Peer pressure

It used to be something that we worried about with teens. But it seems that younger children need to learn how to deal with peer pressure these days. There is a lot of peer conflict in primary school and sometimes kids get caught up in stuff that they don’t really anticipate or know how to manage.

For example, a child thinks it would be a good idea to hide someone else’s lunch bag. Maybe just for a laugh, to annoy that kid, or to make him angry. This is a simple example. It seems like a bit of a lark. But it also may be one act in a stream of events targeting one particular child, in which case it would be bullying.

The protagonist gets other kids involved in the scheme. Some of those kids may think it’s a good idea, but some might not and they don’t know how to say ‘no’ without fear of ridicule or losing the friendship.

Peer pressure is when your friends or other kids your age try to get you to do something that you don’t want to do. It is very hard to say ‘no’ to your friends, and it sometimes takes a lot of courage.

The steps in dealing with peer pressure are:

  1. Calm down, using calming down strategies (belly breathing, talking ourselves through it, counting backwards, thinking calming thoughts);
  2. Think the problem through;
  3. Be cool, calm, and confident, and use an “I statement’ to let the other people know what you think in a polite way;
  4. Tell the other kids why you don’t think it’s a good idea;
  5. Suggest something else to do for fun.


These steps can be hard for kids to do. They may need some support from a trusted adult to help walk them through it. Kids also need to know who they can go to if the situation is dangerous or doesn’t stop.

Narelle Smith


Categories: Skills for Kids

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