Dealing With Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure

Courtesy of Blue Crest Recovery Center

 

Whether or not you’re familiar with addiction, you are most likely familiar with peer pressure. Peer pressure and addiction are often, but not always, associated with each other.

Peer pressure can take on forms that have a little or nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. People can be pressured into partaking in certain activities or behaving in a certain manner. No matter what the case, peer pressure is a difficult situation that encourages people to do things that they would not normally do.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the different types of peer pressure and how you can learn to manage them. This information will be useful if you are subject to peer pressure yourself, or if you were taking care of youth who may be exposed to it.

What Is Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure is any sort of pressuring behaviour that one experiences as a result of their peer group. In short, it is another term that describes the influence that one’s friends, coworkers, and schoolmates can have on their behavior.

There is a negative connotation surrounding the word peer pressure, and for good reason. While it is possible to experience positive peer pressure, the ramifications of negative peer pressure are often more obvious. For this reason, the term generally describes a type of peer pressure that encourages people to make unhealthy decisions.

Peer pressure is a term often associated with adolescence. However, peer pressure can occur at all stages of life. The reason that it is most commonly associated with adolescence is because people of this age are more susceptible to the influence of others. As we grow older and learn more about our boundaries, preferences, and limits, we become less susceptible to peer pressure.

However, no matter how old we are, we are all going to be aware of the influence of those around us. As humans, we are hardwired to desire to become a part of a large group. If our desires or beliefs go against the grain, we can become uncomfortable and feel isolated.

This is one of the reasons that peer pressure is such a common occurrence. Whether it is indirect or direct peer pressure, it plays upon the individual’s desire to be accepted by a larger group. This desire often trumps one’s rational mind, and they may be willing to make decisions that serve the group rather than their own interest.

Younger people may be more likely to sacrifice their own desires in order to appease other people at school. During our years of school, we are developing a sense of identity. Rather than risk being rejected by those that we think are worthy of our respect, we may sacrifice our own beliefs or ideas and act upon theirs.

For example, a young boy who had no healthy male influence at home may look up to someone in school. Perhaps they admire the carefree and laid-back attitude of someone who smokes marijuana. They might then associate these traits with marijuana. If they do not have a strong stance against marijuana and know nothing of its negative effects, they may be more likely to experiment with it. This is a form of indirect peer pressure.

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Dealing with Peer Pressure

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