Children School Age: Peer Proofing Your Child, Part 5
Peer Proofing Your Child – Teen, Part 5
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT
Last month I overviewed the 3-step skill to teach your teen to help them in managing all kinds of negative peer pressure. This month the focus will be on the simpler version for the elementary-age child called
‘Too Smart for Trouble’ is a logical, common sense way to prepare children in grades K-5 how to think on their own and make good decisions. Many parents are surprised to know that even kindergartners have negative peer pressure. It often sounds like this: “If you’re my friend, you’ll play this game with me” or “I’m mad at Suzy so don’t talk to her.”
In addition, younger children are often influenced by their peers to ride their bikes too far from home, play with a gun, talk in class while the teacher is lecturing, make fun of someone for any number of reasons, and cut people out of the group, and much more.
is one in 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.
It’s really good to begin teaching these important living skills to young children as you can save them the self-esteem damage from being uncomfortable not knowing what to say when asked to do something wrong.
Also, it prevents you from issuing as many consequences for misbehavior as they will be able to make better choices when asked to do something wrong. This skill is outlined in great detail in my guide for parents,
An overview of the ‘Too Smart for Trouble’ skills involves teaching your child to:
1. Look and Listen (you’re teaching them to notice subtle clues to trouble invitations such as a friend whispering or acting secretively);
2. Make a Good Decision (you’re encouraging your child to listen to themselves and what you’ve taught them);
3. Say No to Trouble (there are multiple response choices including leaving, coming up with a better idea, or joking one’s way out of trouble).
In order to become successful in using the ‘Too Smart for Trouble’ skills when needed, your child must have ample opportunity to practice with you. One suggested way to give him or her that needed practice is by role-play skits.
You would set up the scene by telling your child where the skit takes place and that you are pretending to be a same age peer. The skits begins and you will try to talk your son or daughter into doing something that would be an age-appropriate trouble invitation that they would likely encounter at school or in the neighborhood.
If they become stuck at how to handle a situation, stop and discuss ideas by letting them generate ideas (avoid too much telling what to say or do), then begin again and let them try out their ideas.
It’s very important that your child be able to manage the trouble in about 30 seconds or less otherwise they can easily be influenced by the pressuring peer. Praise them a lot for their efforts and be gentle with your suggestions! They need to feel good for doing good.
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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