give unsolicited advice. That’s right, spouses don’t seem to appreciate it!

And if you are the one asking for advice or receiving the support, the way you behave is more important than how the person giving the advice behaves. One reason is that asking for and receiving advice puts you in a vulnerable position.

But now here is a caveat. If too little advice is given in a marriage, men suffer. The reason, men look to their wives for their main support. Women look to other women, friends and loved ones in addition to their husbands. So women get help from a broader range of people.

Finally, it appears that even well meaning advice comes across as criticism. Ouch! I was only trying to help!

So what’s best to do:

1) Make sure your spouse is asking you for advice before you decide to give it.

2) Allow your spouse time to talk out a problem. Sometimes that is all he or she needs.

3) Personalize the problem to something you struggled with and how you worked it through, rather than giving straight up advice.

4) If you don’t want the advice, thank your partner for offering it, but tell him or her that advice wasn’t really what you were looking for at this moment. Then follow that comment with what would have been helpful.

5) Don’t be so sensitive. Just say, thanks and take the advice giving as good intention!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Journal of Family Psychology, 2009

Glee star, Corey Monteith, made no secret of his struggle with drug addiction before his untimely death.

Back in 2011, he made the comment that he was lucky to be alive given his history and struggle. He began using marihuana and alcohol at age 13. By the time he was 16, he admitted to having a serious problem.

So sad. Such a loss at such a young age (31). Please pray for the family and friends.

Drug addiction destroys a person’s life. Here are 10 truths to consider:

1) Drugs change your brain. These changes interfere with your ability to think  clearly, use good judgment and control your behavior.

2) The craving grows more important than anything else in your life when you are addicted.

3) The urge to use is so strong that you rationalize the addiction.

4) Addiction provides psychological pain relief.

5) Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion than takes more than willpower and a one shot attempt to treat.

6) Don’t wait for someone to “hit bottom.” That is often more difficult. DO an intervention. Even if someone enters drug treatment involuntarily, he or she can benefit from treatment.

7) Recovery often takes multiple attempts. Don’t get hopeless. Keep trying.

8) If you try one approach and it doesn’t work. Try another. Find something that  makes sense and connects with your issues.

9) Despite this being a brain disease, you can learn to live without drugs in your life.

10) You need God’s help. This is beyond willpower and requires God’s intervention as well. With God, all things are possible.

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