By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT

woman in conversationLast 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.

Overcommit – People Pleaser

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.

Keeping Up with Jones’s

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!

Another common peer pressure in adults 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 Facebook page. These two examples encourage isolation from the family and really are not age appropriate.

Adult Peer Pressure

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 experiencing peer pressure in adults, 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.

Enjoying Childhood

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.

Saying “No” and Keeping Friends, Peer Pressure Part 1

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