It has been described as ‘Fight Club Online’. It’s the latest violent viral craze. To most people it’s known as Punch 4 Punch. It can have tragic consequences.
One man – a 23-year-old father – has died this summer from participating in a pursuit that appears to have dethroned NekNominate as the latest unfathomable internet trend.
Young people in particular are at risk.
It’s not for us to explain Punch 4 Punch, but take the time to look it up some time. Google ‘Punch 4 Punch’ or ‘Tommy Main’ and ask the question: Is YOUR child doing this?
Lots are and all for the same reason. To look cool. To fit in.
To quote a colleague, who sought to explain the motives in an interesting piece for the Telegraph, ‘Young people are always trying to find something to mark them as interesting, likeable [and] attractive’.
The bottom line: They’ll go to great lengths in order to gain approval from their peers. They’ll even resort to trading blows. This is the bigger picture and something that troubles most parents.
The main issue here? Peer pressure.
Research suggests most parents believe that, when it comes to teenagers, friends and peers have the greatest influence.
Having guided them to this point from birth, this can be rather difficult for adults to accept and tension can arise as a result. This is natural. Normal. Par for the course.
The important thing is not allowing that tension to take over.
Yes, relationships can become strained as adolescence approaches. Yes, teenagers listen to their friends and not their parents. Yes, you’re concerned about ‘the crowd’ and its influence. But parenting doesn’t end here.
It might not seem like it sometimes, but a parent’s input and influence is still VERY important, even during such difficult times. Remember our blog about Respect Yourself, an organisation that imparts important information to children and teenagers? The central concept – if I’d known then what I know now – is one that applies in this instance . . .
Our parental duties include ensuring that our children have as few as possible regrets in later life. This means using our experience and our knowledge to continue to guide them.
Sometimes – quite often, in fact – it means taking that all-important step back. It means laying foundations and setting certain boundaries. It means creating the right environment.
It means talking and keeping communication lines open. Ensuring they’re aware that, should help or advice be required, you’re there for them. Giving them the space and freedom to figure certain things out for themselves. Providing guidance and explaining issues. Being a positive influence. Taking an interest. Listening.
Spend less time worrying about ‘the crowd’ and more getting to know their friends. Encourage them to hang out at home. Understand what’s going on in their lives. Don’t wait until they’re in trouble.
Sex. Relationships. Drugs. Punch 4 Punch. No subject should be off-limits. They’ll talk about this stuff with their friends. You need to be approachable too should there ever be a time when a little parental input is needed.
Peer pressure can (and does) cause problems, but let them know you’re there for them and they’ll find it much easier to seek YOUR support . . .
Before they’re in trouble. Before they’re in danger.
Before they’re taking part in the next internet craze in a desperate attempt to fit in.
Before it’s too late.