Peer pressure. Say those two powerful words, and they can strike fear in your heart! But add the word "positive" and you have a tool that will help kids learn...to make the best choices. Positive peer pressure. These three words pack a powerful punch -- just the kind of positive punch we want in children's lives to help them make good decisions when we're not around. It's important to understand the nature of positive peer pressure and take action to foster its benefits.
"Peer influences are normal and necessary in our lives," says Liisa Hawes, marriage and family counselor with the Calgary Community Learning Association. She adds that our peers support our sense of self and offer us a sense of belonging. Peers begin to affect us at a young age.
"I have a 3-year-old daughter who couldn't sit still for mealtimes if it were just us," says Chris Lister, a mother and preschool teacher's aid. "But when she was in her classroom, she willingly sat with a group of her peers to eat and 'chat' in her limited vocabulary. She seemed to eat better in this setting, too."
The beneficial influence of peers continues into adulthood. If we ask ourselves why we do what we do, we'll admit that many of our choices come from the groups we hang out with -- even as adults. For example, when we go to work or church, most of us wear clothes that fit that environment. We all have a basic need for acceptance, and that's why peer pressure works -- whether it's positive or negative.
What The Bible Says
We can find a great definition of positive peer pressure in Hebrews 10:24: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." The Greek word that translates to "spur" in this verse is paroxusmos, meaning "incitement." Incite means "to provoke to action." In addition, paroxusmos provides the basis for a great but seldom-used English word "paroxysm," which means "a sudden attack or outburst." The word "consider" in Hebrews 10:24 means to give serious,...
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