Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure: How Can A Student Deal With It?
First of all, what is peer pressure? Peer pressure is a social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted. It is also a well-discussed topic that receives many mixed opinions, due to its possibly negative cognitive and social pressures
Making decisions on your own is hard enough, but when other people get involved and try to pressure you one way or another it can be even harder. People who are your age, like your classmates, are called peers. When they try to influence how you act, to get you to do something, it’s called peer pressure. It’s something everyone has to deal with — even adults. Peers influence your life, even if you don’t realize it, just by spending time with you. You learn from them, and they learn from you. It’s only human nature to listen to and learn from other people in your age group.

Peers can have a positive influence on each other. Maybe another student in your math class showed a new formula you can use so that it will be easier for you to solve a problem or someone on the chess team showed you a new strategy that he or she came up with. You might admire a friend who is always a good drawer and try to be more like him or her. Maybe you got others excited about your new phone, and now everyone’s wanting to get their hands on it. These are examples of how peers positively influence each other every day.

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Sometimes peers influence each other in negative ways. For example, a few students in school might try to get you to cut class with them, your friend might try to convince you to smoke or vape with them, or a person in the school might want to steal the answer keys for an exam in school and your friends might try to convince you to drink with or do drugs.

Some students give in to peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other students might not like them if they don’t go along with the group. Others go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that “everyone’s doing it” can influence some students to leave their better judgment, or their common sense, behind.

It is tough to be the only one who says “no” to peer pressure, but you can do it. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you know the right thing to do. Inner strength and self-confidence can help you stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when you know better.

It can really help to have at least one other peer, or friend, who is willing to say “no,” too. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it much easier to resist. It’s great to have friends with values similar to yours who will back you up when you don’t want to do something.

We have probably had a parent or teacher advise us to “choose your friends wisely.” Peer pressure is a big reason why they say this. If we choose friends who don’t use drugs, cut class, smoke cigarettes/vape, drink alcohol or cheat on an exam, then we probably won’t do these things either, even if other students do. Even if we’re faced with peer pressure while we’re alone, there are still things we can do. We can simply stay away from peers who pressure you to do stuff you know is wrong. We can tell them “no” and walk away. Better yet, we can find other friends and classmates to pal around with.

Peer pressure itself isn’t necessarily negative. The subsequent reflection of consequences will train social skills, and may lead to social competence. No matter what decision was made, consequences will commence and the individual is forced to deal and learn from their decision.

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