As students grow and develop, they become more socially aware, and are more influenced by the beliefs and attitudes of their peers. This is a normal part of socialization.
And while peer pressure at times can be a positive influence, more often peer pressure results in students doing something they don’t feel comfortable doing or something they know to be wrong.
At the least, this creates significant internal conflict or worse, it causes the student to proceed anyway in spite of the consequences.
One strategy that can help is to think about common peer pressure situations and think about what to do ahead of time.
In the peer pressure activity below, we have a set of scenarios that students can use to work though on their own or as part of a group discussion.
Peer Pressure Activity Instructions
Begin the activity by discussing how cooperation is a necessary skill, but sometimes it’s actually important not to cooperate.
You can ask them if they can think of examples where it might be a bad idea to cooperate.
You can explain that working together should make you feel good. If you do something you know is wrong, you might feel terrible,
get in trouble, hurt someone else’s feelings, or lose other people’s trust. And those are times when it’s okay not to cooperate.
Next, hand out a worksheet to each of your students. On the sheet, students will find 9 peer pressure scenario cards, and the objective is to read read each Peer Pressure Activity Card and have them write what they would say to the other person in that situation. For example, one of the cards has the following scenario:
“Your friends say you shouldn’t wear your favorite outfit anymore, but should wear clothes like theirs instead. What should you say?”
Should you cooperate with your friend and start wearing clothes similar to them? Or should you continue to wear the clothes you like?
After completing a few cards, have a group discussion where student share examples of how they responded to each prompt.