Teaching Guide:
Dealing with Pressures

for grades 5-9

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video
"Dealing with Pressures"
in the 12-part DVD series Big Changes, Big Choices.


Pressures are a normal part of life. And entering middle school and becoming a teenager brings a whole batch of new pressures. What really matters, though, is not how much pressure you have, but how well you keep it all in perspective and deal with it. Here are some positive, healthful ways of dealing with pressures.

• Take time out.

• Do something else for a while - exercise, read, see a movie, listen to music.

• Talk to someone - friends, parents, a teacher or counselor.

• Ask for help.

• Take a fresh look; brainstorm new solutions.

• Don't be overly critical of yourself; give yourself a break.

• Think of your past accomplishments.

• Think about your good qualities.

• Learn your limits; don't take on more than you can handle.

• Put things in perspective; pressures usually pass.

• Write in a journal.

• Use your sense of humor.

"Dealing with Pressures"
The Video

This video helps young adolescents:

 Become more aware of the kinds of pressures they live with.

 Recognize how those pressures affect the way they feel and the kinds of choices they make.

 Understand how pressure can make them lose perspective.

 Learn some good ways to deal with pressures.

see story synopsis . . .



"Big Changes, Big Choices"
the 12-part series
In Big Changes, Big Choices comedian/teen counselor Michael Pritchard helps young adolescents discover that they have the power and the responsibility to make the right choices for themselves.  more. . .

For more information about individual videos in this 12-part series, click on the title below.
•  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.




Subscribe to our almost
Monthly Newsletter

Get breaking news and developments in character education and helpful tips and ideas that you can use with your own character education program.
View this month's newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter.




Send this page to a friend
Do you have friends or colleagues who would like to know about this page or about this website? Click on the blue arrow to share it with them.


To find additional teaching guides on Pressures and related topics for K-12, click here.


If you are using the video, ask the first two questions before viewing.

1. What pressures are you under?

2. Is all pressure bad, or can some pressures be good?
Name some good pressures. Why are those good?
Name some bad pressures. Why are those bad?
How do you tell the difference between good and bad pressures?

3. In what ways are the pressures on you changing as you get older?

4. What are the most serious pressures you are feeling?

5. Are most of the pressures you feel internal pressures or external pressures? What's the difference?

6. Can you think of a time when you felt like you were getting a lot of pressure from others, but it turned out that you were actually putting that pressure on yourself?

7. Do you ever put so much pressure on yourself that it makes it hard to enjoy what you're doing?

8. Do you ever put unfair pressure on yourself because you can't say "no" to people? Is that good? How could you change that?

9. Several of the kids in the video complained that their parents compare them to other kids. Does that ever happen to you? How do you feel about that? What are some good ways of dealing with it?

10. Do you ever put pressure on yourself by comparing yourself with others? Is that good?

11. What's the worst way you've ever dealt with a pressure? How could you have handled it better?

12. What's the best way you've ever dealt with a pressure? What did you learn from that?

13. Do you think pressure sometimes affects the way you make choices? In what way?

14. How do you know when pressure is getting to be too much?

15. When you're having a big problem do you always try to work it out on your own or do you ever reach out for help? Why? When might it be best to reach out for help?

16. Does pressure sometimes make you lose perspective? (It may help to have a discussion here about perspective) How does losing perspective affect the choices you make?

17. Did anybody in this video say anything you disagree with? How would you answer that person?

18. What was most meaningful to you in this video?

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)

  Other teaching guides in this series:  

  •  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others


1. Have the class brainstorm ways to deal with pressures. (For some help, see "How To Deal With Pressures," at the top of this column.) Make a list and post it on the wall as a reminder for people when they need it.

2. Make up some hypothetical situations and have the kids do role plays in which they practice resisting negative pressures. In each case the person doing the resisting has two objectives: 1) to refuse to do it, and 2) to persuade the others not to, as well. Here are some ideas to start with.

a. Your good friend wants you to join him/her in experimenting with a drug.

b. Several kids you know are planning to play a cruel practical joke on someone and they want you to join in.

c. You have been invited to a party where there will be no adult supervision. Your parents forbid you to attend unsupervised events. Your boyfriend or girlfriend wants you to lie to your parents so the two of you can go.

d. You work as an assistant to a teacher and could easily get your hands on a copy of an upcoming test. Your friends want you to steal a copy of the test for them so they can cheat.

3. Break the class into groups and have each group develop a plan for creating a climate of positive peer pressure for the following:

a. Staying in school and doing well.

b. Staying free of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

c. Abstaining from sexual activity.

d. Respecting each other.

e. Non-violent behavior.

Then, have them present their plans to the whole class for discussion and critique.

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)


1. Write about the kinds of pressures you feel:
a) as a student
b) as a friend
c) as a son or daughter or family member.
How do you deal with those pressures? Are you satisfied with the way you deal with them, or are there any ways to handle those pressures better?

2. Write about the kinds of pressures you feel about your future.

3. Write about a time when pressure made you lose perspective. What happened? What would have helped? What did you learn from that? How would you handle it differently in the future?

4. Write about a time when you were under a lot of pressure and somebody helped you through it.

5. Write about one or two positive pressures in your life. What's good about them? What do they do for you? How do you respond to these pressures?

6. Imagine that some day you will have a child. Write a letter of advice for that child to read when he or she reaches the age you are right now. Tell the child about the pressures you experienced at this age, how those pressures affected you, and how you hope he/she will deal with his/her own pressures at this age.

7. For one week keep a "Pressure Journal." Before you go to bed each night, write a description of the biggest pressures you felt that day. What caused them? How did they make you feel? How did you handle them? How will you handle them next time?


© Copyright Elkind+Sweet Communications, Inc. All rights are reserved. The material in this website is intended for non-commercial educational use. If you wish to copy or use any of this material, please click here for "Terms of Use." Except as provided in "Terms of Use," this material is for private use only and may not be republished or copied without written permission of the publisher.

Home  •  High School Teaching Guides  •  Middle School Teaching Guides  •  Elementary School Teaching Guides  •  Service Learning

Character in Sports  •  Opportunities for Action  •  Great Web Resources  •  School to Work  •  How-To Articles   •  Character Ed Organizations

Live Wire Media  •  P.O. Box 848  •  Mill Valley, CA  94942  •  USA  •  415-564-9500