Apply rules to challenge negative peer pressure
Children seek out boundaries from peers and adults to understand what acceptable behaviour is. It’s important not to be afraid to ‘Parent’ and set clear boundaries for behaviour on and offline, taking the time to clearly explain why it’s beneficial for them (even if they don’t agree).
Use news stories to relate
Talk about something you’ve seen in the news or something they can relate to, to start a conversation about the potential risks of giving in to peer pressure. This is a useful approach as it depersonalises the conversation and is less likely to lead to confrontation.
Share your own experience of peer pressure
Talk about your own experience to show that it’s nothing new, it’s just experienced differently.
Explain what signs they could look out
Help them recognise when they feel pressured into doing something (i.e. fear of being humiliated, losing a friendship, being isolated, FOMO).
Help them build the confidence
Help them feel confident about saying no if they are asked to do something that puts them or others at risk or that they feel uncomfortable with.
Make sure they know who to talk to
If they can’t talk to you, make sure they are aware of organisations they can speak to for guidance, i.e. Childline or a trusted adult (sibling, aunt, uncle, family friend).
Importance of being ‘share aware’
Make sure they understand that anything they share or put out about themselves (even between friends) can be seen by everyone online – nothing is really private once it is shared online.
Never excuse bad behaviour by peer pressure
Some behaviours can be influenced by peer pressure but should not be an excuse to act out.