A peer is someone in your own age group that you hang out with. Peer pressure is the feeling that you are being pushed towards making a certain choice, good or bad. Peer pressure might be difficult to avoid, especially for teenagers, because people in general like to “fit in” and be liked by their peer groups. Sometimes you don’t even know that it is happening, or that you are making choices because of peer pressure. Your peers might even use your desire to fit in to make you do things that you don’t want to do.
Examples of Negative peer pressure:
- Doing things you do not want to do.
- Feeling pushed to wear “the right” clothes.
- Missing school.
- Extreme dieting or bodybuilding.
- Teasing, bullying or hurting other people.
- Trying cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.
Am I prone to peer pressure?
Certain personality traits and factors make a person more likely to give in to pressure. Recognizing these risk factors will help you make the first step in fighting peer pressure:
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of strong friendship
- Uncertainty about one’s place within a peer group
- Feeling isolated from peers and/or family
- Close bond with a bully
How to combat peer pressure
- Be true to yourself. Think about who you are and what is good for you.
- Be confident and make your own decisions.
- Feel comfortable asserting your opinions and feelings.
- Learn from your successes and mistakes.
- Recognize who your true friends are: these are the people whom you trust and who have your best interest in mind.
- Prepare a mental script of how you would like to handle requests from your peers.
- Know where you stand on key issues like alcohol and drugs and stay firm with your position.
- Never be afraid to speak up and let others know your boundaries. Most people respect the boundaries of others when they know what they are.
- Refuse to take part in bullying or anything designed to cause harm to another person.
- Remember that peer pressure only wins if you let it.