“Don’t forget about the showcase on Friday, it starts at 10am.” I hear every morning as I drop my daughter off at a week long cheerleading camp. Summer is here and I am pining for “me time” like a love-struck teenager longs to be back at summer camp with her first love. My 8 yr. old loves cheer camp but the 2.5 hours per day is hardly enough time to do the things I want to do. I want to write, plan and teach classes without my daughter. I want to exercise and run the errands she hates but summer is here and things have changed.I really don’t want to go to “the showcase” this Friday.
I’ve watched her do cheers all week, about 6 hours a day. I feel confident that I won’t be deprived by not seeing her perform with the other camp cheerleaders. I have great friends that will send me videos if I want. I didn’t go last year, and the world did not crumble. My husband misses this stuff and doesn’t blink an eye. I really don’t want to give up that extra hour on Friday, when I get so few as it is.
Yet here I sit, on the bleachers, watching “the showcase”. And apparently, I’m not the only one.
Sometimes we succumb to peer pressure, just like our kids will. We decide to do things that we may not really want to do. Breast feeding, work meetings, kid birthday parties, family gatherings or class reunions. Peer pressure is just as real for adults as it is for kids so as I waited for “the showcase” to begin, I decided to take my own advice.
In my “You Can Talk to Me” class for 9-12 year olds and their parents and my “Getting What You Want” summer camp for girls 12-15, we talk about how to stand up to peer pressure. Before you take action, you first want to link to your values. In this case, I value my quiet time, especially during the summer months, but I have decided to go anyway and I don’t want to feel resentful. I value connecting with other parents. I value arranging play dates for my daughter with the other Moms (more quiet time!). I value using life’s everyday challenges to help other parents, live more purposeful lives, ie. write a blog about it.
Anytime you are doing something that’s not your favorite activity but the societal, peer, or family pressure may be too much for you, link to YOUR values! Maybe you dread spending your meager time off at your spouse’s family reunion? If so, find a way to link it to one of YOUR values: spending time in nature, finding a new recipe to try out, talking about a book you loved, mentally plan a trip you’d like to take, sketch something, etc. Before you’ll know it you’ll be having a good time, on your terms, because you decided to.
Bev felt pressured to put her boys into classes like the other Moms: soccer, music, foreign language, gymnastics. She longed to socialize with these other Moms but her boys just wanted to stay home and play in the dirt. She could either force her boys to cope with classes they hated to make friends and feel a part of the crowd, or listen to her boys and her instincts and let them stay home. She decided to linked to her values, hired a sitter to stay home with her boys, and took classes of her own. Bev got out of the house to socialize by taking art and exercises classes, something she always wanted to do.
Living deliberately, on purpose, gives you so much power. Notice when you feel peer pressure (and talk about it out loud if your kids are old enough). Listen to and respect your inner voice, make the choice you want in a way that reflects your values, & then make the most of it. Acknowledging peer pressure and modeling how to make your own choices is an awesome skill to teach to your kids.