Teaching Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure

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As parents, something we tend to worry about is our children bending to peer pressure, especially as they get a little older and their peers start to experiment with sex, alcohol, smoking and even drugs. Even as adults it can be difficult to resist the power of a group trying to persuade us to do something we’re not entirely comfortable with. With that said, it’s important for parents to try and equip their youngsters with the necessary skills to think independently, have the confidence to stand up for what they think is right, and generally, just resist peer pressure during their school years and beyond. Here’s some advice from a family-friendly school in the Cotswolds.

Talk About Peer Pressure
Start by helping your child understand the difference between peer pressure and peer influence by sharing some examples. Peer pressure is when someone tries to convince you to do something you don’t want to do because it is immoral or unsafe, like bullying, stealing, smoking, etc. Peer influence is far less dangerous and may just be following the latest fashion trends or listening to music that other people listen to. It might help your child if you share some of your own experiences of peer pressure and what the outcome was. Ask them if they have any experiences of their own to share but avoid judgement because this won’t encourage an open and honest relationship between the two of you.

Teach Your Child to Say No
Explain to your child that it’s ok to be different and go against the grain, so to speak. They don’t have to agree with everything another person is saying or doing and there are ways to say no without coming across as rude or disrespectful. Highlight the benefits of being different and standing apart from the crowd. Help your child learn how to compromise. For instance, rather than saying a flat “no”, they could say “I don’t think that’s very safe, why don’t we do this instead?”.

Talk to Your Child About Perspective
Ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the person that is pressuring them. Are they being bullied themselves and want to take back some control by bullying someone else? Are they insecure? If they can see the situation from a different perspective, it might be easier for them to stand up for themselves.

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