mom talking with teen daughter about peer pressureSharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – Helping Kids Handle Peer Pressure

In my column last month, Peer Pressure Reversal: A Refresher, I noted how subtle negative peer pressure is for children and teens. That makes it more difficult to manage as suddenly the child gets the picture concerning the trouble invitation and has to reply quickly,not much time to think.

Identifying Peer Pressure

So it’s imperative that children learn how to identify trouble quickly so that he or she can already be developing a response. Kids have got to know how to save face when saying no otherwise they are likely to accept the trouble maker’s idea.

Research shows that 87% of America’s youth fact at least one negative peer pressure situation every day! It include invitations to skip school, cheat on test, run in the halls, gossip, fight, go someplace off- limits, drink alcohol, be in a clique, copy homework, cuss, use drugs, and so much more.

I have spent the better part of my counseling career travelling to schools across the U.S. and abroad teaching students’and their teachers and parents’my proven effective Peer Pressure Reversal strategies. The first step of the skills teaches kids to Check Out the Scene.

Check Out the Scene teaches to look and listen for clues to trouble. For example, kids should notice if their friends lean in, look around, and begin whispering,why the secrecy? Is the trouble maker acting macho and bossy? Another thing to be aware of is when friend uses peer pressure lines on them such as I thought you were my friend, We won’t get caught, or Are you chicken? These dares are meant to reassure and many kids will buy into these lines and go along with the pressuring peer.

And how do you know if the invite will get you in trouble? Well, if it breaks a law or will get a person in charge mad, then it’s trouble. People in charge include store keepers, teachers, bosses, parents, etc.

Communicating About Peer Pressure

Begin introducing this concept of checking things out even while watching TV with your child. Ask, Did you notice how that person was acting when they asked the other person to do the trouble? Have your child identify what they noticed. You can also role-play asking them to do something wrong, but before you continue,. stop, and ask them what they think is going to happen next by the way you are acting.

Kids should also be taught how to check out the scene when in parking lots at malls or walking home alone,this is actually a major safety point.

More next month on step two.

Copyright © 1985-2011, Sharon Scott, Adapted in part from Peer Pressure Reversal, 2nd Ed. No reproduction without written permission from author.

P.S. Please see my other column Calming Overreactions.

Saying No and Keeping Friend continued:

Part 2

Part 3  

Part 4  

Part 5

Part 6

[Editor’s Note: please see Author’s Bio for the many excellent, award-winning books counselor Scott has written for various ages on this important topic.]

Sharon Scott

Sharon Scott

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

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.

Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!

A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.

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 Too Smart for Trouble.
Sharon Scott

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