How to help young kids resist peer pressure and make powerful positive choices when faced with difficult situations.
By the time a child turns 7, they start to care more about what others think about them. They start to care less about what their parents and other adults think about them and this can interfere with how well they perform in school.
The children who need approval from their friends will often be the more popular kids at school and are more likely to get involved with risky behavior down the line. Things like cheating in school, drugs and alcohol can send them in a downward spiral quickly.
You may have noticed your child coming home with specific wants and needs because someone else in school has it. It could be a shirt, shoes or a backpack. If your child is really wanting this item, then you won’t really hear about anything else for a while.
This is a form of peer pressure, and it can start as early as kindergarten, although not as common at really young ages. As parents, we are hopeful that the peer pressure doesn’t start until high school but it actually can start between kindergarten and grade 1.
Here are steps you can take to help your sweet child resist peer pressure at school and among friends.
Steps You Can Take To Help Young Kids Resist Peer Pressure
Know the Difference
Your child should know the difference between peer influence and peer pressure among their peers. Peers who are trying to convince your child to do something they do not want to do is peer pressure while kids who are trying to inspire your child to do something in a positive way is peer influence.
Your child should know how to say the word NO and stand up to friends, even if those friends are in a group. It takes emotional and mental strength to disagree with a group of peers, but it is an essential skill.
Disagree With Respect
It is important to be strong and confident and say NO to peers but it is also important to be respectful. You should teach your child how to disagree with someone but use respectful language instead of mouthing off and throwing a tantrum. You can teach them the statement ” I know you think this and I understand and respect that, but this is why I think, and I hope you respect that.”
Your child is unique already and you should remind your child that they are one of a kind. There are people out there who are creative and successful even though they may take a different road than their peers. Being unique is a good thing and going your own way can be very beneficial.
Remind your child that believing in themselves is very important. Sometimes this means not following the crowd. Let your child know that they should be confident in their beliefs and that will take them far in life. Farther than if they follow peer pressure.
Social Dynamics Change
Remind your child that social dynamics are ever-changing. They change so quickly and frequently that short-term relationships among peers are totally normal and things won’t be like this forever. Remind them that school is not forever, even though it may feel like it and that whatever they could be dealing with at that particular moment will be resolved and life will go on.
Frequently Asked Questions About Helping Young Kids Resist Peer Pressure
How can peer pressure be prevented?
Peer pressure can be prevented by paying attention to how you feel and by planning ahead to how you will say now when peer pressure hits. If the person is pressuring you, say NO in a firm and assertive way. Give an excuse that gets you out of the situation and communicate with your parents about the peer pressure you experienced. Try to keep friends around who have the same values and beliefs as you do.
What can schools do to encourage positive peer pressure?
Your school can help your child through peer pressure by helping and guiding them towards friends who share similar values in life. Peer pressure is negative and choosing the right friends will help your child steer clear of that negative place.
What are the skills to avoid peer pressure?
The skills you need to avoid peer pressure are peer resistance skills. It is a term used for young people but can be applied to adults as well.
How is peer pressure harmful?
Peer pressure can force your child to do serious damage to themselves or to others. It can also be harmful to mental health and can prevent your child from making decisions that they normally would.
What are the 4 types of peer pressure?
There are 6 types of peer pressure:
Why is peer pressure so powerful?
The pressure to join in on an action to feel included and cared about is hard to resist. A person might conform to peer pressure just so they can feel validated, heard and cared about. Peer pressure can cause a person to perform a harmless act or a very harmful act that has consequences.
What is the most dangerous form of peer pressure?
Both mental and physical forms of peer pressure are dangerous. Mental peer pressure can result in low self-esteem and physical peer pressure can lead to sex, drugs and alcohol.
What are examples of negative peer pressure
Needing to dress or act a certain way.
Cheating or copying someone else’s work or letting others copy your work.
Not including certain people in social activities.
Taking dangerous risks when driving.
Using drugs or alcohol.
Shoplifting or stealing.
Engaging in sexual activity.
Engaging in bullying or cyberbullying.
Projecting a misleading/false image on social media.
Is peer pressure good for self-development?
Peer pressure can actually benefit your child if your child responds in an appropriate way. They can shape their personality and know which choices are the right ones to make in life. Your child should have a group of friends who are positive thinkers which will help your child be confident and have proper self-development in their school years.
Positive Peer Influence
Keep that peer influence positive by encouraging your little one to make friendships with people who are kind and good. Build confidence in your child by talking about peer pressure situations and how to tell the difference between right and wrong choices. If you provide frequent opportunities for your kiddo, they are more likely to be able to handle peer pressure situations properly on their own.
Remember that peer pressure starts at school and when your child comes home from school, talk about their day, ask the right questions and listen patiently and carefully as they talk. Listen to your child and let them make decisions that help them build up their confidence. Get to know the friends with which your child spends most of their school hours so you are familiar with their values.
Encourage extracurricular activities so that your kiddo can put time and energy into learning new things. If your child is having a tough time with peers, talk about peer influence and talk to the school councillor if you need to. Remember that your children’s teacher is there to help you in difficult situations too. Become a role model for your child and handle any peer pressure situations you might face in a way that you would like your child to handle peer pressure situations.
This parenting gig is hard, but you know what? You’re doing great. Keep going, keep learning and keep trying to be the best parent you can be to your little one.
The best parent for your child is you.