Monday 5 December 2016

Resisting peer pressure

Some days ago, I questioned Jare on a missing toy. It was usually among his collection of favourite toys till I noticed it's disappearance. I asked where it was and he honestly told me he gave it to his friend. Oh wow! I thought. A treasured friend it must be. I pried further and asked why he gave it to that friend. With a little of regret, he replied, "Because he said, if I don't give it to him... he won't be my friend."

Sounds familiar eh? Kids play, kids stunt and kids language. I understand it's a fair behaviour of how kids play at this age. I know, but but... I have a concern! It is not quite okay, especially as he ages along. It's now that we talk about it or too late when he gets all defensive about his circle of friends.
So let's talk about friends, son.

I know we all have that basic need of social belonging. An identity among friends. For that sense of acceptance, we often succumb to acts we are compelled to. Very often, the meek and shy are victims of this. We should however, not wobble to threats and discourage behaviours of such. 

It's commendable that the kids can mediate and sort out disagreements among themselves. So yes, negotiate, trade or strike a deal on what to do with that toy, but not with threats.

And so I told Jare, good friends are not like that. They do not make you do the wrong things or use threats on you. They empathize, encourage and care for you positively. They make you feel sure about yourself. If you don't feel secured or certain in any situation, it's perfectly fine to walk away. Cast our nets wider, we have better friends.

The next time someone comes along with that statement again, we discussed that he can be firm on keeping his toy and tell the person, "I will not give it away" or "That's not a cool friend" or if not, walk away. 

What will you ask your child to say or do?

It's a toy for now. I am sure there will be more complex issues as he grows. Good that we start discussing about peer pressure now. I hope he will remember this teachable moment we had, and along the way finds good friends, hangs out with the right company and stand up at the right moment.

Freedom, just this much we can do.


  1. I hear you. I think girls are particularly prone to this sort of emotional blackmail. My daughter comes home a lot to say things like 'My friend told me that she doesn't want to invite me to her party because I won't give her my sticker.' I told her that in future she can tell her friends that she has to ask my permission before she is allowed to give away any of her possessions.

  2. That's an idea way to reply too! Since we bought most of their toys. Heh. Shall tell them that.


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