Peer Pressure Reversal: A Refresher
Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – Helping Kids Deal with Negative Peer Pressure
If you have been reading my columns for very long, then you are aware that I've written a number of books as well as lectured in schools internationally on the subject of negative peer pressure.
[Editor's Note: These are popular, award-winning books. The parent guide is "Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed. The teen guide used world-wide is "How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed." And the children's version is "Too Smart for Trouble" that is 'co-authored' with the author's cocker spaniel to make the learning fun. Must reading! www.hrdpress.com/sharonscott or 800-822-2801]
It's imperative that parents recognize that just knowing right from wrong is not sufficient to help a child resist a trouble invitation from a favorite friend or popular group at school. It's also important to realize how subtle peer pressure can be which means that kids will probably have difficulty identifying it. Friends aren't mean when they want you to do something wrong with them-they're generally very nice ("It'll be so fun-we won't get caught," "Everyone's doing it," "I thought you were my friend.").
Research shows that most children and teens face at least one peer pressure situation every single day such as requests to copy homework or cut someone out of the group or talk in class or ride your bike too far from home or gossip. As kids get older the invitations to trouble can become more serious including drinking, using other drugs, skipping class, fighting, sexuality decisions, and driving too fast.
Now that your child is back in school and around peers more, I suggest that you teach them my proven Peer
Pressure Reversal skills that include these steps:
1. Check Out the Scene (identify peer pressure quickly)
2. Make a Good Decision (think logically not emotionally)
3. Say No to Trouble (ten response choices)
I will be overviewing these steps in future columns. For now establish a dialog about peer pressure with your child. Don't ask them if they have any as they'll say "No"-kids don't like the idea that others control them. Plus they often mistakenly think that peer pressure is just about using drugs-not so! Perhaps share an example from your younger days (or even now) that involved peer pressure and what you learned from it. Also watch for examples of peer pressure in newspaper articles or TV news that would be good examples for what can happen when you listen to others, rather than listening to your own conscience.
Copyright © 2011, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please see my other column "Life Skills 101: Greetings!"
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.