Dealing with Peer Pressure
Even though we can learn how to make wise decisions and choose to do the right thing, sometimes PEER PRESSURE gets in the way. Our friends may suggest that we do things or go places that we may decide are not right. It can be hard to tell a friend NO. Sometimes children and teens even ask their parents to please "say I cannot go there" or "do a specific thing" because it is easier to have a person in authority back them up in their decision. But, there are some tools that can be learned that can help children and teens as they deal with PEER PRESSURE.
By practicing the technique offered in this tool, support can be gained in making dealing with friends who don't want to do the right thing.
Here is an example:
- Friend: Hey, let's go back behind the church during prayer meeting. I have a cigarette that I got from Mark and we can see what it is like to smoke.
- You: No, that's against my parents rules and it is bad for our health. If I went with you and we got caught, my parents would ground me for a long time! They might even say that we cannot be friends any more. And it would be bad for our lungs.
- You: Instead, why don't we see if Mr. Jones needs help operating the video equipment tonight during prayer meeting. Maybe he will let us do the actual filming tonight.
- Friend: I'd rather go behind the church and smoke.
- You: I'm going into the church to talk to Mr. Jones. If you change your mind, I will be there and will let you help me run the video camera. I hope to see you there.
When a friend suggests doing something that you don't feel is right, these are the steps.
1) Name the trouble.
No, I don't want to do that because it is (illegal, theft, vandalism, against family rules, possession by a minor, assault, unkind to others, etc).
By naming the trouble, you are expressing the bottom line or the nitty-gritty of the situation. You are making it real.
2) Name the Consequences
If we got caught we could (get a fine, be kicked of the soccer team, be arrested, have our driver's licenses taken away, etc.)
By naming the consequences you are using alerting your friend to the seriousness of the situation. You are helping him/her see what could happen if you get caught.
3) Present an Alternative
What could you do instead of the "trouble"? Think of things that your friend(s) might like to do instead of what they are offering (go roller skating, visit Susan and play a game with her, ride our bikes to the top of the canyon road and back, take my video camera and film one another jumping dirt piles with our bikes, play kick ball, etc.).
4) Act upon your decision and give your friend an "out" to make the right choice as well.
Tell them that you are choosing the alternative to the trouble they have named. Allow them the freedom to make their own choices, but suggest alternatives and give them the opportunity to do the right thing.
Name the Trouble
Name the Consequences
Present an Alternative
Offer the Friend an Out
SPEND TIME with your parent(s) or with friends, practicing the "trouble-consequence-alternative" technique. Take turns thinking of "trouble" and then think up "consequences" and "alternatives". Practice so much that this process becomes easy and instant for you! When it does, you will feel much more confident in responding when your friend(s) suggest trouble.
Remember that sometimes it is wise for you to talk to your mom or dad about what happened. They can help to reaffirm your choice(s) and may have suggestions for helping your friend make right choices too. When illegal activities are chosen by your friend, your parent may feel it best to talk to your friends parents or to authorities.