By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT

The last three columns have been devoted to my proven “Peer Pressure Reversal” skill that teaches children and teens how to effectively manage negative peer group pressure.  It’s been pointed out that 87% of youth face at least one peer pressure situation every day

—from gossiping or cheating all the way to driving too fast or drinking alcohol, etc.  Peer pressure begins young—it’s evident as soon as one child says to another, “If you don’t play this game with me, then you can just go home!”  And, naturally, it intensifies in the teen years including decisions about skipping, fighting, bullying, vandalizing, stealing, lying to parents about destination, drugs, and more.

Understanding Peer Pressure

A parent cannot assume that if a child knows right from wrong that he will always act upon it.  Peer pressure, although often subtle, is intense—and the fear of losing a friend has caused many a young person to do something he wouldn’t ordinarily do.

The next few columns will be devoted to teaching and practicing this technique so that our child will feel comfortable using it. {Editor’s Note:  Sharon is the author of award-winning books on this subject—for parent, teen and child.  Her parent guide is extremely detailed on how to teach/rehearse this with your son/daughter.  See bio for ordering details.}  We have covered the three main steps of “Peer Pressure Reversal:”

  1. Check Out The Scene
  2. Make A Good Decision
  3. Act To Avoid Trouble

One way to begin is after introducing the topic and presenting the skills (as outlined in earlier columns) is to give your child hypothetical situations and have them “walk though” the three steps.

Peer Pressure Examples

Example:  A friend, who looks worried, grabs you in the hall at school and then looks up and down the hall.  The friend says, “Did you do your math?  I know you did because you’re so smart in that class…”  Ask your child:

  1. From Checking out the Scene, did you see or hear any clues for trouble?  What?
  2. Tell me the good things and the bad things that could happen here depending on your decision.
  3. What are some things you could say or do to manage the negative peer pressure?  Do you think you would lose your friend forever if you did that?

Continue to give some scenarios, appropriate to your child’s age, that would involve negative peer pressure and let them think it through.  Next month we will take practicing this valuable life skill to a higher level.  Stay tuned!

 Copyright © 2016, Sharon Scott.  No reproduction without written permission from author.  Gleaned in part from “Peer Pressure Reversal:  An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.” and “How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed.”  HRD Press, 800-822-2801.

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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