Have you ever been peer pressured? If so, what did you do? How did you feel? Peer pressure doesn’t only happen to teens, it happens to people of all ages. Who knows, you could have possibly pressured someone into doing something without even knowing it. Not all peer pressure is done intentionally; and it isn’t always bad, but that doesn’t mean it is always good. All people handle these types of situations differently, some better than others. Overall, peer pressure is positive because it enforces kids to try new things, it just takes a responsible teen to know their morals. “Peer pressure” is a term generally associated with the social pains of the preteen and teenage years.
People are peer pressured every day. Whether it’s to take a shot of alcohol, take a puff off a cigarette or some weed, or to just simply trip some kid when they walk by your desk. Some kids fall into peer pressure for many different reasons, maybe because they’re desperate to be liked, they want to make people laugh, or they don’t want to lose their friends. “My freshman year, I still felt desperate to be liked. I had friends, but what I really wanted was to be part of “the group”. I didn’t think I was different from anybody else. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t chosen to be part of the big clique.” Parents play a big role in this time of their children’s lives.
Parents are often torn at this point, feeling a loss of control over influences and experience their son or daughter will encounter. Peer pressure now enters the scene, bringing an array of tempting new ideas to challenge each child. Peer pressure is perhaps the single most influential factor our little ones must learn to deal with. A strong sense of family values can go a long way in helping them develop the confidence and assertiveness they need to handle it. Consistency is the main thing. Even though it can be heartbreaking to see our children struggle with something, we have to hold our ground and praise them for sticking with it. Repeating our values the same way each time helps our children learn what to say if values are questioned away from home. Defining family values can mean some soul searching for parents, but the benefits are so worthwhile. A firm view of the world at home helps our children.
"People often think of peer pressure only in terms of risky behaviors and what kids wear," adds Mary Gordon, former head of parenting programs for the Toronto school board. "It's much broader than that. It's also about the music you listen to, the language you use, who you choose to associate with and, most definitely, what you consider to be cool." But peer pressure is not all bad and it begins well before the teen years...