Wednesday, February 28, 2018

5 Ways to Help Kids Handle Peer Pressure 

Peer pressure is a huge theme in the children's book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  And in the last blog post, we discovered that peer pressure can begin as early as kindergarten. 

Brett Laursen, PhD, a fellow of the American Psychological Association and professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, defines peer pressure essentially as influence.  He states that peer pressure begins as soon as children start to pay attention to what other children think about them. So, peer influence is seen in the very early grade school years. 

Laursen believes there are things parents can do:  
  • Explain to children that attempts to influence them are everywhere. 
  • Help children understand that our culture is full of influence attempts and peers are just another set of forces that are vying for our attention and are vying to shape our behavior.
  • Ask children how these influences make them feel.
  • Talk about how to resist that influence. 
  • Plan a strategy beforehand.

When the school year begins, students are dealing with classes, classmates, and other extra-curricular activities. Students may face an entirely different set of challenges with peer pressure. Parents may notice a change in how their child dresses or behaves at home.

Parents should have discussions about influences before their children start school.  According to Parent magazine, reading books about peer pressure is a good way to start that conversation.  Books can help young kids recognize peer pressure before it begins.