Peer pressure influences people within the same social or age group, who have the same abilities, and who share a social status. It is also the term referred to the effect this influence has on a person to follow in order to be accepted by becoming part of the group. It plays a significant role in the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. It starts at an early age and gives rise in the teenage years. It is natural, healthy and vital for children to have friends as they grow and mature. Kids ponder on taking peer pressure because of reasons like fitting in a group, wanting to be liked, and fret about their exclusion and fun being made.
Peers can be positive and supportive as well as negative and opposing to expected standards. In positive ones, they can assist each other, learn new skills, and develop an interest in books, music, or extracurricular activities. In negative cases, they urge each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use drugs or alcohol, smoke and share unsuitable content online or indulge in other perilous acts.
Signs of positive peer pressure
It could range from one to another depending on the situation and could further benefit a person.
- Encouraging a friend to study harder so they can get better grades
- Getting a post-school internship and motivating friends to get the same too
- Saving money for a big purchase such as a two-wheeler and urging other friends to do the same
- Recommending investing opportunities
- Disliking and rejecting bigoted jokes or gossiping
- Not motivating for any illegal or risky behaviour like under-age drinking or smoking
Signs of negative peer pressure
- Not going to school or other social situations
- Being very image-conscious
- Notable significant changes in behaviour
- Sharing feeling like they don’t fit in
- Sad behaviour
- Stating out social comparisons
- Annoyed while sleeping
- Figuring out new hair or clothing styles frequently
- Reporting bullying stories
It could be subtle to overt, which implies that some forms of peer pressure may not be more difficult to figure out than others. After identifying signs that his/her child is handling peer pressure, one could begin a supportive conversation.
What could a parent advise his or her child?
- Staying away from peers who pressure you to do things that are unethical, wrong or risky.
- Learn to say “no,” and practice how to prevent or get out of situations that feel insecure or uncomfortable.
- Spend time with other mates who don’t favour peer pressure. It assists to have at least one friend who is also willing to say “no”.
- If you have issues with peer pressure, then have a conversation with a grown-up you trust, such as a parent, teacher or school counsellor.
Ways to avoid peer pressure
- Plan before: Have them contemplate what they might be pressured to do that they don’t wish to. Plan for different methods to cope up with the pressure. Ask them to think of how they might leave a situation if it becomes uncomfortable. Identify a supportive person that they could talk to or call.
- State an excuse: Have them develop a canned excuse for why they can’t participate or attend something they don’t want to do. For instance: some families have made rules where if kids text their parents a specific already planned word or phrase, the parent will call him or her to inform them that something has come up and they need to reach home.
- Become friends with the right people: People who share the same values as yours are less likely to be the people who will bully or make fun of you into doing things one doesn’t want to do.
- Look on to trusted adults: Assist your child to recognise which adults in their lives are safe and accessible for any purpose or when they need to talk, and when they need help getting out of a challenging situation.