13 Ways to Help Our Kids Prepare for and Deal with Peer Pressure

Last updated on September 13th, 2015 at 12:20 am

The school bell has rung and the new school year is in full force. No matter where we live, or where our children go to school, all kids have something in common; they will be faced with peer pressure. As parents, there is much we can do to help our children prepare for, and deal with the pressure that will come from their peers.

1.  Believe in our kids, they will believe in us.

Our kids need to know WE believe in them. We know they can make right choices and we know they are strong. Tell them. Point out their good choices and the consequences of right choices. Point out their strengths.

We as parents also need to make right choices. Are we being the best parents we can be? Our children should expect that we would protect them, and do what is best for them. Even if they grumble, or disagree, it is our job to stand our ground and do what is best, not be their BFF.

2.  Communicate with our Children: The 3 B’s: (Be Available, Be Present, Be Patient)

As parents, we need to keep the lines of communication open with our children. Especially as they start into their teenage years. How can we do this? Start young, very young, and be available,  present and patient.

First, we have to be available. It we are not available, how can our children/teenagers talk to us. We don’t have to announce that we are ready to talk, we have to naturally be there. Be there after school, turn the music off when driving in the car, eat a meal together, be awake when kids come home. Find something that your child likes to do and do it with them. It is the perfect time to not only allow our children to tell us what they are dealing with, but, it is a time for us to talk to them about the pressures that they might be feeling at school and with their friends. We have been there, we know what is going on. Sometimes our kids need us to bring things up because they don’t know how.

Once we have made time and are available, we need to be present. We need to stop thinking about all the other things we need to do, and really be in the conversations. Give our children our undivided attention.

Last, be patient and realize that communication happens over time. It is built on trust and experience. Always be available and present, and our children will start to open up.

3.  Express Love

Knowing we are loved gives us confidence and strength. Even if a child does something wrong, NEVER withhold love as a consequence. Our children should know that our love is unconditional.

4.  Be Confident Parents: We matter more than peers.

Naturally, children do not want to disappoint their parents, this can single handedly keep children from falling to peer pressure.

5.  Role Play

This is a powerful way for us to prepare our children to fight against peer pressure. Be the forceful friend and “act out” different real life situation.

Ask hard questions….

  • “What if someone offers you drugs”?
  • “What if your friend asks you to steal something”?

Work through what your child could say. It will make it so much easier when it really happens. It is like a memory reflex and the answers will come to your child much easier. They won’t be caught off guard when it happens.

6.  Talk about peer pressure.

Tell our children about peer pressure, explain what it feels like, why it happens, and when you have had it happen to you. Give them examples of times when you were faced with peer pressure and how you overcame it. Or, if appropriate, when you fell to peer pressure and the consequences for your decisions. There is strength in our children knowing we understand because we have been there. As parents when you see peer pressure happening, point it out. Our children can have a hard time seeing it.

7.  Set rules…AND…Follow through

Set rules, for the every day, and if they fall to peer pressure (ex, drink the beer). Make the consequences VERY CLEAR, and…enforce the consequences. We can talk all we want, but if we don’t follow through, our children will know they can get away with breaking the rules. Make it clear to your children that just because “everyone was doing it”, doesn’t mean that it is okay.

8.  Don’t let kids stay the night

Sleeping away from home makes it a lot easier for our children to fall to peer pressure. Why, because they don’t have to come home to their parents. There can be too much freedom away from home for an extended period of time.

9.  Wait up for your child

Be awake when your kids come home. Teens will think twice about falling to peer pressure when they have to come home and face you. It is also a really good time for you to be present and talk with your kids about their night.

10  Encourage Opinions

It is okay for our children to have an opinion. In fact we want them to have opinions about what is right and wrong, and how they feel about sex, drugs and alcohol. Help them develop their opinions. Have conversations where you help your children think through the how’s and why’s. Teach them to be critical thinkers. It will give them confidence, and children with opinions are more likely to speak their minds, which is exactly what they need to do to stand up to peer pressure.

11.  Teach Conflict Resolution

We deal with conflict our entire lives; at home, at work, at school. Standing up to peer pressure can bring conflict. Teaching our children conflict management skills will not only prepare them for peer pressure, but, prepare them for life. Home is a great place to practice dealing with conflict. As a parent, when there is a problem, we want to jump in and fix it. Don’t. Let children do all they can to work out a resolution on their own. You will be surprised to find that kids can, and will solve their own arguments and conflicts.

12.  Teach our kids how to choose good friends.

Our children need to be taught social skills, and how to choose good friends, and be a good friend. Encourage them to choose friends with similar core values and beliefs. Teach them what friendship means, and how good friends treat each other. (A good friend doesn’t pressure you to do anything).

13.  There will be mistakes, don’t make them public

When our children do fall to peer pressure, don’t make it public. Spreading the word about your child’s poor choices will not help them make better choices. It will just weaken your relationship. It will hurt the trust that you have tried to build and weaken your children’s resolve. Instead, teach them how to take responsibility for their choices. Help them reflect on what has happened and why.

We owe it to our children to prepare them for the peer pressure they will face. It will not only help them, but help our family relationships as well.

Have your children felt the pressure of their peers?

How do you handle good and bad choices your children make?

Do you ever have a hard time enforcing consequences?

About the Author

Heather Ann Johnson is a homemaker, wife and mother. She and her husband have 4 children. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at Brigham Young University where she teaches students the principles behind successful families. Her blog, Family Volley, answers reader’s questions about families, marital relationships, and raising children. A firm believer that families should play together, Family Volley features a new activity or game for families every Friday. Heather is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team

Comments

One Response to “13 Ways to Help Our Kids Prepare for and Deal with Peer Pressure”

  1. A great topic to read about. My son’s just into the first grade and I can already see changes. I’m hoping he’s an Alpha like me but all kids are subject to pressure and I just want him comfortable enough to tell me if anything is happening.

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