Peer Proofing Your Child, Part 4 – Counselor’s Corner
Peer Proofing Your Child/Teen, Part 4
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT
To help youth manage negative peer pressure, we must try to give them back their childhood! Parents need to hold their children accountable for their actions, to praise them for good behavior, to spend quality (and quantity!) time with their children, and to communicate regularly (and not just while hauling them to their next activity or on the ride to school).
In addition, youth can be taught my “Peer Pressure Reversal” skill (PPR) that is a logical, common sense way to say ‘no’ to trouble yet save face and still be liked. It is outlined in detail in my classic book for parents/educators, Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed. and my guide for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed.
« Check Out the Scene (notice and identify trouble in 30 seconds or less)
« Make a Good Decision (understand and choose consequences)
« Act to Avoid Trouble (ten response choices such as act shocked, use flattery, make a true excuse, or return the challenge)
Teaching children and teens specifically how to manage negative peer pressure can give them not only the skill, but also the confidence to think on their own. Results from the Dallas Police Department’s First Offender Program (where I initially developed this skill) reduced recidivism (repeat offenders) with delinquent adolescents by 43% following ‘Peer Pressure Reversal’ training.
And schools nationwide where I’ve trained the students and staff in ‘Peer Pressure Reversal’ skills training show impressive decreases in referrals to the office for misbehavior. For example, results from one middle school (Webb, Garland, Texas) where I trained all 1,060 students, the faculty, and parents, too, resulted in a 75% decrease in fighting, 37.5% decline in referrals to the office for not following directions, 17.7% decrease in disruptive activity, and 25% fewer office referrals for misbehavior on the bus among other impressive results.
Our adult mantra of ‘”ust say no” or “leave” is not likely to give youth the skills nor the courage they need when faced with pressuring peers who are encouraging them to cheat, fight, skip school, cut others out of the group, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, play with guns, or any of the other trouble invitations that they are likely to receive.
If children are going to survive in this overly fast-paced, sophisticated world in which they live that encourages them to grow up too fast, it is imperative that parents, educators, professional helpers, religious leaders, and other concerned adults teach them how to say “no” while maintaining their friendships and their dignity.
Copyright 2018, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
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.
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