What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is the influence of people in the same social group. It is also the term used to describe the effect of this influence on a person in order to conform to be accepted by the group. Normally, peers are considered friends, but peers can be anyone of similar status, such as people of the same age, ability, or social status. .
Peer pressure is often thought of as a negative, but in reality, it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes peer pressure is used to positively influence people. Learning about acceptable group norms can be an active part of learning to live with and get along with others.
The way your child (or you, for that matter) responds to peer pressure can tell if they are an individual. Natural-born leaders tend to be less susceptible to bad forms of peer pressure, while followers may be more inclined to go along with it.
Peer pressure can range from subtle to overt, meaning that some forms of peer pressure are easier to detect than others. Being able to identify signs that your child is facing peer pressure can help you start a supportive conversation.
Some signs that your child may be experiencing peer pressure include:
- Avoid school or other social situations
- Very conscious of the image
- Behavior change
- Expressing feeling like they don’t fit
- Low mood
- Social comparison
- Difficulty sleeping
- Try on a new hairstyle or clothes
Many signs of peer pressure can also be a sign of other things, like bullying or mental health anxiety. Any change in behavior or mood is worth investigating.
Types of peer pressure
Most children have a desire to fit in and are particularly sensitive to being arrested, ridiculed or ostracized. As a result, they are often eager to do what their peers ask them to do.
Research has drawn attention to the important role peers play in influencing social behaviors. When peer friends endorse positive and altruistic behavior, young people are more likely to engage in those behaviors, even when their friends aren’t watching.
Positive peer pressure
Positive peer pressure is when someone’s co-workers encourage them to do something positive or push them to grow in a beneficial way.
Here are a few examples of positive peer pressure:
- Motivate a friend to study harder so they can get better grades
- Get a job after school and convince your friends to work too
- Save money on a big purchase like a car and encourage friends to do the same
- Disapprove of obstinate jokes or gossip
- Discourage illegal or risky behavior, such as underage drinking or smoking
Negative peer pressure
On the other hand, negative peer pressure includes pressure to do something dangerous or harmful to yourself or others.
Here are some examples of negative peer pressure:
Effects of peer pressure
As your child gets older, peers will play a larger role in their lives. Friends can influence everything from the type of music they listen to, the way they dress, the way they talk.
Gender socialization can affect a young person’s ability to cope with peer pressure. Research indicates that adolescent boys are more susceptible to pressure for risk-taking behaviors.
However, peer pressure is not always deviant. Peer pressure can have both negative and positive effects.
- AdviceFriends: Friends can be a great support when children try new things, explore new ideas, or need someone to help them through a difficult problem.
- Encouragement: Peers can push each other to do new things, such as try their hand at the soccer team or play at school.
- Friendship and support: Feeling supported by someone who accepts us for who we are can boost self-esteem.
- Get new experiences: Sometimes we need a little push to do something we really want to do but just don’t have the courage.
- Modeling good examples: Friends help each other become better people when they scowl at negative behaviors like gossip or insensitive jokes and encourage positive ones instead.
- Practice socialization: Learning about different social norms helps us know how to adapt to different situations and decide which groups we want to spend time with and which we don’t.
- Anxiety and depression: Being around people who pressure us to do things we’re not comfortable with can make us feel anxious and depressed.
- Arguments or distance with family and friends: Negative peer pressure tends to make us feel bad about ourselves and this can cause us to withdraw from the people we care about.
- Distracted from studyingPeer pressure can sometimes cause us to shift our focus away from our priorities because we are engaged in things we wouldn’t normally do or are distracted by thoughts about pressure. friends.
- Pressure to engage in risky behaviorsFriends: Friends can pressure each other to do things like drink, try illegal drugs, engage in unsafe sex, or drive recklessly.
- Problems with self-esteem and confidence: Constantly feeling pressured to do things that go against our values can make us feel bad about ourselves.
- Sudden change in behavior: Trying to conform to co-workers’ standards can cause one person to start acting and looking like a different person.
- Dissatisfied with appearance: If our friends care about our appearance, we may feel inadequate and want to change our appearance to match.
Tips for dealing with peer pressure
It is important to be prepared to deal with peer pressure. Being able to spot the signs of peer pressure will allow you to intervene when you realize that your child or someone you care about is going down an unhealthy path.
Some strategies that may be helpful to help someone deal with peer pressure may include:
- Plan ahead: Ask them to think of things they might be pressured to do that they don’t want to. Plan ahead for ways to deal with pressure. Ask them to think of how they might leave a situation if it becomes uncomfortable. Identify a support person they can call.
- Make excuses: Ask them to come up with a boxed excuse for why they can’t engage in something they don’t want to do. For example, some families have an agreement where if a child texts a parent a pre-planned word or phrase, the parent calls to say something has happened and they need it. have to go home.
- Build friendships with the right people: People who share your child’s values are less likely to be the ones who will bully them into doing things they don’t want to.
- Rely on trusted adults: Help your child identify which adults in their lives are safe and accessible when they need to talk or when they need help getting out of a difficult situation.
Talk to your child about peer pressure. Teach your child how to say no, help him develop independent thinking skills, and encourage self-confidence. If you suspect that your child or someone else you love is being negatively affected by peer pressure, let them know you are someone they can trust and offer to make a plan to get out of the situation. bad situation.
A very good word
While peer pressure can be hard, it’s not always a bad thing. Positive peer pressure can be a valuable part of learning how to socialize and even grow as a person.
But if you suspect that your child is struggling with negative peer pressure, encourage them to talk to you. Sometimes kids don’t want to talk to their parents about peer pressure. If that’s the case, don’t take it personally. Encourage them to talk about it with another trusted adult, like a teacher, school counselor, doctor, or therapist.
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