Giving Your Child Internal Strength to Withstand Peer Pressure

by Steve Wood

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

The best time to prepare your child to resist peer pressure is long before your child reaches the teen years.

The best way to prepare your child against peer pressure is to minimize negative cultural influences, especially what comes through the media, and to maximize positive influences.

The best protection you can give your child against temptation, and negative peer pressure is Holy Scripture. How did Jesus ward off the temptation by the devil? Three times Jesus said, “It is written,” and proceeded to quote scripture (Matthew 3:1-11). The intensity of assault against teenagers today requires the same response.

Many parents and educators think that the Just Say “No!” training is adequate preparation to withstand the peer culture. St. Paul warned of the futility of trying to resist temptation without the power of the Holy Spirit and a renewed mind. Without the transforming power of the scriptures, a person is prone to do the wrong things that he does not want to do (see Romans 7:7-20, especially verse 15 and compare with Romans 12:1-2).

Psalm 1 describes the fruitful and enduring spiritual life enjoyed by the man who delights in the law of the Lord. He is contrasted with the man who “walks in the counsel of the wicked…stands in the way of sinners…[and]…sits in the seat of scoffers.” The foolish man is directed and influenced by the wicked, while the blessed man’s life is guided by scripture.

Our job as parents, especially fathers, is to raise strong biblically-rooted children who can withstand the cultural chaos of our age. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to thy word (Psalm 119:9). Yet before we can root our children in scripture, we need to root ourselves.