Social Skills to Handle Peer Pressure

As children mature, the importance of friendships amongst peers can become significant. Some children can find themselves facing pressure from their peers to act a certain way or to do things they may not feel comfortable doing. 

If you’re looking for ideas to help you teach your child the social skills to handle peer pressure, consider sharing these seven methods with them. 

  1. Learn how to say “no” to things that make you unsure or uncomfortable. Be calm, but very firm. 
  2. Make an excuse and leave the situation. If you are not comfortable saying, “no”, outright, come up with a plausible excuse to leave the situation that is making you uncomfortable. 
  3. Learn how to make your own decisions. Learn to trust your gut instincts and listen to it when you feel uncomfortable. Don’t let others pressure you into deviating from that gut instinct. 
  4. Avoid people and situations that make you uncomfortable. If you don’t feel like you can say no or make an excuse, simply avoid spending time with those individuals who are trying to pressure you to be someone you are not or do something you don’t feel is right. 
  5. Talk to your parents and/or trusted friends/mentors. Enduring peer pressure can feel isolating. You may feel like you don’t have anyone you can trust or talk to about the situation. Identify one person you feel like you can trust and share the situation with them. It can take a lot of stress away to share your situation with someone else. 
  6. Think through the possible consequences of your actions. Will you lose something that means a lot to you, such as a place on the soccer team, or the ability to use your cell phone if you get caught doing something you aren’t supposed to? Consider all of the implications of your actions and how they can impact the people around you. 
  7. Make yourself busy doing something else. Handling peer pressure can be stressful and isolating. Instead of sitting with those feelings, keep yourself busy doing something you really enjoy like drawing, playing sports, or reading! 

BONUS tip:  Despite all of these methods, your child may still find themselves in a situation or place where they are uncomfortable.  Plan in advance for when this might happen by having them text you an agreed upon emoji or phrase.  You’ll know when you get this that you should text them back (or call them) and let them know that they need to get home right away.  This will give your child a non-negotiable reason to leave the situation.

Share these tips to teach your child the social skills necessary to handle peer pressure and check out these other helpful resources about handling peer pressure

These peer pressure social skills resources were authored by Watson Institute’s special education consultant, Andee Morris, M.Ed.

Power Point Presentations:

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Power Point Presentation

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Facilitator’s Guide

Resource Materials:

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Magnet Cards

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Mini Schedule

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Outline

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Parent Note

I Can Handle Peer Pressure – Homework ‘This week I might try’

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Role Play Activity

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Teacher Note

Pre/Post Assessment

A pre and post lesson assessment is included in each lesson. Use of the assessment is an instructor preference.  Many of the ‘homework’ pages for a lesson can be used as a pre/post assessment device alone or as part of the provided assessment.  Each homework page can be checked by the instructor as well as the student.

Review all included pages of the lesson to determine what ‘assessment’ method will meet your needs.  If the student is able to achieve a + in the majority of items of the pre-assessment, or if the student has been observed to display the skill topic of the lesson often, then the lesson may not be introduced or can be taught with a group as review and/or reinforcement.

I Can Handle Peer Pressure Pre/Post Assessment

If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.