Peer pressure is doing something or acting in a manner that is unthinkable to you, or you would not consider under normal circumstances for the purpose of fitting in a group or to impress someone. In the current era, everybody is more exposed to peer pressure like never before. The constantly growing influence of the media, increased sources of wrong information and increased exposure to the above has made it harder to handle the challenge of peer pressure. A peer can be an age-mate, a friend, a classmate or someone you have seen on TV or social media and you admire. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. Positive peer pressure arises from being influenced to do something that is positive or being advised against doing something that was not in our best interests. Negative peer pressure arises from trying to fit in a certain group of people hence having to act like them or being talked into something bad that you did not want to do.
Peer pressure affects you directly if someone tries to talk you into something. This is termed as a simple and direct influence. It can affect you indirectly when you are influenced in a group. It is common that in a group, friends do the same activities. In other cases, peer pressure is individually instigated when trying not to feel out of place. For instance, when you move to a new place you might force yourself to act like those you wish to make friends so that you fit in. In this study, we will give more emphasis to negative peer pressure. Some of the major causes of negative peer pressure include low self-esteem, parental neglect, and fear of being ridiculed and low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem and low self-confidence, especially kids are more likely to succumb into peer pressure. The aforementioned characteristics make it hard for one to believe in his beliefs and actions. They are more worried on the opinion formed by others regarding them. Hence they are easily misled into doing things they would not do in normal circumstances or trying to fit into the group. They tend to seek public approval.
Other kids fall into peer pressure through parental neglect. They end up being associated with the bad company as they try to find other companions. Thus, it is essential for parents to spend more time with their children especially at the adolescent stage. Negative peer pressure can lead to habits such as smoking, drug and substance abuse, fighting, bullying, and defiance. It can also affect fashion choices, academic performance and choices of friends and people to associate with. This is because peer pressure creates insecurity in those affected thus one has to adopt the life and choices of others so as to appear right.
There are various ways of helping children cope with peer pressure. Some include keeping the lines of communication so that they feel free to talk to you when being compelled to do bad things, building on the childs self-esteem enables them to be able to say no to peer influence and make personal decisions, and encouraging a wide social network so that the child has many options to develop friendships such as clubs, sports and family. Others include suggesting ways to say no and providing mentorship and counselling sessions so that the child can spot and evade bad influence in advance.
Finally, it is arguably true that peer pressure has a great impact on the character that a person develops in life. The causes are avoidable, and the society has a major role in ensuring that children and youth are not affected by peer pressure. This responsibility should not be left entirely to parents because they cannot spend all the time with their kids. Stop fitting yourself into what others think, yet you are your own make.
Morrison, George. "Positive Peer Pressure." Analytical Chemistry 57.8 (1985): 1505-1505.
Brown, B. Bradford, Donna R. Clasen, and Sue A. Eicher. "Perceptions of peer pressure, peer conformity dispositions, and self-reported behavior among adolescents." Developmental Psychology 22.4 (1986): 521.
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