Handling Peer Pressure, One step at a time

Jul 2018

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Handling Peer Pressure, One step at a time

“Hey, are you scared to even try that? I am not forcing you, it’s your decision anyway.” The words that we all dread and the words that provoke us to prove that we aren't scared. We all might have faced people who try to drag us in things that we would usually not give in so easily. Well, that's what Peer Pressure is all about.  Making decisions on your own sometimes becomes challenging, but when other people get involved and try to force their decisions on you it makes the situation worse. People who are your age are called peers so when they try to influence you or force their decision on you, it is called peer pressure. This is something that we all have gone through in our lives. So, Let us finally talk about peer pressure and how you can deal with it. 

There’s no denying the fact that your friends influence your life. Their interest’s and habits are in some way or the other going to affect you too. Peers can have a positive influence on each other. For example one of your friends taught you an easier way to solve a question in maths. You might like the way he studies and tries to practice more and work hard. Or maybe someday you share your favorite music band and all your friends admire you for your taste in music. These are surely going to uplift you and your peers and create a healthy environment. This is what exactly a positive influence of peer pressure sounds like.

But there here are two sides to every coin. Peers have a negative influence as well. A few kids in school might force you to skip classes, they may challenge you to do something that is not right. They may even force you to make fun of others, use foul language or even persuade you to be mean to others or disrespect others just for fun. You might not even realize that you are doing all these things as this could look a bit cool to be able to make others laugh by bullying friends or teachers. The fact that your parents are always complaining and stopping you to hang out with a certain group of friends might actually be a good thing for you. It might feel like everyone is against you and they don't want you to have fun or see you happy. Trust me, we all have been through this, and the sooner you realize that your parents were actually right about your friends the better it is and the less it would affect your life. The moment you realize that you are not in a good company, you would start differing between them. That's when you must leave their company for your own good. 

The reason some kids give in to peer pressure so easily may involve the urge to be liked by all, the urge to fit in or the thought that other kids might make fun of them for being boring. And others go along with them because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that "everyone else is doing it" influences students to ignore their common sense and take bad decisions. You cannot say NO to them. Can you? It would make you less cool and you would not be able to get a lot of attention. Right?

Wrong. Saying NO can be tough but it is not impossible. It might make you lose some so-called friends but it will make you fetch some good ones with whom you can be who you really are. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you take the right decisions. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is very important and it takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and say NO. If you see someone else being bullied, you could help them by backing them up. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it easier to resist. It really helps to have friends who have similar values and interest as you do, so that when in need they can help you make the right choice. 

When your parents say “choose your friends wisely”. Peer pressure is the main reason they say this. If your group of friends doesn't like certain things other group members do, chances are you too won't be doing these things either. If you continue to face peer pressure and find it difficult to handle it on your own, you can talk to someone you trust. Don't feel stressed or guilty for your mistakes, talking out your problems can help you get out of the situation and prepare you for the next time you face something. By letting someone mature enough to know your troubles can help others too in tackling peer pressure.

“It is better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction”

It’s not easy to resist negative peer pressure, but when you find a way out it saves you from many negative consequences. It often takes one person to speak out or say no and change the whole situation and in most cases, the involvement of elders might be needed. But there is always a way out, no matter how grim the consequences be. All you have to do is Reach out.