Surviving Teen Peer Pressure - Effective tips
Created by Shikha Batra Updated on Sep 30, 2020
“ One way to know whether something is right for you is how you feel while you’re doing it-or afterward. If you regret having done something, don’t do it again, even if your friends do”.
- Jill Whitney
“Come on, Just give it a try! It won’t harm you! ” said a group of classmates of a fifteen-year-old while coercing him to try out a new drink laced with drugs at a friend’s house party.
“Don’t tell me, you haven’t tried it ever! You're a small kiddo who can pee in his pants at the mere sight of his teacher. Smoking isn’t your cup of tea. Go and hide somewhere.” said Akarsh’s basketball mates when he got scared of being told to smoke for the very first time.
Above mentioned are the examples of two teenagers being subjected to peer pressure by subtle coercion in first and shaming in the second case.
Parents choose friends for their children when they are small. They usually put them in small playgroups or arrange playdates for them with children they feel their child would be comfortable with. Now as their child grows up and becomes a teenager, s/he decides himself/herself who they want to be friends with and what groups they would like to spend time with. Usually, the peers are people who are in a similar age group and who have experiences and interests similar to the teenager. As the teenager becomes independent, his/her peers play a greater role in his/her life. These peers also influence the teenager by the way they dress up and behave, activities they are involved in and their attitude.
Teenage is already a tough phase as it puts forth many challenges for teenagers in which they are supposed to figure out many things such as their beliefs, what they are good at, what their responsibilities are and what their place in the world would be. Apart from this, they deal with issues such as bodily changes, mood swings, peer pressure, academic pressure, extracurricular activities to name a few on a daily basis. It is always comforting to face those challenges with peers who have been dealing with the same things that the teenager is. Not often heard of, but peers do have a profound positive influence on each other and they play an important role in each other’s lives. But sometimes the stresses in the life of a teenager can actually come from his/her peers. They may pressure the teenager into doing something s/he may not be comfortable with. If the teenager stands aside and resists taking part, s/he might be treated as an outcast.
What exactly is peer pressure?
Peer pressure occurs when a group of people coerce each other to go along with a certain belief or behaviours. The teenagers might succumb to it by changing their attitudes, values or behaviours to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. Teenagers often give in to peer pressure because they do not want to be rejected by friends and in a desire to fit in their social circle. The many areas where peer pressure can be manifested in any number of ways might include:
Drugs and alcohol, stealing, sexual activity, bullying and dangerous behaviour.
The pressure to conform to the group so that they fit in or are accepted or so that they don’t feel awkward or uncomfortable can be powerful and hard to resist. Some teenagers who are low on confidence and tend to follow rather than lead are more likely to give in while there are others who are better are able to resist and are able to stand firm on their ground. At times situations arise when a teenager needs to take a stand and put an end to the sticky peer pressure, though it might make him/her look ‘uncool’ to his/her group. These situations can be opportunities for the teenager to figure out what is right for him/her.
Effective Tips for surviving peer pressure:
Below are some tip that your teenager should know to survive peep pressure:
If something doesn’t feel right about a situation, it probably isn’t so listen to your gut feeling. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation and your friends don’t, it doesn’t mean you have to conform. For instance, if your friends plan to indulge in shoplifting and you believe it isn’t the right thing to do, take a stand and stay away.
Say ‘NO’ emphatically by making eye contact. Be certain and forceful in your refusal so that it sounds that you mean it.
Plan ahead for possible pressure situations. For instance, if you plan to go to a party and you think you may be coerced to take drugs there, decide beforehand how you will deal with the pressure. You can do so by rehearsing what you would say or do.
Have a one-on-one with the person who is pressurizing you. Share with him/her how it makes you feel. Don’t hesitate to say ‘NO’ if you feel uncomfortable doing it.
Hang out with friends with similar beliefs and values and feel the same way as you do. Having a friend who has a similar opinion and can stand with you against the peer pressure when you are in need of moral support would make it much easier for you to resist.
Make an exit from the scene if you feel you might succumb to peer pressure. Getting away from the pressure zone might be one option which might come to your rescue.
Think about the consequences of your actions. In case you plan to succumb to peer pressure consider the results of giving in. You might feel angry with yourself or get disheartened for conforming to the group and not standing by your values and beliefs afterwards.
Don’t buy this statement made by your peers to make you confirm that everyone is doing it. The truth is everyone is not doing it.
Seek adult’s intervention in case the situation seems dangerous. Do not hesitate at all to call your parents or family members in case you feel the pressure is too much to resist. Plan an excuse in advance for instance, you can always say you are not feeling well and would like to go home.
Evaluate your friendships. If your friends are constantly forcing you to do something you are not comfortable with, rethink about being a part of the same group. Always remember true friends are there to support you and not force you to be the one, who they want you to be.
Remember it is easy to succumb to peer pressure, more so when you are a teenager and are already struggling to develop your identity. Giving in to peer pressure often makes you feel guilty and disappointed with yourself afterwards for acting in a way that goes against your values and beliefs. Getting support from a trusted adult like a parent, teacher, school counselor or a relative who would listen to you and also help you with strategies to deal with peer pressure might help. Resisting peer pressure can be difficult but when you do, it feels good and you may set an example for your peers who feel the same way and who knows they might even follow your footsteps. Be a leader and know you have the potential to make a difference. So rise and shine!
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