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Peer Pressure
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Elementary-School-Aged Child and Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a natural occurrence in every child's life and can start the second your child walks in the school doors. It's important to take peer pressure seriously because it has the potential to impact the decisions your child makes. Many children need help standing up to their peers and making the right decision, and that's where you come in.

Communicate about Peer Pressure

In order to have influence over what decisions your child makes you'll want to develop a strong bond with them and thus, a strong line of communication. If you want your child to be open and honest with you then, you need to do the same with them. Below are some tips to help your child deal with the stress of peer pressure:

  • Good communication. Ask your child how their day was and what happened regularly, even if they seem annoyed. In fact, if they seem upset or annoyed about your questions they've probably had a rough day. Always be open and ready to listen when your child decides to come to you.
  • Be involved. Share in your child's favorite activities with them. Be aware of what movies, TV shows, books, music and websites they like. Also, know where your child is at all times and get to know their friends.
  • Take a breather. When your child is asked to engage in a particular activity, encourage them to step back and think about it. For example, if their friend just called and asked them to go skating maybe they'll say, "I have to talk it over with my mom, I'll call you back shortly." This will give your child the chance to discuss the details and allow you to come to a decision together. Additionally, when a complex or hard decision is at stake, encourage your child to make a pros and cons list with you. This will help them feel less stressed about the decision and also see probable outcomes.
  • Lay the law. Establish rules that are followed regularly. Homework should be completed before playtime, everyday. You might also decide to assign weekly age-appropriate chores that have to be completed.
  • Healthy relationships. Talk to your child about the qualities they look for a friend. You can also encourage healthy social get-togethers like play dates.
  • Talk about the future. Talk with your school-aged child about things they might hear about in school, such as drugs, alcohol and sex. You'll want to explain the dangers and consequences of participating in such activities. You can also supplement your talks by watching movies or television shows with your child that address these issues appropriately and shows real life consequences.

Don't Wait to Talk with your Child about Peer Pressure

You don't want to wait until it's too late to talk with your child about peer pressure. It's important to prepare them for things they may encounter currently or in the future. Preparation of these events will allow them to know what's coming and thus, make them feel more comfortable about making the right decision.