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4 Years Old and Worried about Peer Pressure?

Home Forums Parenting Preschool 4 Years Old and Worried about Peer Pressure?

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    Profile photo of Amy

    This morning my daughter announces to me that the clothes I am wearing are not fancy. This isn’t the first time she has said this and I usually just say, "This is what I like to wear and I’m happy with my choice." But that response seemed inappropriate when she continued to say, "People will laugh if you’re not wearing the right clothes." I immediate thought, "Hmmm…I think this is a teachable moment." So I responded that if people laugh at you because of your clothes then they are not being nice and you can choose not to play with them. Good friends are those who like you for who you are and how fun you are to be with." I’m not sure if this was the most appropriate response but it was the best I could do at 7 in the morning. Anyone else been through this or have advice?


    A child psychologist whom I have recently worked with recommended the book "Queen Bees & Wanna Bees" by Rosalind Wiseman.  She indicated that moms of pre-teen or teenage girls have shared feedback that they wished they read this book sooner.  As I read your post I immediately thought of her recommendation.  It’s an easy read, available in paperback & may be worth checking out!

    Profile photo of Amy

    Thanks for the suggestion Chimom – I’m going to check out that book for sure.


    Erica Boos

    I am currently reading her book Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads; Dealing with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Make- Or Break- Your Child’s Future. Loving it!


    I have a 3 year old girl and have spent over 10 years teaching kids 2-6.  This is a totally normal phase that they all go through, especially the girls.  At about 2 or 3 years old their world view begins to shift from totally egocentric to othercentric.  The opinions of friends, especially the "queen bees" becomes very important as they try to fit in and be as popular as possible.  Then it tends to clear up for a few years until they are ready to hit the pre-teen years and it comes back with a vengence.  Not to spoil the book, but essentially what it all boils down to is that girls tend to either be the leader of all the girls (usually in a bossy, sometimes mean way) or they want to be just like that girl.  Your response was very appropriate and given that sort of response enough times, your daughter might just find an easy course through the rough waters.

    Profile photo of Amy

    Thanks LongacresPC. Your experience and wisdom is much appreciated. I’m not going to survive the tweenie years, am I?!?! :smileyindifferent:


    good grief!! I don’t have girls, so not sure if I will go thru that, but I think your response was appropriate! Can’t believe it starts that early… ugh


    Profile photo of Amy

    Sara S. – I was laughing when I saw your comment "can’t believe it starts that early." I couldn’t either until I started seeing flashes of myself at 13 in the behavior and talk coming from my 4 year old. I was like "what?!?!"


    My daughter is 4 and I have been facing the same issue that her friends dress up like princess and their parents buy things for them that matches their royal outfit. I liked Amy’s answer, I did try with my daughter too. But in my case she is so much influenced by her friends that she do listen to me but once she is in school it all washes out and she is sad and unhappy.


    I think that was a great answer, especially for 7AM! :-D…

    I agree with LongacresPC. This is a normal phase that I have seen in my 3s classes year after year. It is because of that shift from the egocentrism of 2 to the others focus and a huge desire to please and fit in that happens at 3. But how this phase goes depends a lot on how the adults around frame it and work with it. Continued responses that emphasis respect for differences and support a healthy independence from the "pack mentality" can go a long way to helping this phase go smoother.

    It was not too long ago that your child probably had  the typical 2yr olds mile-wide independent streak. At this stage when girls especially switch to an others focus we can rekindle and fan the flame of that independence in a good way by reinforcing that each person can all dress as he/she likes, and what’s most important is being a good friend (treating each other well and respecting differences) not having to dress the same or like the same things. That message takes a LOT of repetition and reinforcement though. I found books with self-esteem and confidence messages were very important to read in my 3s classes at the beginning of the year to set the right tone for how we respected each other, and throughout the year, over and over, to keep the individual confidence level up.

    We read books not just about dressing as you liked, but about having your own ideas, being confident to be be different from the pack, etc. Here are some books I liked for my classes and now read with my daughter: I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont, A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, (this one is lengthy/complex and maybe more appropriate for 4s or advanced 3s), Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French, Elmer by David McKee, Tillie and the Wall by Leo Lionni, and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems (clothing and independence of thought all rolled into one, highly recommended!).

    Hope these help!

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