Why can’t I do it? Everybody else is doing it. This sounds so familiar to me, I hear this all the time from the families and adolescence I work with. I really try hard not to fall into the trap and respond with, “if they were jumping off a cliff would you do it?” I hated that response growing up. So as teachers, what can we do instead?
One way I think that would help is to have open honest non-judgmental communication. When a child ask or wants to be a part of something dangerous we can explain the dangers. Also, we can use I feel statements to explain how we feel about them doing that particular activity. Another example would be to explain the pressures we felt in similar situations growing up and how we handled it. This would help them not feel so alone and that we as adults are not that different. We could always relate how we handle social pressures by our peers. In doing this they will hopefully make the right choice. In doing so they may gain a stronger sense of self.