What is peer pressure?
Often your friends knowingly or unknowingly influence you to try out something- obviously, it could be fun to try new things out! But sometimes these things become those that you regret forever.
Many of us fall into this pressure, more than once. This happens for a number of psychological reasons, and needs to be dealt with in a stern manner.
So, here are some things you need to know about peer pressure.
Positive and Negative Peer Pressure?
Peer pressure can have both positive and negative results. Positive influence will obviously lead a person to do something that is for her or his betterment.
Examples of positive peer pressure include cases like a classmate who helps their friend understand instructions better, guides them to a better study routine, or introducing one to good books or music.
At the same time, negative peer pressure can lead a person to do things like buying expensive products to match a certain ‘standard’ with the peer group.
There is also influence among children to follow each other into bad habits like stealing from parents, to drug abuse and violence among adolescents.
Why does it happen?
Most often, we give in to peer pressure to fit into a group. It is undoubtedly an important part of every child’s social development. At primary levels, children try out cheating in exams, going to places they are not allowed to, etc.
As they grow up, the influence of life habits get stronger. The friends they chose, often become the people they define as ‘cool’: again, the question of proving their ability to be a part of that group becomes important.
At the adult level, people most often give in to peer pressure in order to define their ideal ‘status’ and economic capacities. Buying expensive cars or electronic gadgets that they cannot normally afford are examples of this.
How can we ‘teach’ resistance to peer pressure?
The first lessons for children should be to know for themselves where to stop.More than morality and normative lessons on what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’, according to society, children should know what is best for themselves.
Once children knows themselves, and have a plan for their own lives, they should be able to take individual decisions.
Decision-making is an extremely important skill for a child. If the child has a parent to make every single decision, they will never be able to distinguish good from bad.
Of course, they will make mistakes once or twice, but they should always have the chance to learn from their mistakes. This makes children stronger, in the long run!
How can we fight off peer pressure forever?
- Practice saying ‘no’: This should be a practice from the beginning. Children should be taught to get out of situations they feel uncomfortable in.
- Have an opinion: This is applicable for all ages. To know about things around you, and have enough information about it so that you can have an original opinion about it is very important. This also helps enhance the practice of saying ‘no’.
- Prioritize mental health: To always be aware of why a child does not want to go to a certain class, or school, or to interact with certain friends or teachers, is important.
- These are integral places for a child’s development- so, if it is here that the child feels bullied, screamed at, or pressurized, they will grow up to be extremely tormented, and vulnerable.
- Chose your friends well: This includes letting friends go, if they harm you, physically or mentally. The need to ‘fit in’ should be avoided at all costs!
- Help your friends out! If you find a friend in trouble, or at the risk of falling into the trap of peer pressure, always pull them out of the trap! A conversation, or just a kind gesture of support is often very helpful in bringing a person in the better path!