Growing up is a wonderful time of self-discovery and learning. It is a time of observation, taking things in, and trying things out. Unfortunately, sometimes these experiences come with pressure from peers to do something that may make your child feel uncomfortable. They may also come with criticism and aggressive behavior from other children, often for no reason at all.
However, together as active members of the Catholic school community, we have always promoted core values and taught our young learners how to stand strong against peer pressure and bullying. And just like in your home, within the school environment we have a no-tolerance policy regarding all of it.
Take a look at our 5 tips to help counteract peer pressure and bullying, both in-and-out of the classroom:
- Mixed messages. In today’s world, we are bombarded with stories of people behaving badly toward each other on television and online. When children see this, they may get conflicting messages about right and wrong, even after years of living by the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. This is the time to have open discussions with your child about what he or she sees in the media and how that carries over to what he or she experiences in daily life.
- Keeping it straight. What are some social skills that can help your child remain kind, yet stand strong, in the face of negative pressure and/or bullying? And how can these traits allow your child to become a role model for others? The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has provided a well-researched article reminding us of the skills we should continue to reinforce and enhance within our young learners in order to build their confidence and develop effective social skills.
- Problem-solving is essential for intellectual and social interactions. It is a multi-faceted proficiency that involves the following areas:
- Understanding and dealing with feelings
- Employing listening skills
- Developing solutions; anticipating and evaluating consequences
- Empathy is defined by Catholic Culture.org as: “A function of the virtue of charity by which a person enters into another’s feelings, needs, and sufferings.” The HHS groups the following abilities into this category:
- Realizing that everyone experiences certain basic feelings
- Reflecting on how children who are bullied might feel and how you felt if you were ever in that situation
- Assertiveness is all about confidence and standing up for what you believe. KidsHealth defines it as: “It's the ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that is honest and respectful.” The key words here are “honest” and “respectful.” Bullying and pressure may be labeled “assertive” but by true definition, this is inaccurate. HHS explains that assertiveness can help your child:
- Avoid going along with bullying tactics or bossiness
- Meet goals
Sadly, peer pressure isn’t something that just disappears once a child turns a certain age. In fact, many adults rely on the same type of pressure tactics to influence others. Therefore, these aren’t lessons just for our children, they are great words of wisdom for adults as well.
Finally, we want to share a few great resources for activities that will help your child (and you) remain strong no matter what peer pressure comes along:
- “Dealing with Peer Pressure”’
- “What is Peer Pressure?”
- “Peer Pressure and Bullying”
- “Social Skill Activities”
What are some of the ways you help your child stay confident in instances of peer pressure or bullying? Let us know on our social media pages.