Peer Pressure - Dream Health

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Peer Pressure

Types, Effects and Coping

Peer Pressure
Peers are a very powerful force in the life of a teenager. Youngsters, school going kids and teenagers are constantly building their self-image through their growing years and learn to adapt to different values, attitudes and behaviors. When they are influenced by a group of people of the same age group who encourage each other to change these set beliefs in order to be like others in the group through influence is called peer pressure.

Peer pressure classification occur under two headings which are spoken and unspoken pressure. Spoken pressure is the direct pressure forced upon by a person directly who asks the other to do certain things. When it comes to unspoken pressure, the individual comes under indirect pressure and chooses to do things when he sees other doing it. Any individual, who is under the influence of his or her peers, may or may not do it intentionally. Peer groups recognize certain groups and do not associate with other group activities they deem unfit for them. Most youngsters experience peer pressure due to the sole reason that they are unable to handle the maturity to handle it as they stay fixed in groups they may or may not choose. Young groups have a tendency to show negative behaviors towards those who don’t belong to their group. This makes an individual succumb to Peer pressure to be recognized, accepted and to feel belonged.

Negative peer pressure can make a teenager do various things that are deemed wrong such as shoplifting, drinking alcohol, use drugs, cheat at school, vandalize property, bully others, participate in racist or discriminatory behaviors and skip school. Direct negative peer pressure puts a person on the spotlight through direct confrontation which makes the person difficult to find an excuse to do the right thing. Indirect peer pressure is when a person feels pressurized to follow the crowd and be like everyone else – may it be the way they dress or act in certain ways. This is just to fit in and not feel left out or stand out as weird or different. Peer pressure affects kids gravely and this may cause indulgence in unsafe sexual behaviors, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorder and smoking behaviors.

Peers can also be a positive influence on an individual. They encourage and can help make the person feel like he should, like, join a group or a cause because he is interested in it. There are other forms of peer pressure such as teasing, where someone makes fun of a person to try to get them to do something they don’t want to, or heavy peer pressure such as bullying when someone threatens a person physically or verbally in an attempt to make them do something they don’t want to.

Dealing with peer pressure is difficult and it might be tough to say no but it is possible. It is important to pay attention to one’s own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong. That is why inner strength and confidence can help a person stand tall, walk away and resist doing the wrong thing, especially when one knows better. It takes a lot of power to get out of peer pressure but it also makes great company to have friends and peers who support and encourage you rather than forcing you to do something you don’t want to or don’t believe in.

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