friendshipBy Sharon Scott, LLC, LPC-S, LMFT-S

My last four columns have been devoted to teaching your teen and preteen how to manage all kinds of negative group peer pressure. You’ve been given tips on teaching your child my proven effective Peer Pressure Reversal techniques which include the steps to:

  • Check Out the Scene
  • Make a Good Decision
  • Act to Avoid

Checking Out the Scene involves staying alert for clues to trouble invitations such as friends acting sneaky/whispering, looking around to see if anyone is looking or using peer pressure sentences such as “We won’t get caught” or “If you were my friend, you’d do this.” Making a Good Decision teaches how to think logically, not just emotionally. And Acting to Avoid Trouble teaches a multitude of ways to say no yet “save face” including making excuses, leaving, ignoring, acting shocked, returning the dare, etc. {Editor’s Note: Sharon is the award-winning author of fabulous books on this subject—for parents, teens and also one for elementary-age children. Her parent guide is extremely detailed on how to teach/rehearse this with your son/daughter. See sidebar for ordering details.}

Managing Peer Pressure – Role Playing

If you have been discussing this with your son or daughter, now is the time to do role-play skits with them to help them to develop quick thinking and responding. Practice a variety of age-appropriate skits with your child to allow them the opportunity to practice managing the peer pressure. Remind them that the goal is to get out of the trouble in 30 seconds or less. Why? Because when they take too long, it gives the trouble maker more time to convince them to go along. And even if they don’t waiver, they are likely to get into an argument with their buddy when taking too long.

A skit might look like this:

Parent: “Annie I’m going to pretend I’m a friend your same age and may try to talk you into trouble. I will only tell you where the scene takes place and then the action begins. Your job is to try to manage the trouble while keeping me as a friend—and do all of this within about 30 seconds. Ready? This first skit takes place in the hall at school between classes: Hey, Annie, did you do your math homework? I need to borrow just the last five answers, please!”

Annie: “It was hard, but at lunch I’ll be glad to show you how to do one to give you time to finish before class.”

Parent: “Couldn’t you just give me the answers?”

Annie: “No. The bell’s about to ring. Got to get to class. Bye.”

Parent: “Wow, Annie—that was quick thinking! Which of the ten response choices we learned did you use?”

Annie: “Well, I said no and I suggested a better idea.”

Parent: “Two better ideas actually—to help her and also to get on to class. I’m impressed.”

Continue more skits on either trouble ideas such as lying to parents, drinking alcohol, spreading an unkind rumor on Facebook, cutting someone out of the group, stealing, skipping, fighting, etc.—whatever is going on among the child’s peers in your locale. And praise lavishly when your child is successful! It’s even fun for them to set up a skit and let you try to handle it. You’ll be reminded about how tough it is to think and act quickly to peer pressure. Even five minutes of role-play skits per week will dramatically increase your child’s ability to manage negative peer pressure. And research shows that 87% of America’s teens face it daily!

Next month: Teaching this skill at a simplified level to elementary school children.

Copyright © 1985-2012, Sharon Scott. Gleaned in part from Sharon Scott’s Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed. No reproduction without written permission from author.

Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT, has been making a difference in peoples’ lives for 30 years though her international keynotes and workshops, her eight award-winning books, and her private counseling services. Five of her books are a charming series for elementary-age children that she “co-authored” with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas. Each beautifully illustrated book teaches a valuable living skill such as managing emotions in Life’s Not Always Fair, building character in Nicholas’ Values, and making wise choices in Too Smart for Trouble. Sharon’s best-seller for teens is How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed. Her books are available from HRD Press, 800-822-2801 orwww.hrdpress.com/SharonScott . For more information on Sharon’s many workshop topics that she can bring to your child’s school or community, please see her website at www.SharonScott.com.

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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