Peer Pressure: 7 Times it MIGHT Help Your Child!

Momma Addict discusses several common events during childhood where kids might have difficulty advancing to the next phase. Peer pressure may be helpful.

Peer pressure usually has a negative meaning. Sex. Alcohol. Drugs. Ooooh that spells S.A.D. Yes, Peer pressure is often sad! (Am I the only one chuckling to myself?)

The point of this blog is that peer pressure is not always sad or bad!

As our kids grow up, there are things that they just don’t want to do. They dig their heels in and say no!


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We call it a “phase” and boldly declare things like: “It’s not like she’s going to college in diapers!” And then we frequently let our kids set their own schedule to achieve goals.

I know this post will not sit well with many parents, but I write it as an option for other parents to consider. One of the most common things I hear is… but she is only 3. She will outgrow it. Unless she doesn’t.

I agree that many things will sort themselves out, but sometimes a gentle nudge by someone, other than parents, may be beneficial. I have seen it happen many times.

7 possible times peer pressure may help your child

1. Thumb sucking habit

Being around friends who do not suck their thumbs is a positive influence on your child. These kids are often not gentle about discussing the thumb sucking habit, and this can infuriate parents who want to wait for their child to decide to stop. However, many children stop sucking their thumbs to play with new friends. That’s not a bad thing.

There are millions of adult thumb suckers! I did not know this until a few years ago when a beautiful, intelligent surgical nurse was talking about her daughter who wouldn’t stop sucking her thumb. She then floored me by saying, “But I can’t help her because I still suck my thumb.”

I couldn’t help it, but there was a deafening judgmental silence.

She continued on: I know it’s wrong and it’s embarrassing. But I have trained myself to only do it when I’m alone. Not around husband, kids. No one. It’s my dark secret. I will excuse myself to go to the bathroom! All day at work I think about it. I even do it at stop lights on the way home. It is my addiction, and it calms me and reduces my stress. I just don’t want this for my daughter.

This is a great article and book for parents with a child struggling to stop thumb sucking. Do not assume it will go away.

2. Roller coaster fear

My children initially had no desire to ride roller coasters, but over time, it became a true fear. Every now and then, they would get brave, ask to ride…and then have a melt down and need to be taken off.

Fast forward to middle school when all your friends are riding roller coasters on school field trips and parties.  Who wants to be THAT kid always left out, watching from the sidelines? Not my daughter. She suddenly had a surge of bravery and jumped on the most ridiculously daring roller coaster she could find. Then, calmly came home and announced: I like roller coasters now.

Thanks, peer pressure.

3. Pacifiers:

Truthfully, I like this better than thumb sucking because it is easier to take away. I did not say easy, but easier.

My daughters were never thumbsuckers, but they loved a nice pacifier! One was easily weaned, but the other one could not give it up. At home, if the pacifier was not in her mouth or hand, there was a melt down. At one point, I think there were extras in every room, purse, and car. Excessive, but those of you who have experienced toddler meltdowns,  you know what I am saying.

But, daycare came to my rescue! No toddler at school used a pacifier, so neither did my child. Well, not at school anyway. We had to work on weaning at home later!

4. Speech

Every day, I witness children who only whine, grunt and point with limited speech when they are at home. As a parent, you understand the gestures, but there are precious few attempts at articulating words.

In play groups, if a child rudely snatches a toy from another child, many kids will develop speech and snatch it back shouting “MINE”. Nice? No. Effective. Maybe.

5. Naps

A child who takes great naps is a blessing to parents; however, when it comes time to get kids on a schedule, they often resist.

Kids in daycares and with sitters often conform to new sleeping routines easier than they do when mom suggests it. Truth.

5. Potty training

Once again, at home, potty training might be a nightmare. However, in day care and play groups, you may often hear great reports about the progress you have not seen.

Wet pants and accidents at home do not put the same pressure on a child as it does when the accident happens in front of peers.

6. Scary Movies

My girls would not watch scary movies. There was even some anxiety at seeing Voldemort in Harry Potter.

But as soon as they were at sleepover parties, they were all… Weee! We love horror movies. What?

7. My food is touching!

Yes, there are plenty of adults who do not like food touching. But if you think about it, there is an additional stress in worrying about where food sits on your plate for the rest of your life.

At home, parents choose what to work on.  We often encourage, back off, push, demand, or wait. Most kids will uneventfully pass through these phases. But I have seen the kids who don’t. As they get older, the simple “phase” becomes a problem.

Sometimes, an outside force teaches things we cannot. So, if you are having trouble with a habit or fear, look forward to group settings where other kids may, rudely, help your child see another option.

In future social interactions, your child may receive help getting to the next phase. Just remember, peer pressure is not always bad!

Momma Addict discusses several common events during childhood where kids might have difficulty advancing to the next phase. Peer pressure may be helpful.



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I have to disagree with 2 and 6 as to this day I still fear both. I have done both, hated both, and will never do them again!

    Momma Addict

    I definitely understand all these areas persist into adulthood for many people. Your two areas of concern were true for both of my daughters! I never chose to work on them and would have been fine if they stayed. Just so happens, the peer group fixed it! Not helpful for everyone but it can reduce the percentage of ongoing adult fears.


      I did both with friends, didn’t help. I cried after riding space mountain in high school with my firends. I am not a thrill seeker. I just am not a fan of them. I think it’s great to at least try them, but these aren’t things you have to like.

        Momma Addict

        Yes, it doesn’t help everyone. I was not afraid of a roller coaster when young, but then as I got older I became afraid. Now you can’t pay me to get on one! Some of us are destined to always have habits and fears!

Elise Cohen Ho

My brother hated when his food touched. I think he may still feel the same way.

    Momma Addict

    Yes, it is still fairly common in adults! Usually, the habits start in childhood and commonly parents just let it go and hope it goes away. It is just an added stress when out in public and you are focusing on things like how the food is put on our plate.


What a great point! I never thought of good peer pressure but you are so right! From thumb sucking to roller coasters. You are right on!

    Momma Addict

    Yes! It is so helpful to understand that our children having a good set of friend can be beneficial to helping them tackle obstacles that they are uncomfortable tackling with you.

Jasmine Eclipse

What a great blog with some great tips! Being a kid is tough enough without the peer pressure, but it’s awesome that you pointed out that peer pressure can be positive too!

Nelu Mbingu

I don’t have children yet, but this is useful advice if I get some one day

Amy Dong

This was a fun post for me to read. I think my oldest was never a napper and probably would have cared less if other kiddos were napping 😉 BUT the food thing? Yes, that is true – once he entered kinder and saw the other kiddos eating all the food, he got way less picky!

Jessica Barnett

Is it bad as a mom I push my children to be more and do more.. not to an excessive amount.. as an example my daughter was doing a outside obstacle course and she froze and said she couldn’t climb over something so i pushed until she did. When she went across the finish line she loved it and was super excited! Love the article!

Fabiola Zefi

I love number 4 so much! I agree with it more than any other point, but I completely understand the rest, as well. it’s like, you are who you hang with … that’s the saying this blog post reminds me of.

Tanvi Rastogi

I am sure my Mommy friends will appreciate knowing this. Will share your post with them.


Liza Perry

Great points! never ever thought about good pear pressure but you made a point, especially with the potty train step 🙂


Such an interesting article! I do think peer pressure can be good and bad. You provided some really interesting examples.

Tiffany Yong

That is actually pretty true. While most people are against peer pressure these days, back when I was in school, peer pressure actually helped me excel by providing me sufficient stress and motivation!


Yes, yes, and yes!! What a creative idea for a post – I love this!! I work closely with children in preschool with a speech therapist so speech is something we DEFINITELY push!

    Momma Addict

    I love to hear this! It is one of the things I suggest to stay at home moms with kids not speaking. Social speech with other kids is helpful.

Elizabeth O

Such an interesting blog. It is helpful to understand that our children have a good set of friends that will teach them to do what is right and wrong.

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