In this activity, students will come up with things they could say to stand up to peer pressure in different situations.
We mostly think about peer pressure as a high school thing – friends trying to get you to drink at a party, or a random stranger on the street offering you drugs (this seems to only happen anti-drug PSAs and parents’ imagination).
But really, peer pressure starts as early as elementary school and lasts into adulthood.
Elementary school students may feel they need to be mean to a real friend to be part of the in-group. Middle school students may be pressured to wear certain clothes to be considered cool. (In hindsight, I’m very grateful for the Catholic school uniform I wore K-8.)
And now? Think about the TV shows you may watch just to be able to participate in the conversation at work. Or do you wear a certain brand of watch, jewelry or shoes to fit in with your peers? I know I’ve even felt pressure from my friends regarding the types of food to eat.
It never goes away. It can be hard to stand up to peer pressure because you might feel like you should do what a friend says, even if it’s wrong. But we can learn and practice ways to stand up to peer pressure, big or small, and do what we know is right or simply what we want to do.
While I’ve sent out many lessons on cooperation in the past, this peer pressure activity shows students that when someone is trying to get you to do something wrong, that is not the time to cooperate.