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As parents, we want to protect our children from being swayed by negative influences around them. This peer pressure object lesson for kids will guide you through a hands-on conversation to help your child understand how to deal with peer pressure.
Peer pressure is real whether you send your kids to public school, private school, or anywhere in between. If there are other children… or even other adults around your kids… there is an invisible pressure to be like the rest of the world pushing against your child.
Peer pressure and our kids
In the fall of 2018, God was very clear about sending our children to public school.
My husband and I had always been adamantly opposed to public school (despite the fact that he is a public school teacher). I even taught the children myself until homeschool was no longer working for our family.
However, through a series of events, Bible studies, and long conversations with God and each other, we knew God wanted our children in public school. That meant our youngest two children would be in elementary school while the older two would attend middle school.
Not the best time of my life.
I clearly remember not knowing how to deal with peer pressure during those difficult years and did not want the same difficulty for my children.
After arguing with God to no avail, I began preparing my children for the culture shock by teaching them about peer pressure.
Talk to your kids about peer pressure
But then there are the outside dangers.
Related: Free Child Safety Kit Review
Parenting would be so much easier without other people in the world. But, since we cannot kick everyone else off the planet, we must come up with a way to protect our children from peer pressure.
The easy solution would be to lock our children in a closet and keep them sheltered from outside sources. But that would mean no television, radio, computer, or tablets… no friends or extended family… no trips to the store (or even church).
Instead of wrapping our children in a sound and sight-proof bubble each time we leave our home, the best protection from peer pressure is spending one on one time with each child and having open, honest conversations about what peer pressure is and how to avoid it.
Teaching children about peer pressure communicates your expectations and gives them solutions for difficult situations.
Two days before our kids started public school, we sat around the table for a peer pressure object lesson. (I have provided a printable lesson for you below.)
What is Peer Pressure?
Our family defines peer pressure as “a persuasive influence from people around you to fit in with the crowd.”
When we discuss peer pressure as a family, our emphasis tends to make it negative factor but the stress to change can also be positive. The crowd can be one that promotes a lifestyle opposed to God, but it could also be a group of people who encourage you in your faith.
The important thing is to recognize what the Bible says about peer pressure.
Two different types of people are clearly defined in the Bible. Typically, a person who is seeking to serve God is called “righteous” while negative peer pressure is represented by these words:
- wicked (Psalm 37:32)
- sinner or sinners (Proverbs 1:10, Proverbs 13:6)
- fools or foolish (Proverbs 15:20)
- the world (John 15:18)
- pattern of this world (Romans 12:2)
- company (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Once your child has a basic understanding of what peer pressure is, you are ready to proceed with the peer pressure object lesson.
Peer Pressure Object Lesson for Kids
So what did I do? What did I say? How did I teach my kids to remain strong against peer pressure?
This peer pressure object lesson is exactly what I said/did to guide my children through recognizing peer pressure and the meaning of being in the world, but not of the world.
To teach your kids about peer pressure, you will need:
- a paper plate or container
- confetti stars or stars cut from construction paper
- OREO sandwich cookies
Before the children gather with you, place a package of OREO cookies in the middle of the table.
Once everyone is settled, open your Bible to 1 John 2:15-17.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
Slowly explain the verse and when you reach the part about physical possessions, ask the children, “How many of you guys are craving these OREOs right now?”
Chances are good they are totally ready to eat. But ask them to wait a little longer as you use the cookies for an illustration.
Continue the discussion of the Scripture and talk about cravings for what is seen, pride in achievements, and pride in possessions. Get real with examples you have seen in your home and relationships with one another.
Things of this world
To explain more about the difference between things that are in the world, use the paper plate and confetti stars.
Place the paper plate on the table and tell the children that the plate represents “the world.” Drop the stars onto the plate.
Explain to the children that they are God’s stars, designed to shine brightly in the world, but to look closely…
“The stars were made in a different location than the paper plate, but now the stars are resting on the paper plate. Does that mean they are part of the paper plate?”
The answer, of course, is NO. The stars are in the paper plate but do not become the paper plate.
After this analogy, read another scripture:
My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.Proverbs 1:10, 15 New Living Translation (NLT)
Open the discussion for situations where there will be people who do not agree with Christianity. Share with the children that some people are very vocal about their disbelief in God.
And then turn the discussion towards peer pressure. Explain how they might be challenged to do and participate in activities that they know are not right.
Do not be afraid to be very specific with your child regarding examples of the behavior in your community that are opposed to what you believe. If your children might see it or hear it, let them learn about it from you first.
OREOs and peer pressure
This is where you need the OREO cookies.
Be honest and tell your children that sometimes it’s really, really hard to do the right thing. Use the OREO as an example.
Ask them, “What makes up the OREO cookie? There’s three parts. Of course, it’s the cookie, the cream, and then the cookie, right? So the cream is surrounded by darkness.”
Press hard on the cookie so the cream begins to squeeze and remind the children no matter how hard the world presses in, we as Christians are supposed to remain focused on God.
Allow the kids to examine the cookie and ask, “Did the cream become a cookie?”
Even though it’s pressed really hard, the cream remains the cream.
But don’t stop because there is more to this peer pressure object lesson…
Return to pressing on the cookie until the cookie breaks.
Use the broken pieces as an example of the broken people in our world. You can even say, “There are people out there that we will be mingling with and we have the opportunity to impact them and to share God’s love with them. They may not know that they need God, but we know they do. That’s why we are in the world but not of the world… to make a difference in their lives.”
How to resist peer pressure
How is it possible to stay the cream? How can we as Christians stay bright and full of love when the world is dark and angry?
Read once more from the Bible:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2 New Living Translation (NLT)
Knowing how to deal with peer pressure means paying attention to what you think.
Explain to your children that if you start thinking like the world, it will be harder to stay focused on God.
Children also need to be actively seeking what God says is true and right but having time alone with God as well as time reading the Bible as a family.
Roleplaying peer pressure
As your children sit and listen to you, they will be thinking, “That’s not a problem for me. I can be strong.” But can they?
I don’t know about you, but I am never 100% sure of how I will react until I am faced with a decision.
So, practice with your children by roleplaying peer pressure situations that are relevant to their age group and your community.
As you act through different issues, ask your children about what they are thinking. Encourage your children to voice their thought processes so you can guide them to transform negative thoughts into godly thoughts. That is how they will learn to protect themselves from the world.
Making a difference
As the peer pressure object lesson draws to a close, pull out another OREO cookie.
By now, your children want to make a difference within their school and relationships for God, but they might be feeling a little discouraged.
Admit that it can be hard to share God’s love with others when they want to get away as fast as they can.
Gently twist and pull the OREO cookie apart. Show your children how the cream sticks to the cookie and say, “If you’re focused on living your life for God, you’re making a difference even when it doesn’t feel like it. Because what you say and do sticks with them forever.”
Encouraging kids to be honest about peer pressure
Once you have shared the peer pressure object lesson with your children, remain observant for stressed behaviors or signs of depression in your kids.
Periodically ask your children, “Were you the cookie or the cream today?” and gently help your child turn their thoughts toward God’s Word.
By being available to your children and encouraging their openness and honesty regarding any peer pressure they experience, you will be more effective in protecting your children from the stress of the world without using a sound-proof bubble.
- A Bad Case of Stripes Unit Study at Meet Penny
- Peer Pressure vs. True Friends at Amazon
- Free Peer Pressure Scenario Cards at TES
- Peer Pressure Gauge at Amazon
- Quick Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure at The Cool Spot
- 10 Common Peer Pressure Taunts at Christianity Cove
- How to Spot and Stop Online Peer Pressure at Ask, Listen, Learn
Free Peer Pressure Lesson
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