Peer influence or pressure is a fact of life and impacts children as well.
In any society, we will have the super-rich, the rich and the not so rich. The differences in demographics can easily be brought alive for the children in their little world. In schools where there are no uniforms and the children are free to choose their own attire, the difference can be stark and damaging. Another area to watch out for is the playfields where different toys, sporting equipment, bicycle and other accessories are brought out which can lead to unnecessary comparisons and aspirations being made. Family holidays are also discussed and, with international travel becoming accessible, these too can become discussion points and lead to unrealistic expectations on account of peer pressure.
As parents it is very important to ensure that the child stays grounded – not succumbing to peer pressure is very important as agreeing to every whim and fancy influenced by peers would only set wrong expectations. Instead, a mature approach of why one cannot match their peers should be explained and reiterated. What is essential to bear in mind is that the child should not suffer any psychological impact on account of this, i.e. he should not feel any less confident if he doesn’t have the latest branded watch or sneakers. Children, too, need to learn to live within means and not succumb to societal pressures and have to feel confident of the choices we as parents make for them.