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Adults Have Peer Pressure Too! (Part 2)


family counselor child helpLast month I discussed how it is important for parents to learn to say “no” to their peers when needed as a helpful tool for their children to learn the skill. Many time moms and dads over commit themselves, volunteer too much at the expense of their own family and voluntarily work excessively long work hours because others in the company do. This gives kids the wrong message: never take care of yourself—become a people pleaser. Adults may also try to “keep up with the Joneses” with new cars, houses, boats, etc. This is not a comfortable subject for us because we think of negative peer group pressure solely as a youthful problem. Not so!



building child character

Another common adult peer pressure trap that I see in my private counseling practice is that parents often let their children do something too young—and they do so because other parents are allowing it. Examples could be putting a TV in a young child’s room or allowing a preteen to have a My Space page. These two examples encourage isolation from the family and really are not age appropriate. I also have seen parents allow their first grader to go to sleepovers even though they thought that was more appropriate for kids in middle school. The parent says to me, “But all the other parents are letting their kids do it. I don’t want my child to be left out.” In reality, I think it’s the parent that too often doesn’t want to be left out.

When I conduct workshops to groups of parents at schools, churches or conferences, they often are reassured by my telling them that it’s okay to slow their children down and wise to attempt to give them a childhood. In fact, your saying “no” to your child when needed might just encourage other parents to stop encouraging kids, inadvertently, to do things too soon. And that’s called positive peer pressure!

Excerpted in part from Sharon’s classic parent guide: Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed. ((HRD Press, 800-822-2801 and

Copyright ©2008- 2014, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.

P.S. Please check out my other column, “SmileNotes”

Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT, is an internationally recognized family therapist with a private practice in north Texas. She is considered the leading expert on peer pressure having trained more than one million people across the U.S. and in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey, and Micronesia in her proven techniques. For information on bringing Sharon to your community or school to present one of her 29 dynamic workshops for children, teens, parents, or educators, please see her website www.SharonScott.com .

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Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer pressure.

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is


Her best-selling book for teens,


Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and “co-authored” with her savvy Cocker Spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun. Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled


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Peer Pressure Experienced by Teens, Adolescents and School-age Children. Parenting Advice.

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