If you think peer pressure is just for teenagers, think again.

What was once a phrase reserved for children and their friends, is now noodling around in the corners of my self conscience, and taunting me that I’m a periodic victim. In the name of “save the kids,” adults have employed full campaigns to teach our minors how to stand up against peer pressure.  But please. Someone needs to tell me where to sign up for the Peer Pressured Moms course.  I’ll even pay full price.

The closer I get to [inaudible]-ty years old, the more I see it all around me, and in the mirror. Countless times my kids have been audience to my perfectly crafted monologue about standing alone in the crowd…integrity…discipline…yada, yada, yada. But hey mom, you and me? We’re not immune to the clutches of peer pressure either.

Do these sound familiar?

“You’re the ONLY mom who….”
“All the other moms are letting their kids…”
“People think you are so strict…”
“Your advice is life to my soul.”

How do those make you feel?  (I’m over myself so I’ll admit it first), Hearing those statements makes me feel terrible. It makes me want to change my mind, do something that is a bit against what I believe in my heart, and then have the gall to violently defend it when questioned.  Ohmyword. I’m a child. Not much has changed.

But there is hope for people like me (and maybe you.) Many of us need to take our own advice and learn to stand up under the pressure we feel from other parents. I know I think differently than a few parents. If I could live with Charles and Caroline Ingalls, I would.  For those of us who get derailed by the pressure we feel from (perhaps more lenient) parents, here are 4 things we tell our kids that we would do well to hear for ourselves.

  1. Know where you stand on the major topics.

From underage drinking to dating, to hanging out with kids we don’t know, to seeing movies with a questionable message – we must identify in advance,  the boundaries for such things.  It’s hard to say no when you’re put on the spot and eight teenage kids are looking in your eyes, begging you to say yes. However, when we’ve carefully considered the options before we’re faced with a choice, it’s not a matter of making the decision on the spot – it’s a matter of discipline to carry out the decision. Peer pressure happens when we don’t have a clear position.

  1. Separate fact from emotion.

The darling kid looks at you with those if-only-you-had-gotten-me-a-puppy eyes because everyone else gets to __________.  Your love for this kid drowns out all reason because you want to deliver happiness. Stop.it. Our emotions don’t get a vote. We have to look at the facts and make a decision as to what is God’s best for our kids, independent of their happiness.  That is the only reasonable answer to a tough question.  Peer pressure happens when you let your emotions behind the wheel.

  1. Don’t be too quick to give an answer.

This has saved my bacon many times.  When I feel pressured to give a quick answer, I ask for a few minutes to think about it. Warning: This is not popular. But it gives me a chance to be alone and really think through the decision. Once I’ve made up my mind, I don’t waver. Peer pressure happens when we don’t stop to think about the consequences of our choices.

  1. Blame someone else if you have to say NO.

Of course you can’t always blame someone else.  But when I can, I dodge ownership in the decision and let another authority take the heat. Rather than being swayed by someone else’s mom who may have said it was okay, I let the law be the ‘bad guy.’ Underage drinking? Sorry, against the law. Fake ID? Nope, city of Edmond frowns on that. “Experiment with smoking under adult supervision” Forget it. There are many negotiations we don’t even need to have.  Peer pressure happens when we ignore authority.

The social pressure on our children is unbelievable. Our kids experience a lot of peer pressure and as moms, so do we.  If you want to be your child’s best mom, learn to follow the same principles we teach our kids.  It’s okay to say no.

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