The Power of Peer Influence: Free Resource

Written by Rob Quinn

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

Being the parent of a preteen daughter has opened my the eyes of my wife and I to a world I thought we had a good understanding of. After a year in 5th grade, we realized there was definitely a lot we still had to learn!

One of those things was the power of influence her friends and other students would have.

The power and influence peers can have on your students is HUGE.

We would love to believe that as preteen leaders we have the same amount of influence as their friends do, but the reality is we have some big obstacles to overcome to have that type of power.

Preteens are with their peers about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at school. We get them at church on Sundays and maybe once during the week.

Their peers are the same age and can relate to them because they are all preteens. We are adults, so how can we relate to them?

The things their peers may be influencing them to do can seem fun and exciting because these things make them feel important and have a sense of belonging.

There is an instant gratification in following their peers.

We, as adults, are telling them that they need to follow God and Jesus. It can be hard for them to understand that this doesn’t mean they get everything they want, the way they want it.

Over time, the power of influence from friends can turn into total control. 

Things are done out of fear of not fitting in or because it is just what everyone else is doing.

They are no longer in control of what they do, they have allowed friends and outside influences to now control them.

So how do we find ways to overcome these influences?

We’ve created a free game & lesson to help you.

This is where we need to find fun and creative ways to influence or teach our preteens.

Preteens love fun, crazy, and exciting stuff; in fact, the crazier the better. When they are having fun doing something, preteens will tend to remember it.

Below is a fun and crazy game for you to enjoy with your preteens, and also to demonstrate giving someone else all the control.

Game: Follow the Leader

Supplies:

▪   Tables

▪   Blindfolds

Clean Version Supplies:

▪   Paper and Markers

▪   Names of Pictures to draw (Bird, Airplane, Dog, House with a yard, etc.)

Messy version Supplies:

▪   Paper plates

▪   Hotdogs and Condiments for Hotdogs

▪   Napkins

Directions:

Have students pair up, boys with boys and girls with girls. One partner, Student A, will decide whether they want to stand or kneel down in front of the table. The second student, Student B, will be standing behind them blindfolded, and put their arms under their partner’s arms, sticking them out to the front.

Student A will lock their hands together behind their back so they cannot use them, allowing Student B’s arms to stick out.

When you say go, the team will draw and color the pictures chosen. After their drawing is finished, a youth leader will decide if they look enough like the original to move on. If not, they will have to redraw them until they are close enough.

Once they finish their drawings, the students will switch positions and

Student B will then have to make a hotdog with all condiments and feed it to student A.

Student A is the only one that can speak see what is going on so no questions or responses can come from Student B an they cannot peek. If student B peeks, they must start their task over.

The first team to successfully complete both tasks wins!

Teach – The Power of Peer Influence

Say:

That was amazing and funny. Some of the artwork is out of this world to say the least, and how about the culinary expertise in hotdog making? Some of you should be on Iron Chef!

The person in the front had total control of the person behind. You could not talk; you only did what the front person told you to do. I bet there are times in school you feel this way. Someone telling you everything to do, and you do it. Sometimes we let others have so much influence and control over us that we do things that we know are wrong.

Ask:

▪   Has anyone ever felt that they didn’t have control of what they were doing at school?

▪   Have any of you ever felt the friends you hang out with influence you to do things you normally wouldn’t do?

▪   What are some things you have done at school just because someone else told you it was OK to do?

▪   Why do you think you allow them to have this amount of control over you?

▪   Are you someone that tries to influence others?

▪   What do you think God says about following others?

Lets read Galatians 1:10:

“Now am I trying to please men or God? If I were trying to please men, then I would not be the servant of Christ.”

Say:

You see, sometimes we get caught up in wanting to please others and we end up doing things that are not right with God. This is because we want to be liked or popular or be the funny one in the group, but this just puts us in a place where we are allowing others to decide what we do or how we act.

God tells us here that when we do this, we are not being servants of Christ. Being a servant of Christ is all about doing what He would do. Christ always did things to serve others; Jesus was the one trying to influence people.

Lets read one more verse to help us out.

Read John 15:13

“The strongest love anyone can have is this, He will die to save his friends.”

Say:

A real friend does things for you, rather than make you do things for them. Real friends don’t make you do things you don’t want to do. Real friends love you for who you are and don’t want to control you.

A friend that tries to influence you to do things you don’t want to do isn’t a real friend. They are just trying control you to do things that are pleasing to them.

Over the next week, make a list of all the friends you have. Look at the list and pray over it. Ask God if they are friends that love you for you. Ask Him to reveal to you the ones that are trying to control you. Then, ask God for the strength to not give in to their influence, no matter what the cost.

Close in prayer.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

Liked this resource? You will love this Back to School Game – Controlled Chaos. Use it to help preteens in your ministry manage the stress and change of back to school time.

rob quinnRob Quinn serves as the Preteen Ministry Coordinator at Community Bible Church in Brighton, MI. He has been involved with preteen ministry for almost 8 years now. Rob is married to an amazing woman Jodi, who just so happens to be the Children’s Ministry Director at his church. They have one beautiful daughter Sydni, and an 8-pound attack dog named Lilly.

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