Positive Peer Pressure

By Joey and Carla Link

September 14, 2022

Most of us care what others think and we all too often change our attitudes, values and actions to conform with others so they accept us. When I think of peer pressure my first thought is usually negative, I think because of the word “pressure”. Isn’t it funny that few of us want to be pressured into doing anything, yet we are all susceptible to whims of others. Out of curiosity I looked it up to see what the dictionary said it meant. It is “being influenced by your peers to make a decision, good or bad.”
The problem is this; you aren’t with your kids when peer pressure strikes and you often have no idea that it is the root of your kid’s attitude and wrong actions. When kids start sliding in one area, like trying to get in with the popular crowd at school regardless of their values, they continue the slide in other areas as well, and you see that at home in negative ways.
The best way to avoid peer pressure is to have a strong family unit. No matter what our kids were involved in, they knew they had a cheering section rooting them on. This was ingrained in all three of them. Joey and I were pleasantly surprised when our youngest daughter was in the high school state band competition, both her siblings came to the event from the colleges they were attending, which took considerable effort on their part, to cheer her on. When someone said something to them our son said, “She was there for us, so it is our turn to be there for her.”
We ask you, do your kids support each other and believe in each other? Do they want to do things together? We had a family night on a regular basis. Ours was non-negotiable.
When our kids were little, we planned this time together. It isn’t about entertainment, it is about being together, talking and laughing together. Rarely did we go to a movie or watch a video during family night.
The second thing you can do is to teach your kids how to build healthy friendships. As long as your children live in your home you have influence over their choice of friends. When your kids have friends/family with similar values, their character becomes a source of positive peer pressure to those around them.
Teach your kids to build good friendships:
Teach them to look for friends that come from families with the same standards and values as yours. Proverbs 13:20
Teach them to look for kids who do not need to be part of the popular kid group.
Teach them to look for friends that like their own family.
Teach them to focus on the positive.
Teach them to focus on the needs of others first.
Teach them discernment.
Let them know they can always come to you for advice and counsel.
We often told our preteens/teens we trusted them, and we did. We would go on to say we didn’t trust the situation wouldn’t get out of hand. We’re so thankful to learn about the way of escape in the Growing Kids God’s Way parenting class.
We’d ask our kids to give us 3 ways the event they were thinking of attending could blow up in their faces.
They had to give us a way they would remove themselves from that event in case it did get out of hand.
They were creative and wise in their solutions to escaping from trouble so they had more freedom than many other kids their age, yet often after thinking it through they would decide not to go.
Do you work with your kids to come up with ways of escape? For young children we told them their way of escaping trouble always was to come find us and we would help them.
“It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” This statement applies to more of us than teens. When dealing with kids being negatively influenced by peers, try to remember that even as adults we are affected by peer pressure every day.
“Do not be misled, “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)