Peer pressure refers to the influence that peers or individuals in one group can have on another individual’s thoughts, behavior, and decision-making. It is a powerful force especially during adolescence when teens are looking to form their identities and find boxes to fit into. Peer pressure could be both negative and positive.
How Does It Affect Teens?
Peer pressure could be of two types- negative and positive.
Positive peer pressure involves encouraging and influencing peers to engage in beneficial or constructive behaviors. For instance, teens may encouraged by their peers to take up academics seriously or participate in sports.
Negative peer pressure on the other hand involves influencing a teen to engage in harmful and risky behaviour. This could be drug use, alcohol abuse, or bullying.
There are multiple reasons why teens might be affected by peer pressure.
Firstly, they could be doing it for the desire of acceptance. Adolescents often want a sense of belonging and be liked by their peers. To achieve this they may conform to a group’s behavior even if they might not morally agree to it.
Secondly, their extreme fear of rejection takes over their consciences. They don’t want to be alone and might find adhering to a certain standard easier.
Lastly, teens are nowadays being affected by the outbreak of the digital era. They might do something that could get them “likes”, “hearts” or even “views”.
Positive And Negative Effects On Teens
The positive effects of peer pressure could be rewarding. This means being a part of the right group could help them engage in healthy activities that are needed for their development. When friends encourage each other, they are known to make responsible choices and bring a sense of accomplishment.
Teens can also use positive peer pressure to build stronger friendship bonds. This means collaborations on shared hobbies, and projects and sharing each other’s goals.
Doctors also believe that good influence from peers could boost a teen’s confidence and self-esteem. They might want to take on leadership roles in the future making it brighter than ever. However one cannot overlook the impact of negative peer pressure.
The negative influence could lead them down a perilous path like abuse and reckless driving. Their judgment is clouded by their desire to fit in and earn approval from their friends. Lower academic performance can be a direct result of negative peer pressure. Distraction from school work missed deadlines, and dropping scores could also be foreboding their downward spiral. The need for acceptance would certainly take over their interest in academic activities.
As things start to go bad on the academic side, the healthy relationships with their parents and friends might take a hit. They would become secretive and this could lead down to a self-destructive path. The disconnect could also cause emotional turmoil in the families.
Preventing And Managing Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is not something that you can protect your teens from. However, you can always help them manage and prevent the impact of peer pressure. You could help them build their self-esteem. Teens with high self-esteem hardly tie their worth to a group of people. Encourage them to talk to you or to someone they believe in. You can also arrange for a psychologist to talk to. Discuss the consequences that could come from the way they are choosing. Make them wary of the long-term complications it could cause.
Also, help your teens choose friends. Help them understand a healthy relationship and its patterns instead of asking them to just cut off people completely. Teach problem-solving and decision-making skills to your kids. Let them know things can be approached with another narrative that could not be so drastic and might have milder results.
If nothing else works, you should be prepared to seek medical attention and arrange an intervention before they completely lose control over their circumstances.
Peer pressure is a significant factor in a teen’s life. While it can be good to promote healthy behaviors, its negative impact could also bring about considerable harm. Parents, guardians, and educators all play a significant role in shaping the future of tomorrow. Steer them from negative influences by instilling confidence, communication skills, and decision-making skills. You can also assure them that things could be better.