This article was originally featured on Momaha.com August 4, 2016.
Avoiding peer pressure is not easy for kids because they are desperately looking for acceptance and a place to fit in. The best way to help kids avoid peer pressure is to teach them how.
Here are four steps to help you teach your child how to avoid peer pressure.
1. Start out by sitting down and talking with your child at a neutral time. Explain to them the difference between positive and negative peer pressure. It is important to help your child understand there is a difference in peer pressure. Once you feel your child understands the differences in peer pressure, you can begin to teach them how to avoid negative peer pressure.
2. Next, use role-play to explore different scenarios where your child is being pressured and coach them on what to do or say. Give them examples of what to say and who to tell. Encourage your child to tell an adult if they are being pressured to partake in an unsafe or irresponsible situation. The more they practice the skill, the more likely they are to be able to actually implement the skill.
3. Help them create a plan for how they will respond if someone asks them to partake in something dangerous or questionable. Review this three-step plan for how to handle peer pressure
– First say no.
– If asked again, suggest something else to do.
– If asked a third time, walk away.
4. Keep communication open. Peer pressure is hard to avoid, however, if you continue to have open communication and a strong relationship with your child, you are more likely to know if your child is experiencing peer pressure. Make sure that you are regularly communicating with your child.
Avoiding peer pressure is an important skill to master. Make sure you are communicating, teaching and practicing this skill with your child so they feel more comfortable when they need to use it.