In this section, students explore their relationships with others. The activities focus on peer relationships and how peer pressure, influence, and acceptance affect their lives. There are also activities on refusal skills to help equip students with strategies for saying "no."
This exercise and the scenarios it includes are designed to get students to reflect on the effects of peer influence. Explain that peer influence means being influenced by what we observe in other people, rather than by any overt pressure we are made to feel. We are merely reacting to our own thoughts rather than anything someone says or does to us.
Share the digital activity link below with your students. You may wish to present the activity on an interactive whiteboard and follow along with students as they complete it individually, or model possible choices students might make.
Ask students to read the activity introduction. Then, read this aloud:
Scenario 1: The Sneaker Dilemma – You hang around with a particular group of friends. When a new style of sneaker hits the market, a lot of your friends go out and buy them. But, you don’t have the money for them, and besides, you don’t particularly like the way they look. How do you feel when you realize you are the only one in the group who has not purchased the sneakers? What are the different ways you can manage this situation?
In the digital activity, students will see the scenario above. Then, they will see a “Choices and Consequences” branching activity that will ask them to make decisions based on the scenario. Talk with them about the decisions they make and ask them these questions:
Students will be presented with three additional scenarios. For each, they will be asked to make decisions based on the scenario. Read each scenario to the students. Then, talk with them about the decisions they make and ask them the questions above. In discussing these scenarios:
Scenario 2: After School – You go with a group after school to a friend’s house. There is no adult supervision, and some of your friends are there smoking cigarettes. They want you to join them, but you are really opposed to smoking. What sort of position does this put you in with your friends? Can it jeopardize your friendships? What sort of feelings and thoughts would go through your head? What should you do?
Scenario 3: The New Friend – You meet a new kid in your neighborhood and you hit it off well, but when he shows up at school, none of your friends like him. Some make fun of him behind his back, while others just refuse to warm up to him. You want to remain friends with the new kid, but how do you feel about hanging out with someone your other friends don’t like? What do you think your friends expect you to do in this situation?
Scenario 4: Old Friends, New Changes – You have had the same set of friends for several years now, and you are all very close, which you like. Lately, however, you notice that some of your friends are changing. Some of them have started stealing, and the others seem to approve. They’ve lost interest in the things you used to do together, like school sports, and you still want to be on some of the teams. What sort of changes are going on here, and what effects could they have on you? Can friendships change and still be friendships? What roles might these friends have played in your life in the past, and what roles might they play in the future?
After reading the scenarios and making decisions, students will be asked to answer this question:
What do you think will really happen if you don’t go along with your friends?
Use the supplemental “Skater Boy” video to complement this section.