Your child will encounter both negative and positive peer pressure at some time in their lives. In fact, I imagine most children will feel pressure from their friends to behave a certain way or to do something on a more regular basis.
It may be the negative pressure to smoke or take a sip of alcohol or to say something nasty to another child. It may be positive pressure to go along to a party or join in with an activity. Both negative and positive peer pressure cannot be avoided and it takes a strong child to stand up and say ‘no’ to their friends if they do not want to do something. A healthy self-esteem and going along with what is right and wrong, or what they want to do, is needed.
How to Help Our Children to Resist Peer Pressure
- Explain the difference between negative and positive peer pressure.
- They should get involved in exciting activities if their friends are doing so and join in with things that are going to benefit them in a good way. For example, if all their friends are going to study together and they are being coerced to go along too, they should do!
- Chat to children about the different types of scenarios there are where negative peer pressure can apply. Ask them hypothetical questions about what they would do in a certain situation. Give them suggestions of what they can do and say. Get them to think about the response of their friends if they do or say something in particular.
- We can role play with them so they are able to say ‘No’ assertively and give a reason why they don’t want to join in.
- If they feel stuck with not knowing the right thing to do, encourage them to come to you and ask for your advice. In fact when they do start to grow up and their friends are experimenting with new things keep talking to them about what their peers are doing and having discussions about the risks and dangers of joining in.
It’s impossible for children to avoid peer pressure but they can learn how to recognise and manage it. Parents can give them the tools they need to be themselves and not get taken along by the crowd.
How has peer pressure effected your child? Were you able to help them with the negative aspects or did they succumb to the pressure? Or maybe your child is experiencing this now so you can try out my tips – please let a comment and let me know how you get on!