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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Help your Child Deal with Peer Pressure - Avoid Falling Prey to It

By Andrew Loh

Walking away from peer pressure is a daunting task, especially when it is negative in nature. Saying no to negative peer pressure is often a challenging task that your children may face on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the types of peer pressure situations that your children face in their school are always negative and backward looking. The key to avoid falling prey to peer pressure is to develop inner strength and self-confidence. Resisting peer pressure is possible when your children also develop superior will power.

Here are some of the techniques and methods that can help your children avoid negative peer pressure situations:

Developing self-confidence: Developing self-confidence is a very potent tool to stop becoming a prey to negative peer pressure. Children, who feel good about themselves, will always find it easy to avoid getting into the trap of peer pressure. Children, who are confident about their abilities, may not be swayed by blind peer pressure. As a parent, your primary duty should focus on making your children self confident and courageous. Confident children will think about their abilities to make good judgments.


  • Explain why listening blindly to others is bad for your children.

  • Explain why developing independent thinking is good for them.

  • Tell them how some children in their classroom can be negative and force them to listen to their negative or bad opinions.

  • Explain how peer pressure can spoil their personality.

  • Ask your children about others in the classrooms, who exert unnecessary pressure to say or do something. Now, explain how your children can avoid them with all the politeness in the world.

Make your children proactive: Cajole your children to take part in some constructive activities. Activities like sports, field games, indoor games, music, dancing and trekking could boost their self-worth and self-esteem. There are some children who are ready to share all these positive activities. Make sure that your children mingle with these children. Proactive activities will make your children courageous and self-confident. If they are busy in such activities, they will face less problems with peer pressure situations.

Be a listener: Ensure that you listen to your children and their opinions. The main goal of this exercise is to make your children make wise decisions and be responsible to their actions. Making wise decisions will empower your children do right things at the right time. Parents will also need to help their children develop a sense of responsibility and duty conscious. Some real life situations may involve incidences of peer pressure. Now, you may ask your children a simple question - What would you do in a situation that you just saw now. This simple gesture will help your children give proper answers and later develop a strong opinion about bad effects of peer pressure.

Know your children's school and their friends: This is possibly the most important thing that a parent needs to do. You may wish to invite your children's friends to a weekend party and know who is the most dominating of them and who influences your children the most.

Explain why associating with negative consequences could be dangerous: Explain the importance of these sentences - “never ever, get into trouble” or “following other children blindly may lead to dangerous situations”. These simple words should act as prior warnings to your children.

Teach your children how to say NO with all the politeness: Saying NO is probably the most difficult thing in the world. You may need to teach your children why saying NO to troublesome classmates is beneficial in the end. You may also need to train your children which helps them face pressure situations with courage and boldness. Some of the important keywords are - “No thanks”, “May be next time”, “I will not join you. I am sorry", "Thank you, not this time” or “No, I can't. I am busy now”.

Converting negative peer pressure to positive one: It is possible to convert negative pressure into positive ones. An urge to perform better in a classroom can be a negative peer pressure to some children. Under this stressful situation, some children may lose confidence and self-esteem. Parents will need to encourage such children and direct their energy towards performing better in the next test. When children learn how to take peer pressure in a positive way, they will be able to concentrate their efforts towards heightened academic performance.

Featured Resource

Understanding Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents (The Duke Series in Child Development and Public Policy)
By Mitchell Prinstein, Ph.D and Kenneth Dodge, Ph.D

Scientists, educators, and parents of teens have long recognized the potency of peer influences on children and youth, but until recently, questions of how and why adolescents emulate their peers were largely overlooked. This book presents a comprehensive framework for understanding the processes by which peers shape each other's attitudes and behavior, and explores implications for intervention and prevention.

"The topic of peer influences has long been important to the field. This remarkable volume from distinguished editors and contributors proposes original and compelling conceptual models that will elucidate peer influence processes for researchers and students alike. In addition, many of the authors discuss general and specific implications of their work for prevention and intervention programs.


Featured Resource


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