Want a fun family devotional that will also give your kids some tools to stand up to negative peer pressure? Grab some large sheets of white paper, some paper lunch bags and markers. Gather your family and tell the story of Joseph and his brothers found in Genesis 37:12-36 or the story of Samson found in Judges. Discuss the times in the story when someone wanted to do something, but was pressured into making a different decision by someone else.
Ask your children if they know the term for when you are pressured by others to say or do something you don’t want to do. See if they can give you examples of positive and negative peer pressure. The story of Joseph, for example, would have ended in his death instead of being sold into slavery if Reuben had not pressured them into changing their minds.
Ask your kids what they do when someone tries to get them to do something they know they shouldn’t do. Give them the sheet of paper and have them glue the bag to the paper. Tell them you want them to have a “bag full of tricks” – ideas of things they can say or do to help them do or say what God would want them to instead of what their friends are trying to pressure them into doing.
Have your kids write as many ideas on the paper as they can. Then have them add ideas their siblings had that they didn’t. You may want to give them additional ideas or have older children do some research online on withstanding peer pressure.
Don’t assume that just because you have discussed the ideas, your kids will automatically use them. Spend additional time over the next few days or weeks helping them practice or giving them scenarios and asking them what they would do. Some children will incorporate these ideas quickly, while others may struggle for some time with peer pressure. Taking the time to teach it intentionally will help any child be better prepared to ignore peer pressure and do what God wants them to do.
Note: For children who are great at ignoring peer pressure, center the discussions more on how they can exert positive peer pressure – helping their peers make more godly choices. This is a very delicate balancing act – they need to learn how to be servant leaders, not bossy judges. Helping them master it at a young age will help them practice skills they will use as godly servant leaders for years to come.