Learning To Say No
To learn how to say no to peers.
The ability to say no is the simplest way to prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs. Although saying no is not easy, children need to develop this skill. Children want to be accepted by their classmates, and they want to belong to peer groups. Saying no-and facing the rejection of peers-is not easy; it takes practice. The desire to belong and the pressures peers exert may be so strong at this age level that many children go along with others and later wish they had not. This lesson helps students develop the ability to assess a situation quickly and say no to involvement in activities that are illegal, irresponsible, or contrary to their personal values and beliefs.
Invite students to discuss ways in which they can say no. Ask them to explain why they might say no to requests from someone their own age.
Make a list on the chalkboard of ways that students can say no (examples: "No, I don't want to do that"; "No, I have to go home now"; "No, that's not right"; "No, I'll get in trouble with my parents.") Have students practice these phrases as though they were talking to a friend or classmate.
Ask for volunteers to share situations in which they were proud to have said no.
Chalkboard; open, supportive classroom environment.
• Children at this age level need to practice refusal skills in the context of situations that may arise when they will need to say no. This lesson could be modified and repeated to cover a variety of situations using many different techniques to say no.
• Be careful to avoid encouraging students to say things that may make them uncomfortable or reveal private matters.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program