Sharon Scott Family Counselor

Peer Proofing Your Child/Teen, Part 4

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When they’re caught in a peer-engineered trap, children or teens can free themselves by making use of a skill I developed called Peer Pressure Reversal (PPR) and outlined in some of my books (listed in the sidebar). This skill is to be taught to the youth by caring adults’whether a parent, guardian, relative, counselor, teacher, Scout leader, or youth director.

For example, most children and teens get into trouble when peers challenge them with taunts such as ‘Chicken?’ or ‘Mama’s baby!’ The typical defense is ‘No, I’m not,’ which is ineffective, since it’s an opening for the friend to influence the child with additional comments like ‘Prove it!’ As kids move into adolescence, the peer pressure often becomes internal. The youth think ‘everyone is doing it.’ In other words, they may be assuming others won’t like them if they don’t go along with the trouble idea even if that has not been stated. PPR gives children a repertoire of effective responses to reverse negative peer pressure.

When kids have been taught the Peer Pressure Reversal skill, most use it within 24 hours of learning it when friends want them to cheat, talk in class, lie to a parent about planned activities, smoke a cigarette, gossip, or other such trouble invitations. The PPR skill makes the child more responsible by heightening awareness of trouble traps, develops good judgment, and increases self-esteem, self-discipline, and strength of character. It affords the child the ability to take action quickly and be able to say ‘no’ in such a way that the youth still feels that he or she can fit in and maintain friendships

We will briefly overview the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the three-steps of the PPR skill. There’s nothing too difficult here and plenty of good, common sense. Basically, we want the youth to Check Out the Scene (which teaches them to notice the trouble situation), which helps them to Make a Good Decision (understand its consequences for them), so that they are able to Act to Avoid Trouble (know what to say or do to protect themselves from unpleasant consequences).

As the child makes better decisions and becomes more responsible, you will begin to trust the child more and grant more privileges and freedom. As a result, there is less conflict in the family, and everyone is happier. Next month we will overview more specifics of this three-step technique that I often call a modern-day survival skill.

Excerpted from

Copyright 2018, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.

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 ScottCounselor's CornerPeer PressurePeer Proofing Your Child/Teen, Part 4By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT Listen to a Podcast with Sharon ScottWhen they're caught in a peer-engineered trap, children or teens can free themselves by making use of a skill I developed called Peer Pressure Reversal (PPR) and outlined in some of...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids