All parents worry about their children being influenced negatively by their peers, but it’s important for us to prepare our children and teach them how to handle it effectively. They often just want to fit in with their peer group, and can find themselves feeling pressured to behave in certain ways or do things they don’t want to do, so we need to teach them the skills to respond in a way which doesn’t compromise their values or their safety. Here’s some tips from an independent school in Sussex on how you can prepare your child for dealing with peer pressure.


Explain peer pressure
Some children might not realise when they’re being pressured into acting or behaving a certain way, so it’s a good idea to explain what peer pressure is and what it looks like. That way your child will find it easier to spot when it’s happening, which is the first step in dealing with it appropriately. You might be able to find an educational TV programme or a book which explains it in a way they’ll easily understand.

Identify values
Talk to your child about moral values and help them identify what’s most important to them in life. This will make it easier for them to recognise when they’re being encouraged to act in a way which goes against their values. Make it clear what your values are as well so they know what you expect from them, and make sure you model them yourself.

Celebrate difference
Help your child understand how everybody is different and unique, and that this is something to be celebrated rather than feared. Accepting their own individuality as well as other people’s will give them the confidence to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. They’ll also feel more confident asserting their opinions and boundaries, and respecting other people’s ideas and needs.

Explore compromise
Role play different scenarios with your child and explore a variety of ways they could respond when feeling pressured. Help them understand that they have a choice and sometimes it’s possible to find middle ground and diffuse the situation. The best way you can explain compromise is by demonstrating it yourself in your interactions with your child and others. They’ll then see what it means to work with someone to reach an agreement that suits both parties.

Peer pressure is inevitable at some point or another, but teaching your child strategies for managing it effectively will empower them to assert themselves confidently and make the right choices.

*Collaborative Post