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Peer Pressure: Be Your Best Self
Peer pressure can be positive or negative. A child’s positive influence over another can challenge that child to eat more fruits and vegetables, potty train quicker, or learn to tie their shoes. On the other hand, negative pressure can erode a child’s self-confidence, cause an already shy child to withdraw, or place a child in harm’s way.
Your involvement in your child’s life can help protect them from factors such as peer pressure that put them at risk for substance use later in life. The following exercises will help your child learn how to deal with stress, impulse control, and peer pressure. In addition, these activities are designed to build your child’s self-confidence and refusal skills to help him/her value their own opinions and resist negative peer pressures. Consistent across studies, children with low self-confidence and refusal skills are more likely to engage in alcohol use when they are older. Therefore, it is important to help your child build the necessary skills now in order to prevent risky behaviors, such as substance use, from happening later on in life.
A FAMILY OF BALLOONS
Celebrate your child’s accomplishments and help them build the confidence to say “no” to negative peer pressure!
All you need for each family member is:
Have everyone in the family pick their favorite color balloon and construction paper. Help young children cut the construction paper into 2 inch wide strips.
Next, blow up the balloons for each child and tie on the string or ribbon. Help children glue their photographs to the balloons and place their construction paper strips along the string.
Note: If you don’t have balloons and construction paper, print out copies of “Be Your Best Self” (see below) and have the child place his/her photos (or self-drawn portraits) inside the balloon drawing. Then, help your child write out what he/she believes they are really good at. Make sure you hang the finished work where others can see it.
My Very Best Self!
The following exercise consists of two parts. The first part of the exercise will teach your child different ways to say “no” and resist outside peer pressure to engage in risky behaviors. The second part of the exercise includes a role-play activity in which you will play the part of your child’s friend who is pressuring your child to participate in deviant behaviors. Your child will play the part of herself/himself and have the opportunity to refuse the peer pressure. Encourage your child to use the information learned in Part 1 so they can practice different ways to say “no.”
Part 1: Ways to Say No
Part 2: Role-Play Exercise
Role-playing is one strategy that can be used to help children build their skills and confidence to say “no” to risky behaviors.
The following role-play examples will provide your child with an opportunity to practice their refusal skills. You will be assigned the role of the friend encouraging your child to participate in risky behaviors. Your child will respond to the situation and practice their skills of refusing the peer pressure.
Please note: Your child’s answers will vary; however, we have provided an example answer for each situation. Encourage your child to use different ways to say “no” to the peer pressure from Part 1 of this activity.
Updated on 5/1/2012