Topic 3 Teaching Youth how to Say “No”

Even preschool children can be influenced by peer pressure, however this phenomenon usually peaks during adolescence. Since peer pressure can shape one’s behavior, it can lead to delinquent acts or addictive behaviors, when someone, especially a child or an adolescent does not have the appropriate techniques in hand in order to avoid dangerous influences.

➔ Therefore, it is important for adults to promote the insight that saying no is acceptable and even necessary when feeling uncomfortable and also teach children how to respond when they are peer pressured.

Practice these steps with children using role-playing so they can feel more comfortable saying no.

  • Say “no, thanks”

The simplest strategy to avoid peer pressure is to simply say “no, thank you, I don’t want to”. It is possible that peers will accept your answer and respect it.

  • The Broken Record

If one of your peers continues to pressure you, just repeat yourself saying “no, thank you, I don’t want to”. Without being defensive, angry or justifying your answer, repeat it as many times as you need to. Chances are that your friend/ acquaintance will eventually get tired of pressuring you and stop.

  • Reverse the Pressure

If the pressure continues, answer by turning the pressure around and asking, “Why are you picking on me?”. In that way, your peer will have to explain themselves why they are so persistent. It will also imply that the peer is the one with the problematic behavior and not you, who does not conform to their pressure.

  • Excuse Yourself and Leave

You do not have to stand for their pressure. So, if you are feeling uncomfortable, then without justifying yourself, you can simply state in a friendly way, “Sorry, I have to leave”, and then walk away.