FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Peer Pressure

with Dennis Rainey | May 21, 2013
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You'll be surprised where peer pressure comes from. Dennis Rainey says you cannot assume there is any environment where it is safe to let your guard down. You need to be coaching your kids to do what is right even if the peer pressure they face is in the church.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • You'll be surprised where peer pressure comes from. Dennis Rainey says you cannot assume there is any environment where it is safe to let your guard down. You need to be coaching your kids to do what is right even if the peer pressure they face is in the church.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

You’ll be surprised where peer pressure comes from.

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Peer Pressure

With Dennis Rainey
May 21, 2013
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Bob: Your children are going to face peer pressure during the junior high and high school years—some of it positive, some of it negative. Dennis Rainey says, “You’ll be surprised at where the peer pressure is coming from and whether it is good or bad.”

Dennis: The most negative peer pressure we found—sometimes, it came from young people in the youth group. Kids who have all the trappings of Christianity—and they’re smiling at you when they come to your house. “Oh, yes, sir, Mr. Rainey. Oh, yes!” Then, they tell my daughter: “You don’t need to obey that! You just need to break out! You’re just caged like a bird!”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, May 21st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. It’s not a question of whether your children will face peer pressure; it’s a question of what they’ll do with it and how you’ll prepare them for it. We’ll talk about that today. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I think moms and dads are maybe not as fully aware as they ought to be of how much real danger there is for young people as they go through their teenage years. Thirteen to nineteen is a pretty dangerous season of life; isn’t it?

Dennis: No doubt about it. What happens is they start pushing us out—around age 11, 12, 13—at a time when the world is pulling them in.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: And every young man / young woman needs a mother and a father to be able to guide them and walk through these perilous years—these teenage years—with them.

Bob: And even if you live out in rural South Dakota—

Dennis: Because of media, Bob, I’m telling, you there’s an onslaught coming out.

Bob: Okay; but you don’t have a TV in your house, and you limit internet access to 15 minutes a day.

Dennis: Well, that helps. That helps, but they’re still going to have peers. Ultimately, they’re going to rub shoulders with people who offer them alternative lifestyles.

Bob: And the changes that are going on in their own life are enough—that if they didn’t have a peer group to deal with, and they didn’t have the internet, and they didn’t have TV—just the fact that they are changing—

Dennis: They lack confidence; and they aren’t sure who they are—either as a young man or a young woman. What happens is they start taking their cues from their peers. Whether we like it or not, peers are number one during this period.

Bob: You got a real sense of this years ago when you taught a sixth-grade Sunday school class in a local church, and you did that for more than a decade. But when it came right down to it, you really wanted moms and dads to be the ones going through this material with their kids—not the Sunday school teacher.

Dennis: I don’t want to teach other peoples’ kids. I want them to teach their own kids. Moms and dads don’t have a problem with someone stepping in, for a few moments, and talking straight to their son or daughter if—and this is a big if—if that voice is setting them up as the authority.

Bob: Yes, so, we—more than a decade ago—put together the very first Passport2Purity® weekend—five sessions that a mom or a dad could take a son or a daughter through. They listen to some teaching from you and from Barbara, and they get a chance to interact—to do some projects together. Over the years, tens of thousands of families have done that. We just refreshed it a year ago, and it’s better than it has ever been. Again, tens of thousands of folks are engaging.

In fact, the message we’re hearing today was a message you shared with parents of sixth-graders, at a local Christian school, challenging them to be proactive as they prepare their children for the teen years ahead.

[Recorded Message]

Dennis: Now, I’d like everybody to participate in this question that I’m about to ask you. How many of you—if you could have your sixth-grader experience everything you experienced in adolescence and receive the same sex education that you received from the same type of person—how many of you would want your 12-year-old to replicate what education you had and the experiences you had? Hold your hands up—one. Isn’t that interesting?

The question is—if we don’t go on the offensive, what we ultimately do—and I don’t like the picture of this, whatsoever—but it’s like we pick our child up, and we come to the fence—where the culture reigns on the other side—and we just open the gate, and let them go through to be preyed upon by the culture. Now, here’s the bad news. No matter how good a job you do, you’re not going to be able to do it perfectly. You’re not going to be able to head off all evil that tries to prey upon your child—your son, your daughter’s life. But I think it’s why God gave children parents. It’s why we must wake up in the morning, with the burden of this Book—of teaching our children how to love God, how to walk with Him, how to get in this Book—let the Book get in them—and how, in all of that—how they can serve Him with all their lives.

Well, here’s the good news: We have some help for you. Passport2Purity is a guided- tour that you lead your child through the traps of peer pressure—the talk, the sex talk—setting boundaries—crossing the date-line. It’s designed for you, as a parent, to engage in these issues in a meaningful, practical way that is proven. Passport2Purity uses multiple methods of teaching, entertainment—in different ways—that are going to keep your child’s attention all the way through the Friday night/Saturday experience. In fact, we’ll play you a little clip that’s got just a little bit of a taste of the different types of teaching methods. You’re not going to get all of these, but this will give you an idea. It’s not just Barbara, my wife, or me just talking to the kids and you—it’s all kinds of surprises. Listen to this.

[Audio Clip]

Bob: You know you need to be talking with your preteen son or daughter about purity; right? Maybe, you’ve even heard about the Passport2Purity weekend idea. You’ve thought about that, but you’re just not sure what to expect. Here’s a preview from Dennis Rainey.

Dennis: There are going to be interviews with older teenagers.

Barbara: What are some of the challenges that you guys have faced during your teen years? [Silence] No challenges? Life’s been a breeze. [Laughter]

Teenager: Oh, yes! It’s been perfect! No problems at all. [Laughter] It isn’t me we’re talking about. [Laughter]

Dennis: We’re going to laugh at some fun stories. [Random noises]

There’s going to be object lessons: How many of you believe me when I tell you that what’s in this sack is dangerous?

You know what? There is more than likely going to be a surprise or two.

Child: Yes, he just taped a package to the bottom of the kid’s tube side. What if it’s a bomb?!

Man: Sweat glands, do you copy? Sweat glands, do you copy? Sweat glands! Sweat glands! Come in!

Child: It’s embarrassing enough to be standing in front of a bunch of—oh my word! There’s Todd!

Mom: Todd. Who’s Todd?

Child: As in Todd Jones from school.

Mom: So?

Child: So! Quick, hide! Get down, Mom! Right here, behind the—Ahh! [Scuffling sound]

[End of Audio Clip]

Dennis: Well, when I taught this to my sixth-grade Sunday school class, one of the ways I taught it was using the image of traps. Proverbs talks about a snare. I want to show you three of them that, really, Passport2Purity is built around. It touches on more than just these three, but—

The first one is found in First Corinthians 15:33. It says, “Do not be deceived bad company corrupts good morals.” I’m going to ask you to come up. This is a rat trap. You can trap that one and tell us what that one is all about. [Click of a trap]

Man: Dating.

Dennis: Dating is all about setting some limits—setting some understandings about when they’re going to be able to date, who they’ll be able to date, how they’ll be able to date, at what age or what maturity, what the guidelines are, about if they’re ready to date. And there is, actually, in the Passport2Purity kit—there is a contract that they sign: “I agree to wait until you say I am ready to date.” They sign it and date it, and you witness it. It’s a great moment.

Someone else come up and set up another trap. Who’d like to? Ma’am, come on up here. This one, here, is one of the most dangerous little traps I’ve got up here. [Click of a trap] And what is it?

Woman: Peer pressure.

Dennis: Peer pressure is back to First Corinthians 15:33. There’s a reason why this is this quick one because here is the great lie that occurs—that the kids that your kids are running around with are coming from families that have the same values, and have the same beliefs, and the same standards that you have.

The junior high years are the fork in the road, where you begin to find out what kind of peer pressure our kid’s friends would have on them. And you know what one of the most negative peer pressure we found was—sometimes, it came from young people in the youth group. Kids who have all the trappings of Christianity—and they’re smiling at you when they come to your house. “Oh, yes, sir, Mr. Rainey.” Then, they tell my daughter: “You don’t need to obey that! You just need to break out! You’re just caged like a bird!” You’ll hear that story in Passport2Purity.

Someone else come on up and do this last one. You can go right up here and just keep your distance. [Click of a trap] What’s it say?

Woman: Sex.

Dennis: Sex. Actually, when I taught this in my class—I’m going to show you the trap I used. [Clanging noises] This is an antique bear trap. It takes three men to set it. I have had kids come up, and they would look at that, and they’d set that off. Then, all of a sudden, get the point. They are about to head off into adolescence, where there all these traps being set for them; and they better know what their boundaries are.

I want to go all the way out to the end because, really, Passport2Purity is talking about preparing your child for life and preparing them for the ultimate commitments in life—like marriage. I want you to hear about a couple who made some decisions and made some commitments that paid off as they moved toward marriage. Listen to this couple.

[Audio Clip]

Samuel: I remember when I was in seventh grade, and I had a girlfriend. There was a lot of pressure from our friends for us to kiss and for us to kind of consummate a seventh-grade relationship—to the extent that her friends would even begin to coordinate kind of like these moments to say, “Okay, now, you can kiss!” And they would go run and hide. They would kind of put us together, and then, they’d go run behind the building or something. That relationship ended pretty shortly thereafter. When I made that decision to, I guess, to not kiss anybody until I knew she was going to be my wife, I didn’t see the point, really, of dating in junior high. I had a lot of friends that were girls. We hung out at lunch, and at football games, and basketball games, and that sort of thing. But she was my last official girlfriend until Stephanie and I got together—until we started dating.

I met Stephanie at church—at a church plant. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, after college. She was visiting one of her friends. The first day that I met her: She was coming out of the church office, and I was coming into the church office. Being the new guy to town, I just went up to her, and introduced myself, and said, “Hello,”—actually, made fun of her because of the way that she was animated in talking to me. I didn’t know what to do with her animation. So, I just kind of did it back at her, even though that wasn’t me!

Stephanie: He approached me with confidence, and dignity, and just looked me in the eyes, said, “Hello,” introduced himself, and was just funny. I guess him imitating me made me endear him. There was something endearing about that.

Bob: That was memorable.

Stephanie: Made it memorable.

Bob: Yes.

Stephanie: I got in the car. I was going out of town. I talked about him for the next 45 minutes to my girlfriend and told her: “Okay, this sounds too hokey. I can’t say he’s the guy I’m going to marry, but I want to marry a guy like him.” And—because if I say, “He’s the guy I’m going to marry,”—that’s just like too movie-ish: [Overly dramatized voice] “He’s the one! I just know it! Oh, be still my beating heart!” [Laughter] So, I said, “a guy like him.”

Samuel: Our first date was on New Year’s Eve of that year. Four months later, after we had met, was our first date.

Stephanie: He just kind of told me: “This is who I am. This is what I’m about, and I don’t play games. If I’m pursuing a girl, I’m taking everything we do very seriously; and I’m not just doing it for a period of time, or to have fun, or—I’m being very intentional about what I’m doing.” I got butterflies! I was like, “Yeah, me!” [Laughter] I felt like, “Okay, this is what a man is like.”

[End of Audio Clip]

Dennis: Well, you and your sixth-grader will listen to that; and I happen to know who that couple is. That’s my son and his wife. All of our kids didn’t make that same commitment, but he did. You’ll listen to more of the whole story on that; but it gives you a point of reference with your child, before they face the raging hormones, to decide, in advance, what they are going to do with the opposite sex.

Now, when I concluded my message on the traps with my sixth-grade class—and we opened them up, set all the traps, and we put them up front, scattered around—and there were traps of drugs, pornography. All these traps were set open. I told them, “I wanted to illustrate what they were about to embark on.” I’ll tell you, the visual illustration of this was so powerful that I decided—when I spoke at Promise Keepers at Mile High Stadium in 1995—that I would do it there to conclude my message in front of 51,000 men. Listen to this.

[Audio Clip]

David and Jonathan Short are here. They have agreed to help me in a little illustration, here, as we conclude this message. What the guys are setting up right now—on the platform, gentlemen, are traps. The bear trap is right here, in case you can’t see it. They are about to set up some additional traps between where Jonathan is going to stand and where David, his dad, and I are going to stand—at the other end of the stage. Jonathan, in a moment, I’m going to turn and address you, as a young man. Your dad and I—as the older generation—are going to turn to you. We’re going to beckon you to come to maturity. We’re going to call you to come to adulthood. We’re going to call you, as a young man, to come to being a real man—to manhood; alright? When we do that, what I want you to do is I want you to come; okay?

Now, to illustrate what is taking place in our culture, with the youth of today, guys, I felt like it would be appropriate to blindfold Jonathan. Okay, Jonathan can’t see. Jonathan, you stand right there. Your dad and I are going to go over here. There are traps all over the stage up here, guys, that you can’t see, representing peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, pornography, pride, sexual immorality. About five steps in front of Jonathan is the bear trap—guys, that’s real, and it’s loaded.

Jonathan, as a young man, you’re vulnerable, at this age. You know, the blindfold is a picture of adolescence; but it doesn’t quite capture how vulnerable you really are. So, Jonathan, I want you to take your shoes off. Okay, Jonathan, on the count of three, I want you to come to your dad and me, on this side of the stage, representing maturity, adulthood, and manhood. One—two—three.

David: Jonathan, stop! This is your dad.

[End of Audio Clip]

So, his father came over to the boy. He said, “Put your hands on my shoulder, back here, and stick close because we’re walking around.” They started shuffling through all those. Before the father and the son had made it around all of the 14 traps and made it all the way over here, 51,000 men were giving a standing ovation to that dad and his son, illustrating what should take place. [Clapping] I think they were clapping for two reasons. One, they wished their dads had done it; and they knew—something within their chest—that it was right. And secondly, they were clapping because they knew that was their responsibility with their kids.

To me, that’s the picture of what you’ve got—whether it’s your son or your daughter—you two, together, are going to take them through some of the most dangerous and perilous traps a human being ever faces, really, with not a lot of training.


Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to the second part of a message that you shared, recently, Dennis, with parents of 11- and 12-year-olds, sixth-graders, at a local Christian school. I’m just curious—what did the audience—what did the expressions on the faces look like as you were going through all of this?

Dennis: Well, they had had a full day. So, they were a bit weary, and they’re raising their families; but they were really listening. They were nodding their heads, taking notes, and they were getting it because I think every parent really wants to do a good job—not only to raise their children up until adolescence—but to prepare their child for adolescence and then go through it with them—experience the ups and downs, the challenges, teach your child how to make a right choice; and if they fail, how to get back up and keep going.

Bob: You’ve already shared this week that the head of school at Little Rock Christian Academy, where you shared this message, really wants to see all of the moms and dads of the sixth-graders take their sons and daughters on one of these Passport2Purity weekends. He’s pretty much making it mandatory; isn’t he?

Dennis: He did. He did. I thought it was great leadership. I thought: “Wow! That’s pretty cool.” To my knowledge, he’s really not had any pushback. I think the parents recognize: “You know what? We need to do this.” I think it’s going to be fascinating, not only right now, what happens—

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: —but over the next six years—

Bob: How does this change a culture?

Dennis: —all the way through high school—to have over 140 young people who, if they stick together—they have a common vocabulary around a common set of issues that they’re all going to face anyway—but they all have a biblical perspective of those issues; and their parents know, and they know. I think it’s going to be fun, Bob. I really do.

Bob: Well, and the lines of communication get opened up on a weekend like this. That is where the groundwork is laid for the adolescent years. You don’t have to wait for your school or your church group to get together and all do this, as a coordinated effort. You can do this on your own, with your son or daughter, this summer. Pick a weekend, pick a destination—somewhere your son or daughter would like to go—and then, hop in the car, take the Passport2Purity kit with you, and head off on your own Passport2Purity weekend.

Go to for more information about how you can order the Passport2Purity resource. Again, our website is All the information is available there about the Passport2Purity getaway kit and the project kit. You may want to get one of those, as well, so you’ve got everything you need for the projects you’ll be doing over the course of the weekend. Again, go to for more information. Order online if you’d like; or you can order by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.

You know, we are getting closer and closer, each day, to the beginning of June. I know, for a lot of folks, that’s kind of when summer kicks off. As much as we look forward to summer, like everybody else, we also are aware, here at FamilyLife, that summer can be a challenging time for a ministry, like ours. Often, during the summer, because listeners are headed in different directions, we see a decline in the donations that come into FamilyLife during June, July, and August.

We had some friends of the ministry who came to us, not long ago; and they said: “We’d like to help prepare you guys for that falloff, if it should occur this summer, as it has in years’ past. Here’s what we’re going to do: We’ll put together a fund. It’s a matching-gift fund.” They have funded it with $603,000. They have said, “Everybody who makes a donation to FamilyLife Today, between now and the end of May, you can take an equal amount out of the fund and have those monies available to help pay the bills over the summer.” So, we’re grateful for that. We’re on our way to trying to meet that matching gift; but honestly, we still have a ways to go.

So, we’re asking you, “Would you go online at, click the button that says, ‘I CARE’, and make an online donation?” When you do, that donation is going to be matched, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $603,000. You can also call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation over the phone. And let me just say, “Thanks,” in advance, for whatever you are able to do. We appreciate hearing from our listeners, and we hope you’ll pray for us during the next few days—that we’ll be able to take full advantage of this matching-gift opportunity.

And we hope you’ll join us back again tomorrow. Dennis Rainey is going to answer questions tomorrow that parents had after they listened to his presentation about the adolescent years. We’ll hear the Q&A tomorrow. Hope you can tune in.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

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