(A True Peer Pressure Story)

family counselor child help As many of you know, I've written numerous books for children, teens, parents and educators on the subject of negative peer pressure (Editor's Note: Go to HrdPress

Here is an example of a peer pressure decision a 13 year old client of mine once had to make. There is no clear cut answer to this which makes it a good topic to discuss with your child. It involves attitude, values, character and more. So I suggest you read the below paragraph to your child and let him or her talk through it and decide what he or she would do. Remember to do more listening than talking'you want your child to do the thinking.

This is a true story, but I am changing the names (and a few other points) to protect privacy.

Jake and Sam have been best friends since they met in first grade. They have always attended the same school and some years were in the same class together. They have also played on the same sports teams. Sam has severe attention deficit hyperactive disorder which causes him to sometimes act quite silly, be overly rambunctious and talk out of turn. However, Jake understood that this was just who Sam was and didn't let it bother him. In elementary school, the other kids didn't seem to pay too much attention to Sam. There were a few kids who teased Sam and Jake felt sorry for him. Jake was basically Sam's only friend and they visited at each other's homes often.

When these boys entered middle school, the other kids seemed to really notice Sam's antics and thought him very immature. He would sometimes act goofy and Jake would tell Sam to stop it, but he seemed unable to do so. Jake was now being teased for being friends with Sam. In the school cafeteria, Jake wanted to sit with his new friends. But the other kids didn't want Sam at the table.

As Jake continued to try to get Sam to cut it out and leave him alone, Sam got his feelings hurt and started to call Jake names. Jake felt caught in the middle of this situation and would sometimes go home very sad and not even want to go to school the next day.

Task: Have your child discuss the pros and cons of Jake keeping Sam as a friend. On the one hand, these boys have a long friendship. On the other hand, Jake is concerned that he can't fit in with others with Sam hanging around. What would you do?

Copyright ' 2010- 2014, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.

P.S. Please see my other column SmileNotes.

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

peer pressure reveral book coverThe 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.


how to say no and keep friends book coverHer 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.


too smart for trouble book coverSharon 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


Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT, is an internationally recognized family therapist with a private practice in north Texas. She is considered the leading expert on peer pressure having trained more than one million people across the U.S. and in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey, and Micronesia in her proven techniques. For information on bringing Sharon to your community or school to present one of her 29 dynamic workshops for children, teens, parents, or educators, please see her website www.SharonScott.com .
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Peer Pressure Experienced by Teens, Adolescents and School-age Children. Parenting Advice.

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