Children often seek a sense of belonging at school and will engage in certain behaviors to fit in among their peers (someone in their age group). Even in preschool they are becoming concerned with what their friends think and do.
Children want to be well liked and included in a group, which makes them susceptible to peer pressure (influence that members of the same age group can have over each other). Peer pressure has been shown to affect children as early as preschool age and becomes an even greater risk as they transition into middle and high school.
Fitango Education Health Topics Peer pressurehttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=474
OverviewChildren often seek a sense of belonging at schooland will engage in certain behaviors to fit in amongtheir peers (someone in their age group). Even inpreschool they are becoming concerned with whattheir friends think and do. 1
OverviewChildren want to be well liked and included in agroup, which makes them susceptible to peerpressure (influence that members of the same agegroup can have over each other). Peer pressurehas been shown to affect children as early aspreschool age and becomes an even greater risk asthey transition into middle and high school. 2
Positive and negativePeer pressure can impact children both positivelyand negatively - positive peer pressure mayinfluence a child to engage in healthy behaviorswhile negative peer pressure can eventually leadto risky behaviors such as substance use. Everychild is susceptible to various forms of peerpressure. Research indicates that parents andcaregivers that engage in an authoritativeparenting style - a child-centered approach oftenreferred to as balanced parenting wheremonitoring and support are above av 3
Positive and negativePeer relationships (relationships with children theirown age) are important in a child’s life as they formthe basis of friendships and, help develop certainsocial skills, such as cooperation, negotiation andconflict resolution. The importance of choosingand forming these relationships is vital even duringthe preschool years as peers have been shown tohave strong influences on risky behaviors later onin life. 4
Ways of exerting pressurePeer pressure in young children usually revolvesaround what toys to play with or what games toplay. Children also exert pressure throughteasing, name-calling, withholding friendship, andby threatening exclusion from play. They may alsodare each other to leap from high places orsqueeze into tight spaces, inviting bodily harm.Later on, as your child transitions into middleschool, that pressure becomes more intense askids try to conform or “be cool” in order to beincluded in the group 5
Preparing your childStart building the foundation to help children dealwith those who might try to pressure them intodoing something risky. Once children approachadolescence, they will encounter greater negativepeer pressure to engage in very risky behaviors,such as smoking, drinking, and sexual activity andwill need the confidence to stand up forthemselves. 6
Preparing your child-- Say “NO.” You set limits for your child; youshould practice parental monitoring by saying “no”to something that is against your rules or couldimpact them negatively. They, too, can learn to say“no,” sometimes over and over again to resist peerpressure. 7
Preparing your child-- Then, teach them how they could use some ofthese tactics to say “no” to their peers who maytry to influence them to do something that isagainst the rules. They could: change the subject;suggest another activity; say, “I can’t, I’m notallowed”; ignore the other child; or, just walkaway—all of these are useful refusal skills. 8
Preparing your child-- Choose good friends. Know who your child’sfriends are and remind him/her that a good friendwould not try to force him/her to do somethinghe/she should not do. 9
Preparing your child-- Make good decisions. It is not too early to helpchildren think carefully about the outcome andconsequences of an act before they do it. Thinkaloud and let your child listen to your decision-making processes, as you weigh options andpotential outcomes. 10
Preparing your child-- Value themselves. Praise your children forsomething they do well, encourage them inpositive, healthy pursuits, and surround them withpeople who value them. These actions increasetheir self-confidence and make it difficult forsomeone else’s opinion of them to be moreimportant than their own. 11