One of the most important things we can do for young people is to help them develop an internal locus of control. Locus of control stands for where they see their feelings as coming from, what they see as the cause of them. Most people have an external locus of control, and wrongly believe that what happens, and what others say and do, or that might and they might, causes how they feel. Those things don’t. They are just all either real or imagined events in our lives. It’s what we think about those real or imagined events that really causes how we feel. Thoughts cause feelings, not events.
Part of learning to have an internal locus of control is to start recognizing that many things people believe are not as they seem. For example, pressure doesn’t come from other people and what they might say or do. It comes from what WE think about them and what they say and do, or what we imagine they might. The term PEER pressure makes it sound like any pressure someone feels comes from their peers. However, it’s actually what someone thinks about their peers that really puts pressure on them, or doesn’t. I urge you to read more about having an internal locus of control at www.itsjustanevent.com or in “A Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Teachers, Students and Parents”, available on this site.
This activity helps students get in touch with the kinds of things they might start to imagine, and more importantly, what they might start to think about or because of such things that might cause them to put pressure on themselves to have sex. Part of the ABC process developed by Dr. Albert Ellis, is to dispute, question and challenge such thoughts, and come up with what he called some “Effective Coping Statement”. Once you and your students have gone through this process for such a situation as this one, they would hopefully be in a better cognitive and emotional place to make the best possible behavioral or lifestyle choice for themselves and others.
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