Students need to understand what peer pressure is and how to create and communicate their boundaries, since students at this age can feel peer pressure over everything from what to wear, to what to eat, to how to walk and what to believe. It’s very important for teachers to address the topic and give examples for students to think critically about.
At the same time, early and middle adolescents are not able to plan into the future developmentally, so using short-term consequences will be more effective than having them think about possible impacts on them when they are adults. Using things like scenarios, role-plays, video triggers and advice columns can be great ways to get tweens to think about the potential impact of various situations that might involve peer pressure. Also, using techniques like journaling can help students have a private, confidential space to reflect on what they are feeling and how they can handle difficult social situations related to peer pressure.