Preteen Lesson on Peer Pressure
Here is a FREE preteen lesson on peer pressure. Perfect for back to school time! Preteens in your church want the approval of their peers. When others their age are making bad choices, the drive for approval can motivate students to make choices they will regret later on. Choices that hurt themselves, others and their relationship with God. Use this lesson to help preteens take a stand for what is right.
Now, here’s the lesson on peer pressure:
Topic: Peer Pressure
Bible Passage: Daniel 3
Bottom Line: When you face peer pressure, take a stand for what you know is right.
OPENING GAME: BITE THE BAG RELAY
Supplies: One small/medium brown paper bag per group of 5-7 preteens; one red cone or some other object that marks the beginning of each team’s line. Set up the paper bags 20 feet away from each team’s red cones. Paper bags should be standing up straight, right side up.
How to Play: Break the group up into teams of 5–7. Makes sure the teams are even. If not, then allow one player in a group to go twice to make it even. Line each team up relay style—in a single file line facing the front. Teams line up behind their red cone (or other object). On GO, the first person in each line runs to their paper bag. The goal is to bend and bite the top of the bag without touching your hands or knees on the ground. Once the first person completes the task, he places it back down on the ground. Next, the player folds down the paper bag about an inch then sets it back down. The player runs to the front of the line and tags the next player. The next player repeats the same process. Continue in this pattern, each player rolling the paper bag shorter, until the last player succeeds. The team that has all the players bite the bag first wins. Or if you want to play just for fun.
After the game, have preteens answer the following questions with their teammates:
- What was easy about that game? What was hard?
- What one thing do you really love about school?
- What’s one thing you hate about school?
- Today we’re talking about peer pressure. How would you define peer pressure?
School isn’t always easy. First, there’s all the studying, reading, and homework. It’s a bummer, but it’s necessary. Second, there are hundreds of other students at your school who will interact with you each day. You have to find a way to get along with those people, and be a light that points them to Jesus.
Every time you walk into school, you have a great opportunity to strengthen your faith. Over the next 6 weeks, we’re going to talk about how you live out your faith everyday in your school.
Today, we’re going to talk about peer pressure. Peer pressure is defined as the feeling that someone your own age is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad.
Peer pressure is very powerful. We all want to fit in and be a part of the group. Sometimes this means that we do things we don’t normally do, just to fit in.
Before service, setup 2 lines or circles of dominos. The first line should be set up in the standard way so that each of the dominos will fall in order. The second line should be set up in the exact same manner with one change. Brace the last domino in the sequence with glue, tape, or some other stabilizer so that it will not fall. Be sure to test the dominos before service to make sure that the domino will not fall.
Here on stage, I have some dominos set up. Peer pressure is a lot like these dominos. If I push this first domino, the pressure of it falling will cause the next domino to fall. Then, each domino in the line falls like the one before. It looks something like this. (Set off the first line of dominos)
When you face peer pressure, take a stand for what you know is right. You will have a choice to be like one of these dominos and just go with the flow, or you can stand up for what is right. How do you know what is right? We can know what is right by studying God’s Word and applying it to our lives.
You can be pressured in a lot of ways at school. You can be pressured to look a certain way or act a certain way that really goes against what God’s Word teaches us. In those situations, how will you stand up to the pressure?
In the Old Testament, there is a great example of how to stand against peer pressure. We’re going to look at a story you might have heard before about three guys named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The Book of Daniel tells us about a King named Nebuchadnezzar. He was the King of Babylon. One day, King Nebuchadnezzar and his army marched into Jerusalem and took over. They made all the people slaves, and they took the most promising young men back to Babylon with them. Four of those bright young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Once they arrived in Babylon, they were given new names. The Bible says that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had their names changed to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These were special young men who were dedicated to serving the One True God
The people of Babylon did not worship the One True God. In fact, they had many Gods and often worshiped idols and other objects. Daniel 3 tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar built a golden image that was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. This thing was massive. Imagine 15 men standing on one another’s shoulder, that’s about equal to the height of the golden image.
Listen to what King Nebuchadnezzar did next. I need a student to read Daniel 3:4–7.
Have a preteen read the passage.
When the horn blew, all the people would bow down to this gold statue; all the people except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused to bow down to the idol like everyone else. Why do you think they refused to bow down to the idol?
Take responses from preteens.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew in their hearts what was right and wrong. They understood God’s commands, and they wanted to be obedient to Him. This meant that they had to take a stand to be different than everyone else even though there might be consequences.
When Nebuchadnezzar learned that the boys refused to bow down, he was furious. He demanded that they bow down or be thrown into the fiery furnace. The boys told Nebuchadnezzar, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. ” (Daniel 3:16b-18)
Nebuchadnezzar was so angry he couldn’t see straight. He heated the furnace seven times hotter than it had ever been heated. He took the three boys, and he threw them into the furnace. The fire was so hot that the Bible says the guards that threw the boys in were immediately killed. But the boys didn’t burn.
As the King and his men looked into the furnace, they saw 4 men walking in the fire not being burned at all. King Nebuchadnezzar called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the furnace with no burns, no singed hairs, and not even the smell of smoke on their clothes!
Listen to the response of King Nebuchadnezzar. I need a student to read Daniel 3: 28–30
Have a preteen read Daniel 3:28–30.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made a choice to stand against the pressure. While their peers were bowing down to the golden image, they chose to be faithful and obedient to God. Even when it cost them, they stood firm and did what was right.
In your school, you will be tempted by peer pressure. It may be a temptation to wear certain clothes in order to fit in with the “popular” crowd. It may be pressure to bully or make fun of others. It may be a temptation just to fade into the background and never let anyone know about your faith in God. When negative peer pressure comes, you will have to make a choice. A choice to go with the flow or to take a stand for what is right.
Remember what happened with the dominos a moment ago? They all fell, one after the other, under the pressure. But what if one of them was able to stay standing. What if one of them was able to withstand the pressure and hold firm in an upright position. What do you think would happen? Maybe something like this…(Set off the second line of dominos)
Even when all the dominos were falling and there was a ton of pressure, this domino stood firm. It had a lot of help to stand because it was anchored to the foundation. Our foundation is God’s Word. It shows us what is wrong and what is right so that we can be prepared to take a stand when pressure comes. When you face peer pressure, take a stand for what you know is right.
Let’s pray and then head to small groups to learn more about how to take a stand for what is right.
[Dismiss to small groups]
Supplies: One pack of dominoes and piece of duct tape per small group.
Small Group Activity: Students work together and setup the dominoes in a creative pattern. Next, the group leader picks a volunteer, who faces their back toward the group and closes their eyes. At the same time, the other players tape one of the dominoes in the pattern to the floor. The idea is to make the tape unnoticeable. When complete, the volunteer has three guesses to find out which piece is taped. Next, tip over the dominoes and watch as they fall and stopped by the piece taped to the floor. Just for fun, start over and setup all the dominoes again, but this time take the tape off the piece and watch them all fall down.
Discuss the following questions:
- How is peer pressure like the dominoes falling over?
- What does the last taped piece represent?
- What are some things your classmates do that everyone follows?
- Why do you think it is easier to go along with what everyone else is doing?
- What’s dangerous about following the crowd?
- What can you take a stand for this week?