Encouraging Positive Peer Pressure
When most people say “peer pressure,” they’re talking about negative peer pressure. There is another side of this issue, though—positive peer pressure. Many people don’t realize that peer pressure can have a positive effect on children, but kids have the opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of other children by encouraging them to do good things.
- Encourage your children to be a positive influence on their friends. Calling it “positive peer pressure” may be confusing, but telling your kids they can help their friends make the right choices can go a long way.
- Model positive peer pressure in your own life—if one of your friends or family members is contemplating a tough decision, encourage them to make positive choices. Don’t be too forceful, but offer helpful advice and encouragement so there more likely to make the right decision.
- When you suspect that your children are engaging in negative peer pressure, suggest that they think more carefully about what they are encouraging other kids to do. Get your children to think about the effect they have on others. How can they have a more positive influence?
- If you see your child being overly forceful trying to get another child to make a choice (whether positive or negative), let them know that all kids need to learn to make their own decisions. Remind them that offering advice and giving good reasons for making a positive decision are the best ways to help someone make good choices.
- Even if you don’t think of peer pressure as being positive, your children can have a good influence on the other children around them. Help your kids be a positive influence on their peers by preparing them to resist negative peer pressure, make smart decisions, and encourage the kids around them to make positive decisions as well.
Peer pressure is a tough issue for parents and for kids. But while peer pressure can have many negative effects on kids, it can also be put to positive use. You can help prepare your child to deal with peer pressure by instilling self-confidence and good decision-making skills in her or him. Encouraging your child to exert a positive influence on her or his friends can help counteract some of the negative effects of peer pressure in your child’s life.