Elementary Schoolers
Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Peer Pressure
Positive Discipline
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

Peer Pressure

Most people associate peer pressure with teenage drinking or drug use, but the reality is that peer pressure begins at a much earlier age, when kids are still in elementary school. Elementary school aged kids face a high level of peer pressure when it comes to the kinds of clothes they wear, how they do in school, and the kids that they hang out with. By addressing the issue of peer pressure at a young age you can instill in your children behaviors that will keep them safer and, ultimately, happier throughout the rest of their lives..

Peer Pressure and Being Different

At the root of all peer pressure lies the desire of every child to be like his or her peers. Feeling alienated from a group is not pleasant, and odds are that your kids will do what they have to in order to feel like they belong. The fact is, though, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being different. But how can parents teach this to their children?

  • Praise individuality. Every child has unique gifts and talents, so take the time to tell your children what it is about them, and no one else, that you love. Reinforcing their self-esteem will help ease the sting of feeling left out of a group and can arm your children with the confidence they need to stand up against peer pressure.
  • Explain how peer pressure works. Not every child aged 6 to 9 understands what peer pressure is, or why they give in to it. By putting the concept into words that your child understands, you can shed light on an important issue and help your son or daughter stand up for themselves.
  • Understand that not all peer pressure is bad. While it does have a negative connotation, peer pressure can help teach children accepted social behaviors and can even steer them in the right direction if your child's peers are good influences. For example, your child could benefit from doing his or her homework because their friends are doing it-- this form of peer pressure will not only boost grades, but instill great study habits.

By paying attention to the children your kids associate with and by helping them understand the importance of being unique, you can guide your kids through their experiences with peer pressure. Parents have the important role of teaching their children how to navigate the world, and understanding how it works and how they fit into it will help your children resist negative peer pressure and become a good influence on others.