Peer pressure is a big problem that lots of people find themselves dealing with. Peer pressure affects the people with an insecure image of themselves. They feel the need to “fit in” and be “popular” . To fit in they will do things that their friends are doing because it seems cool or their friends pressure them too. This could vary from playing a prank on someone, them dying their hair, wearing more provocative clothes then they usually do, or doing drugs or alcohol. Parents have taught us to simply say no to drugs and alcohol. It’s simple right? If your friends do it and try to pressure you to then you just say no? Right now, it seems easy. If your friend starts to smoke then you don’t, then just stop being friends with them. However, our friends aren’t the people that affect the way we dress or act.
Persuasion can be found in the media, on screen or printed. Pussuation can be found everywhere whether it is through a friend or a ad that you see on TV. Some pressure is positive and others aren’t. Parents, books, TV, social media, music and friends all play big roles in our decisions and actions as children and teenagers. What we overlook is that parents also play a large role in pressuring their children. That is right, parents do pressure their kids. Even after all of the hypocritical speeches that they give us about not giving into being pressured by peers. As we move through our child years and into our adolescence years our parents will pressure us to do things such as getting the best grades and hanging out with certain people. They push you hard to be the best academic and extracurricular.
They want you to have a bright future, that means pushing you harder in school and in sports. This is kind of pressure that is inflicted by parents has pros and cons just like any other issue. When parents are too invested in their child’s performances in school and in sports, the kids are less likely to develop their own, more sustainable, motivation Parental pressure can also be damaging to a child’s self esteem. All of the pressure that is put onto a child can lead to severe problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, as well as sleep loss. Some children will also feel the need to please their parents and will sign up for sports that they might not necessarily enjoy. The focus shouldn’t be placed on academic success, but developing their passion for learning. Parents need to support their child and give regular praise when they accomplish something they feel proud of.
Some of the positive things about having parental pressure is that you begin to forge a stronger bond with your child, by making sure that they are doing the best that they possibly can in school and in sports. They also will have a more successful future if a parent pushes its child more. They will also start to make more friends in sports if you push them to play a sport. If they do play a sport they are also getting a lot of exercise and staying active. By being more invlode in your child’s life in school and sports you are showing that you care. As you can see the type of pressure that our parents put on us is a whole lot different then the kind that we experience at school. The more positive, encouraging pressure that we experience from our parents is their way of trying to make sure that we succeed when we are older. This is different from the damaging the sort of pressure that our peers press on us.
During the time when we are in our teen years the opinions of peers become a big influence. They could pressure you into doing things like theft, underage drinking, drugs, getting a boyfriend or girlfriend. The list goes on and on. Peer pressure is real and big problem that will affect everyone. Some will give into peer pressure and some won’t. There is a basic picture that our parents painted for us about peer pressure, someone (usually a friend) will pressure you into doing something stupid that will get you in a whole lot of trouble It’s simple, you say no. So simple yet so complex. . Let’s add another layer to this. Let’s say that they are your only friend, you’ve been friends since preschool or Elementary. You feel a loyalty to them, a kind where you would do anything for them to see you as “worthy” or for them to stay by your side. You don’t want to be walking around without someone to talk to, or be eating lunch by yourself. These insecurities or sort of attachments that you feel to that person would most likely make you do what you can to keep them with you.
Now let’s say your the “popular” kid, you have a large amount of friends. They may not be the best people to be around, or they are the people that keep you alive. You want to keep that rank of popularity and feel the need to be recognized. You don’t want to go from being practically worshipped to being invisible. You thrive off of the fact to you are recognized. You would do anything to be kept in the spotlight, even things that you might consider wrong or down right stupid. That could include bullying someone. In middle school everyone want to be recognized. People are changing, forming their own image and character. They try and be the most cool or fashionable or liked by everyone. They will do anything so seek approval. It’s in this weak gap of seeking approval and recognition that we will give into the opinions of others. Peer pressure is never good, but it can be good in some instances. If your peers pressure or encourage you to be the best you can or push yourself harder, then you can be changed for the better. My advice would be to find friends that build you up instead of pressing you down.
You should surround yourself with people who are good and resist peer pressure. You can learn things from them that would help you say no to negative things. For example if your friends had signed up for a volunteer project, you might sign up for it because of the fact that your friends have done it. Peer pressure and what we have been pressuring people to do has changed and evolved. In our age we are exposed to so much toxicity then before. We interviewed a 74 year old and asked her how peer pressure was like when she went to school. She said that it was extremely mild compared to now. The only thing that she was pressured to do was play hookie, and she did cave into peer pressure because all of her friends where doing it . They didn’t have access to drugs, but they did have access to alcohol. She said that she never really liked alcohol and stayed further away from it. As you can see it is really mild compared to the things that we are pressured to do. We interviewed a 50 year old. He said that they things that he was pressured to do was more stupid things that he did cave into.
We also interviewed a 48 year old, she said that when she was in school she was pressured to smoke a cigarette by her friends who were smoking. She gave in because she felt like she had to do that or not fit in. Now people may pressure people into doing or watching inappropriate things, or bullying people. They could also pressure someone to send inappropriate things to people or start to say things that aren’t appropriate. Now we are exposed to so much and to do so much at a younger age than our parents might have. Things now are harsher and more toxic than before. As a matter of fact a teen admitted that it is much easier to get marijuana then it is to get alcohol. You can still see that the concepts or peer pressure are the same. People (normally friends) pressuring people into doing things that are bad and stupid that they don’t want to do. They feel the need to do it because they are fearful of not fitting in. I personally have been more confident and not so insecure. I haven’t been influenced by my peers in a extremely drastic way. There where a few things like how I should dress and act that my peers had influenced me. It wasn’t bad but or good, it was more of a neutral thing.
I feel like parents and teachers should talk about this more with their student or child, they should be helping to build up their confidence in themselves so they don’t feel like they need to change to please the people at school. I also think that they should create a safe environment where their child can talk openly if they feel uncomfortable. I know that my dad can be overprotective and it will scare me because I don’t want the people who are pressuring me to get in trouble because of something that I had told. To me even though they are pressuring me, they are my friends and I should still protect them. Plus they might tell other people and that could cause lots of unwanted drama. Establishing a good relationship where it isn’t awkward to talk about things that you are worried about is vital to a stable and strong upbringing as a child. I personally am lucky that I was raised by parents who are involved a lot in my life and can tell when something is bothering me. Even though we have a good relationship I feel as if it is hard for me to talk to them when I am experiencing negative things in school.
If I do talk to them about drama that might be happening in school where I am being pressured I feel awkward and as if I cannot tell them because I am a child and they are adults. I would assume that they would never understand what I was going through. I think that when consulting your child about problems that they may be facing in school like peer pressure it would be good to share a story about a time if they were ever being pressured to do something. If I was being pressured and going through things that I didn’t want to do it would help me a lot to know that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. A thing that my parents would do with me is they would randomly ask me what I would do if someone offered me drugs or alcohol. My dad would always ask me, “ What do you do if someone offers you drugs?” Now of course I would respond with a no. My dad would press me further by saying, “ But what if they say come on I’m your best friend, and if you don’t then I’ll tell everyone that you are a coward and I would not be your friend anymore.”
This helped me be able to have confidence that if someone offered me drugs or alcohol then I would say no. It gives you “practice on saying no, and what they might say or threaten you with and how to respond to it. The majority of teens with substance abuse problems began using drugs or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. Lots of your bad decisions could come from peer pressure, bullying people or saying hateful things. Negative things can sprout from trying to fit into society, as can good things. You could be shaped into a better person, or just drag yourself down and do things that you will regret in the future. Even if they are your friends with a person for a long time, they aren’t good friends if they are pressuring you to do something that you know is wrong.
Even if you are scared or just don’t want to fall out of the spotlight you should still think of yourself first. What do you want? Have a few friends that will pressure you to do things that are stupid and could hurt your or the people around you, or do you want new friends that won’t pressure you to do things that you know is stupid and wrong. The choice is yours, just say no. I know that it could be hard at first but you have to understand, you will have a life outside of school. You have so much more time away from school with a bright future ahead of you. Don’t let the decisions that you make to fit in or be popular cloud over your future.