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Peer Pressure (MB)

Subject Area: Health

Links to the Manitoba Health Curriculum Outcomes:
  • K.4.7.B.4 – Describe appropriate use (e.g., saying “no” to negative peer pressure, differentiating between situations where assertiveness is/isn’t warranted…) of avoidance/refusal strategies when dealing with potentially dangerous situations and/or stressful social situations
  • S.4.1.A.2 – Demonstrate ways (e.g., participate in discussion groups or brainstorming activities…) to expand knowledge (e.g., stop and think before reacting…) and explore different options for making informed and health-enhancing decisions
Brief Overview of the Lesson:

The class will read an article about Peer Pressure, either on the internet or by using the handout provided. Then they will break into groups to discuss the potential effects of peer pressure. The period ends with a recap of what was discussed and learned about Peer Pressure.

Materials Needed:

Computer access

Suggested Implementation Strategy:
  • Ask the class if peer pressure has ever made them do something that they later regretted.
  • Ask them what they can do when pressured into doing something they agree is not a good choice.
  • Tell the class that today they will be reading about and discussing Peer Pressure.
  • Use computers to download Module 2 of the Money and Youth book at the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education website.
  • Scroll down to page 16 and ask the class to read it.
  • Divide the class into groups of 4 to 5 students and ask them to discuss the two sections on page 16 called “Take action. Take Control!”
  • Tell the groups that someone in the group should record their thoughts. Their ideas will be shared with the whole class at the end of the period. NOTE: If computers are not available, a copy of page 16 are included as a handout.
  • End the period with a whole class discussion, asking each group to recap what they discussed and learned today about Peer Pressure.
Possible Links to the Home Program:
  • Ages 11–13 — Games – What kind of spender are you?
Extended Learning Opportunities:
Canadian Foundation Economic Education
Money And Youth Book Module 2

Peer Pressure
Peer pressure refers to how others around your own age can influence your thinking—on purpose or not. Peer pressure is one of the strongest influences on young people. Friends, classmates, teammates, and workmates are usually very important to you. You may value them and what they think and do.

At the same time, they are in the same situation as you are—trying to figure out their lives, trying things, thinking about things, and figuring out what they value and what’s most important to them.

Many of the decisions that you make in your youth will be influenced by your peers. Situations can arise that involve making decisions related to alcohol, smoking, drugs, clothing fads and styles, courses you take, concerts, schools, careers, jobs, and so on. Many of these are difficult decisions, and peers can apply a great deal of pressure—either directly on you or by the decisions they have made and what they are doing. You will face times and decisions when your values are really put to the test.

How have you handled peer pressure in the past?
Have you ever made a money decision that was influenced by your peers?
As far as money matters go, your peers may seek to influence you—such as how much you spend, what you buy, how much you borrow, what styles you follow, where you shop, and so on. It can be challenging, but it is important to make the decisions you believe are best for you, the ones that fit your values, priorities, and goals—and that make you happy and feel good about your decision.

A funny thing about peer pressure—it can pass quickly. You may be in a situation where you are feeling pressure to buy and wear certain shoes—shoes you don’t need.

If you decide no, the pressure often soon passes and others forget about it.

If you decide yes, others may still soon forget about it—but you are out of pocket the money—and may be wearing shoes you don’t need—and maybe don’t even like. Make sure you use your money the way you think best.

Keeping Up With The Joneses
You probably don’t even know anyone by the name of Jones. For you, it may be the Howards, the Garneaus, the Villachis, or others. The “Joneses” is simply a reference to those around us with whom we may struggle to keep up. We may want what they have, or try to live how they live. For youth, the “Joneses” can be friends who wear certain clothes or shoes, go to certain concerts, drive certain cars, have a new possession (such as the latest “iProduct” or computer game), take vacations to nice places, eat at nice restaurants, and so on. No one may be pressuring you to have them—but you may be pressuring yourself to keep up.

How about you?
Are you an envious person? Does envy play much of a role in terms of your goals, decisions, and actions? On a scale of 1 to 5, rate the influence of “envy” on your economic decisions.

Envy Plays a Role Envy                                                                     Plays No Role
1                                          2                         3                    4                       5

Do you feel envy plays much of a role in your life at this time? Do you feel envious of anyone? Is there something that you currently want that is based on envy? Have you made a recent decision or purchase that was based on envy?

Basically, it comes down to how much you are willing to let envy affect your values, decisions, actions, and goals. If you want to be in control, you should avoid envy when
you can.

Watch out for envy—it can lead to some pretty crazy decisions—and ones you may regret. It’s funny how often others that you envy, may envy you for things you have in your life. Keep in mind the things you value in life—it may make you less envious—and put the brakes on some decisions that you might come to regret.