All children want to have friends, to fit in and feel part of a group. When children are young, parents have the greatest influence over what a child decides to do, but as they get older, friends become more important as the arbiters of what is seen as the right thing to do. We want our children to be able to choose friends that will have a positive influence on them in terms of their behaviour choices, self-esteem and well-being. This is positive peer pressure, which can result in having positive peer role models to learn from and to give you encouragement.
It is important that children learn about making rational decisions from an early age, so that they can make the right decision when faced with pressure from others to engage in behaviours that may be risky, unkind or have other negative consequences. It is also often more difficult to resist negative peer pressure in the heat of the moment, when there are other children around; there is the worry of not ‘looking cool’ in front of others or losing face.
At St George’s we try to create an environment where there is a culture of trying your best, thinking of others and working as a team, so that these traits are rewarded and making the wrong choice about behaviour is not gainful. The following link give ideas about how to talk to your child about positive and negative peer pressure. You may also find useful ideas linked to peer pressure from the recent newsletter articles on self –esteem (March) and mindfulness (October).