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Strategies Kids Can Use to Stand Up to Peer Pressure

Education.com featured an informative article about The Ups and Downs of Friendships: When Parents Don’t Like Their Child’s Friends. It stresses a very important point: “Helping children learn to deal with peer pressure and competition is more important than protecting them from it.”

Within the Kidtelligent system we share 3 strategies that parents can teach their kids to stand up to peer pressure. It was written by Janet Colbrunn, a Kidtelligent Idealizer and contributor in the Kidtelligent system.

In a world where home values are in direct contrast to the values of the world, parents are concerned about how to prepare their children to stand up for their beliefs and resist the temptations touted by society. Here are three things you can do to teach your kids how to stand up to peer pressure.

 

1. Talk to them about pressures they will face.

Parents need to teach and model the behaviors that they wish their children to emulate. Research shows that children, whose parents directly discuss the pitfalls of using alcohol or drugs and having sex before marriage, are much less likely to succumb than those who have had no parental input.

 

2. Teach them assertiveness.

Children should be taught how to speak and behave in an assertive manner. Talk about assertiveness by contrasting it with being passive or aggressive:

Passive or Unsure Behaviors:

  • Show poor posture and little eye contact.
  • Act nervous.
  • Do whatever others want you to do.
  • Let others get away with things that you don’t approve of.

Aggressive or Demanding Behaviors:

  • Disregard other’s rights.
  • Speak loudly.
  • Act angry and sarcastic.
  • Hurt people’s feelings.
  • Get in people’s faces.

Assertive or Confident Behaviors:

  • Stand up straight making good eye contact.
  • Speak clearly and confidently.
  • Respect the rights of others.
  • Don’t let others force you into doing something that you don’t want to do.

 

3. Practice refusal skills.

Have children practice refusal skills long before they may need to use them. Role-play with your children things they could say when they are pressured by their friends to do something that they shouldn’t do.

  • Ask questions. “What is it you are planning for us to do?”
  • Name why it is troublesome. “That’s against the rules.” “That’s illegal.” “I wouldn’t feel good about that.”
  • State what could happen. “If I do that my parents would kill me.” “We might get in big trouble.” “I’d feel bad about myself if I did that.”
  • Suggest another activity. “So why don’t we go to my house and play games?” “Hey, do you want to go to the park and shoot baskets?” “Let’s go buy a burger.”
  • Leave and leave the door open. “If you change your mind, I’ll be at my house.”

 

Children are much more confident about resisting peer pressure when they have adequately prepared to defend what they staunchly believe. Indeed, they may even become champions of positive peer pressure!

Learn more about Kidtelligent and get detailed personalized reports and professional insights into your children based on their personality. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Kidtelligent blog!

Janet Colbrunn is a parenting educator and school counselor. She has authored magazine articles and books on parenting skills and building family traditions. Mrs. Colbrunn can be contacted via email.