“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
Most of us have cut classes at least once in our life to “walk with friends,” and be “cool.” Making a choice between, ‘right’ and, ‘in demand’ has never been easy.
Man is a social animal and always wants to belong – to a community, to groups of similar age, taste, and social strata. Everyone likes to be appreciated and accepted. People of all ages succumb to peer pressure, which is being under influence of your peers to an extent of changing your attitude, habits, and interests to suit your peers. The average rate of peer pressure is higher in teens and preteens when compared to other age groups.
The million-dollar question is, why? Is peer pressure always negative? What can we do to help our teens to use this inevitable condition to their benefit and aid their healthy development?
Many studies have been conducted and, results show that the craving to fit and be socially acceptable is much higher in teenagers than in adults. Peer pressure is mostly characterized as negative though it can be healthy too. Cultivating good social skills and study habits, training to be a better sports person and, in general, there can be many positive outcomes of peer pressure.
Sadly though, the more obvious outcome of peer pressure we see are alcoholism, speeding, over-spending to name a few. Some teenagers are more prone to such activities than others. Not being popular enough, belonging to a different social strata or ethnic division may bring about the need to copy peers who are perfect.
How can we counter that? The answer lies in the simple word parenting. I think, a child who has been subjected to a secure, loving yet firm childhood will have more resistance against negative peer pressure. Letting a child express his or her opinions, yet realizing their boundaries, should help them grow into strong individuals. Talking to children and respecting their views, acknowledging their choice of friends and addressing their concerns with firm yet compassionate approach will definitely make them come out with flying colors in life.