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How can I prepare my child for dealing with peer pressure?

Updated on March 22, 2012

Get that Foundation set!

Preparing your child for peer pressure begins early on in their development, even before pre-school. It is an important part of parenting. This is not to say that it will halt peer pressure completely, but will give them a good head start for the years to come in dealing with it for themselves. Once you have helped set a good foundation in place, your worries as a parent will be greatly diminished.

What is peer pressure?

Let us identify first just exactly what peer pressure is;

Peer: a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications,age, background, and social status.

Peer Pressure: Pressure influenced by a group to encourage conformity by changing their values, attitudes or behaviors.

Early Stages of Peer Pressure

Before pre-school it could be something as simple as swearing or using foul language, for example; Joey and Danny have a play date and are playing in the sand box. It’s time for Joey to go home so you go get him. On the way home he begins using some colorful language that he has never used before. How you handle it as a parent will help mold his ability to fight against peer pressure. Ignoring it might teach them that it’s ‘ok’ to do that. Talking with them and explaining just ‘why ‘it is wrong will be more effective in the long run. He will justify it by saying “Danny does it” – You see, peer pressure at the beginning stages?

Recognize the words

Any time a child uses the phrase “______ (insert your child’s friends name here) does it” is an opportunity to discuss dealing with peer pressure. You don’t necessarily have to use the words ‘peer pressure’ when talking with your child. Use words that they understand.

The 'Have to Have' signs

As they get a little older you may notice other areas of peer pressure in the ‘wants’ of your child. Certain items that are desired will give you clues as to the peer pressure they may be feeling. Choosing specific items such as clothes, shoes or backpacks that are requested using words like; “I HAVE to have these!” may be noticed. Some children may claim that their teacher says these items are required. To avoid encouraging peer pressure, but still trusting in your child, stop by or call the teacher. At this time you may request a list of required items and then discuss these with your child.

When you purchase certain items for your child that is not only expensive but unnecessary, you are not only encouraging peer pressure, but could also be assisting your child in putting peer pressure on other children. It will give them the opportunity to be able to ‘show off’, in other words causing another child to suffer from peer pressure.

Do you succumb to Peer Pressure?

More important than anything in the development of a child is being able to communicate with him/her. Talk with them; ask them how their day went, ask general questions and make sure when they answer you listen. The more you talk with and listen to your child the more clues you will pick up on what they are going through. If they come to you crying, do not dismiss their tears as being unimportant. To them, this is their world this is where they live, just as you have to live with the people you work with.

Take a look at your own life, are you ‘keeping up with the Jones-es’? Every time your best friend buys something do you run out and get bigger and better? What this teaches your child is in order to feel important they have to have material items. Children have a tendency to mimic their parents in certain ways, to help your child avoid peer pressure make certain that you are not affected by it. Rather than running out to buy something better than your friend; congratulate them on their purchase, making sure that your child hears this.

Think back..... The 'good old days'

Using catch phrases can be a fun way of teaching peer pressure avoidance. You may have heard your parents or grandparents using phrases like “If so ‘n so jumped off a bridge, would you?” Think back to your childhood and use some of those that you may have heard.

Words you might remember from childhood

Some of the phrases used to put peer pressure on a child are words such as these:

“Oh come on, everyone is doing it”

“What? Are you scared?”


“I DARE you!”

“What? Are you some sort of baby?”

In the world of a child, words hurt. Helping your child effectively deal with peer pressure very early and from the beginning will help set a good foundation for their life.

Start early - make a lasting impression

Dealing with peer pressure quickly will make their early days much easier because they won’t succumb to the influences of peer pressure. When children are under those influences they begin to have feelings of worthlessness because it’s difficult to keep up with what everyone else has.

If you are dealing with peer pressure at work, make sure that your child hears the conversation regarding this. It is important for them to understand and know that even adults have times when peer pressure is present. How well you handle this will help them in dealing with their own issues of peer pressure.

Children learn certain behaviors from their parents, always make sure you set a good example for them to follow. Getting started early will make a lasting impression that will make both your life and theirs, much easier. When you notice the good decisions that your child has made, make sure that you let them know you have seen it, and give them the compliment they deserve. Your approval is key in future decisions.


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      This is so true, children truly do learn by example, if we as parents set a good example for them to follow they will. We can only do our best and hope and pray for the best as well. My eldest daughter is also my total opposite, during her teenage years we did a lot of fighting and from time to time still have our moments. For the most part though she has done very well for herself and is learning more and more every day and is improving on those things which makes her a better person.

      If we give them the proper foundation we have to trust that they will build on it to the best of their abilities and maybe improve on what we taught them!!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Good general hub on peer pressure. My daughter is almost 5 and I notice these things now. I think the obvious advice is setting an hope. funny thing about parenting is that you dont know if you did right or wrong until your child gets there. So much of it is preparing them, but we cant prepare them specifically to who they are because we are not them- my daughter was pretty born opposite of me so I have to tr to understand her personality versus mine- what worked for me wont work for things change for different generations. Peer pressure is a lot different than even in my day when computers and tech didnt run the world. These kids today can be influenced by peer pressure literally 24/7

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 5 years ago


    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan


      Thanks! Yes you are correct, giving in will also cause behavioral problems in the future! Some parents don't know how to be firm when dealing with children.

      Thanks so much for the vote up and the sharing!!

    • William Gerace profile image

      William Gerace 5 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Susie fantastic Hub as always. As a former educator I saw too often how parents would give into their kids on the littlest whim. I can remember years ago when I was working in an autistic class and the child was acting up terribly using the foulest language and all the mother did was just say now you stop in the weakest voice. She also gave this little boy whatever he demanded. What I'm saying is and I don't want to sound rude to anyone what I would see as in this case of this little boy is when parents give them what they want which gives into peer pressure it also ties into behavior problems. If a parent is giving whatever their child wants and does the same when their neighbor buys something they are also that same parent that doesn't get after their children. It just seems to all correlate and go together. Of course this is just my opinion. Great Hub Susie I am voting this up and sharing.


    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you! Yes, I did put a lot of thought into this, because it is so IMPORTANT for children to be able to say 'no', and not really be bothered that they said it. Communication is the key to any good relationship and setting that foundation from birth and beyond will make everyone's life much easier.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      You put a lot of thought into this hub and have made some really great points but none better than talking things through with your kids, great job, voted up!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      I have the point of view "If I can get it for $1 why pay $10"? (or more) Yard sales, clearance sales, and thrift shops are a GREAT way to save money. I would tell my kids "Look it's all broke in, you don't have to do anything!!"

      We finally got an Atari when Nintendo was coming into style.. Just a little bit behind the times but it was still fun! My kids now purchase their own items of 'entertainment' and they take very good care of said items, because it was their hard earned income that bought it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • poowool5 profile image

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Good advice, Sweetsuieg, especially in these days of VERY expensive electronics! Parents simply cannot afford it, and often kids don't understand this, they just want to keep up with their friends.

      I think you're right that setting the tone as parents encourages the kids to be less acquisitive. I love yard-saling, and clearance racks...I'm not proud! ANd I couldn't care less if the next mom has a flashier car or purse! The kids see your example, they notice it all! Nice hub, voted up, thanks!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Will post it for you, susie, the moment after I write it. Still pondering on my choice of interviewing methods. As well as words to write!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      LOL - I too remember saying (in a whiny voice) "But Mom..... Everyone has one!!" Her response was always "Well you are NOT everyone"... She did me the biggest favor ever by not catering to my whims and demands as a child. When I cried she would hold me, stroke my head and say she understood... Then she would talk to me.... at length. We had a great many conversations.

      I have tried being the best role model I could possibly be for my children.

      P.S. - was looking for your Interview with Karma, feel free to post it so I can find it!!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Every new parent should memorize your words, susie. We are the role models for our kids and if we don't set the right examples for them, we should not be surprised at the negative behavior they may display.

      I do remember those days of the "But everyone has one ..." dialogue.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Well Sara, all I can say about this is you did me proud as a parent, I could not have asked for a better child. You learned well, did what you were supposed to as a child/teenager and have turned out quite nicely! I of course worried about you, but you did not cause me to worry about the decisions you made. They have always been sound decisions while retaining your own identity. Awesome job kiddo!!

    • profile image

      Sara 5 years ago

      Well I know what this is all about. And, Mom, you taught me very well.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • CreateHubpages profile image

      CreateHubpages 5 years ago

      This indeed a great articles for parents that has a children.