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Your 4-year-old now
Don't be surprised if you encounter a scenario like this: All of a sudden, your son spurns his beloved Spiderman toy. Ask why, and you find out that his friends told him that Superman is king and Spiderman's a wimp. What's going on? Your son is trying to be like his pals.
Even at 4, peer pressure is a reality. In fact, this is often when it enters your child's life, as he attends preschool and spends more free time playing with friends. Your child is more adept now at reaching out to other children and playing cooperatively. He's aiming to please, wanting to get along and fit in. You may, for similar reasons, begin to hear things like, "Oliver has a toy phone. Can I have one, too?"
When faced with these pressures, you can explain to your child that different people have different ideas about what they like or enjoy, and that's okay. Families have different rules, too.
Remember that peer pressure can be a positive force; it's amazing what kids will do when they spy a friend doing it. Send them to a buddy's for dinner and they may come home proudly boasting they ate green beans or some other food they won't go near at home.
Your life now
Here's a good line to teach your child: "May I please be excused?" Young kids have shorter attention spans than adults. They might not last as long at a lengthy meal or during a visit. Giving them a polite way to bow out can head off misbehavior.
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