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​Tween Discipline Issue1234

Peer Pressure

Children are affected by ​peer pressure from the first time they play with siblings or other children. ​You can't make peer pressure go away, but you can teach your children how to deal with it. And, although we often think of peer pressure as bad, it is possible for your children's friends to influence them in positive ways.

Negative peer pressure is insidious. It is probably the No. 1 reason children get into trouble. It’s also the reason it’s so important for your tween to fall in with the right group of friends. For example, two siblings, raised by the same parents and with the same values, can turn out wildly different based on the groups of friends they choose as tweens and adolescents.

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, we encourage you to develop and maintain positive, open relationships with your tweens. If they feel they can trust you and rely on you, they’ll be less likely to give in to peer pressure and more likely to talk to you about it afterward.

It is also crucial to teach your children to think for themselves when others try to pressure them to do something. The SODAS method of problem-solving can come in handy here. Before acting in a particular situation, have your tween consider the following process:

  • Situation — Assess the situation and who is involved.
  • Options — Consider the options for resolving the situation, both good and bad.
  • Disadvantages — Determine the disadvantages of each option.
  • Advantages — Determine the advantages of each option.
  • Solution — Consider the options and their disadvantages and advantages, and formulate a solution.

Again, peer pressure isn’t always negative. If your child hangs out with a group of “good kids,” then that crowd may consider it “cool” to get good grades and participate in positive school activities, such as sports or music. Your tween’s choice of peers is extremely important, and you should closely monitor their interactions and relationships with other kids.

Teaching Activity

Role-Play Resisting Negative Peer Pressure

For this activity, you should come up with a variety of potentially negative situations — smoking, drinking alcohol, trying drugs, etc. — and then role-play with your tween how they can make the right choices in these situations. You can take turns being the “good” and “bad” peer in each situation. Role-playing is not only fun but also prepares your tween to respond appropriately in real-life situations.

Social Skill

Choosing Appropriate Friends

One of the most important ways to reduce the dangers of negative peer pressure in your tween’s life is to help them choose the right group of friends. Have them consider the following steps:

  1. Think of the qualities and interests you look for in a friend.
  2. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of potential friends.
  3. Match the characteristics of potential friends with activities and interests you would share.
  4. Avoid peers who are involved with drugs, gangs or breaking the law.

Coming up in Issue 3

Setting Expectations and Boundaries


Role-Play Different Expectations


Asking for Clarification

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