School Children & Peer Pressure

Preventing smoking, alcohol, and other drug use is an important part of school-age safety. Teaching school-age children to be aware of negative peer pressure and how to resist it can help keep them alcohol-, tobacco-, and drug-free.

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Many experts believe that strong self-esteem and a close, trusting relationship with parents help children resist peer pressure. The following suggestions can help you develop a strong relationship with your school-age child and help them learn how to make healthy decisions.

  • Establish good communication with your school-age child.
    • Engage in regular conversations about the events of the day.
    • Be there consistently to help with a problem, answer questions, or just listen.
    • Offer encouragement frequently.
  • Encourage your school-age child to take time to think before he/she responds to any offer.
    • When friends ask your child to do something, encourage him or her to take a few minutes to think before deciding.
    • Encourage your child to list the pros and cons when making a difficult decision.
  • Be involved in your child's life on a daily basis.
    • Share in favorite activities (yours and theirs).
    • Know what music, TV shows, movies, and websites they like.
    • Provide adequate supervision. Know where school-age children are at all times and get to know their friends.
  • Establish and maintain consistent, reasonable rules.
    • Limit screen/media time (e.g., TV, video games, Internet, MP3 players).
    • Require that homework be completed before play or media time.
    • Assign age-appropriate weekly or daily chores.
  • Help your school-age child establish healthy relationships with friends.
    • Talk about what qualities are important in a friend.
    • Encourage positive friendships with play dates and other activities.
  • Talk with your young children (before the age of 10) about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Talk about what you see around you, such as TV or magazine ads for alcohol, people smoking in public, and age-appropriate news stories.
  • Encourage healthy activities and hobbies.
    • Encourage your school-age child to pursue their interests through classes, extra-curricular activities, and summer camps.
    • Provide a workspace at home for their favorite activities.
    • Share your interests with them.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 26 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 05 Oct 2015