Meaning of Peer Pressure
Peer refers to people of same age group who hang out together.
Peer pressure means influence on an individual by others.
It typically states that a person tries to change their behavior with an intention to be socially accepted by peer group. In such a situation, the youngster tries to do things which they will otherwise not do.
During teenage, there are multiple changes and challenges, and decision-making power is still developing. On top of it any suggestions from peers may be difficult to judge and resist. Peer pressure may be harmless or can have consequences. If someone begins to give in to the peer pressure, it may lead to loss of own identity, choices and interests.
Sometimes results may be positive too if the influencer is a kind and motivating person with ambitions in life. An advice from such a person will lead to success.
MAJOR TYPES OF PEER PRESSURE
SPOKEN: Peers force or convince the individual into a specific behavior. The pressure
to go along with the group leaves no choice for the teenager but to go ahead with it. This compression is directly communicated and result is expected on the spot. For e.g.: smoking, drinking, etc.
UNSPOKEN: The teen is exposed to a particular action and is given a choice to join. The platter is
served and expectations are clearly communicated, though silently. They are unable to control the impulse and do it. For e.g.: joining a club or activity even with no interest in it, fashion choices etc.
DIRECT: The situation where teen lands up in a situation and has to take immediate decision to do or not to do. This is an act where the person is confused between right and wrong. They are expected to choose friendship over moral values. For e.g.: when cheating in an examination or shoplifting etc.
INDIRECT: When the teen is not accepted by the peer group and it shown by them in their actions. They may not be invited to a party etc. They need to gain acceptance by indulging in certain specific activities with the peers. The pressure is created by ignoring and making fun.
POSITIVE: If the peer influence motivates the teen into a healthy and active lifestyle, adds to the skills and makes a better person. E.g. studies, sports, etc.
NEGATIVE: If the peer pressure leads to negative habits and lifestyle and adds health hazardous behavior. E.g. wrong habits, lack of studies etc.
RECOGNIZING PEER INFLUENCE
• Differentiate between friends and peers- as teens explore new people, they may
find attraction to specific youth who may seem cool or enjoying life. To become like them drifts them away from real friends.
• Spending less time with old friends- As they begin to enjoy new company, old friends may be neglected. Sometimes they feel real friends are too interfering if guiding right and wrong and they begin to stay away.
• Changes in behavior- with peer influence, one can notice their mood irritated and effort can be seen to be part of the peer group
• Identity issues- if you act in a specific manner to please peer, gradually own identity will be questioned as you begin to lose yourself.
• New-fangled requirements for clothes or money- if the peer group is all about show off and latest trends, you will find yourself struggling to get more money to fit in, which may lead to wrong acts.
• Need for image building- anyone trying to please their peer will fake a life full of lies. A false image be created of themselves, family and lifestyle.
• Talk about what things/luxury other teens have- you are always worried about things others have, and keep comparing your life to theirs, which may or may not true.
• Hiding things from parents- you will hide all your actions and feelings from your family as you may somewhere be aware that truth will hurt them.
• Constant comparison with others- The teen under the compression will continuously relate his/her own life with others besides comparing family and lifestyle.
• Finding unwanted items in their bag/ cupboard- if someone is under peer pressure, you may find certain unacceptable items in their personal belongings like a lighter, pack of cigarette, drugs, money, expensive fashion articles etc.
WHY TEENS FALL INTO IT
• Need to be accepted/liked
• Don’t want other kids to make fun of them
• Fear of being humiliated
• Follow the trend
• Fear of FOMO
• Unable to resist
• Low self-confidence and self-esteem
• Inability to make decisions
• Have few friends
• Feeling of “everyone is doing it” or “it’s in trend”
• To test their limits
Negative Effects of peer pressure:
1) Initiation of drinks, and other substances
2) Risky sexual activities
3) Reduction in Academic performance
4) General behavior and thoughts
5) Extra requirement of Secretive/ alone time
6) Mood swings
7) Loss of ambition
8) Changes in routine and schedule
Common things teens are peer pressured into:
1) Alcohol/ drugs
4) Sexual activity- sexting, sharing inappropriate pictures, videos,
5) Lying/ show off
HOW TO DEAL WITH PEER PRESSURE
~ Learn to differentiate between friends and peers. You will not have to make an effort to fit in your friend circle.
~ Always believe in yourself. You don’t have to please anyone to hang out with them.
~ Be aware of the right and wrong. Don’t indulge in an activity which you are not convinced of.
~ Talk to parents or siblings if there is any confusion.
~ If you are scared to share any activity with your parents, or you fear what if they get to know, check your actions.
~ Spend time with people who add value to your life.
~ make friends who have positive influence on you.
~ know your life goals and work towards them
~ Don’t be afraid to spend time alone. Develop hobbies which you can do alone.
~ Embrace JOMO (article already published)
Teenage is a delicate stage of life and its memories will be with your forever. The actions of this time will form you as a human. Always be assured that there is no quick formula to success or appreciation. Keep your values strong, don’t let anyone divert you from the right path.