Let me just go on and rip off the band-aid: it doesn’t shock us anymore that our friends, classmates, elder siblings or building buddies are illegally consuming narcotics or drinking underage. The millennial generation is so at ease with this fact, because, well, doing drugs or drinking isn’t really considered odd any more. In fact, if you happen to be (and I quote someone I really can’t name) ‘one of those clean souls’ who swear not to touch alcohol until they can legally do so, you are the one who is considered weird or unusual. This is exactly where peer pressure comes into play.
Dealing with peer pressure
No matter how good a parent you are, or how open you are with your child, their friends play a major part in affecting the way their mind works and processes things. A child’s need to associate with other people their age is so strong that they’ll do anything to fit in. Maybe, they’ll even try a pot brownie or, perhaps, smoke a joint. That’s what all the cool kids are doing these days, aren’t they?
There’s no biggie in trying!
Oh, but there is! You see, ‘just trying’ quickly develops into a habit, and a habit doesn’t take very long to grow into full-blown ‘addiction’. That, my friends, is a ‘biggie’
Approximately seventy percent of underage drinkers confess that it was peer pressure which led them to develop an infatuation with alcohol. Most teens feel compelled to lose their virginity before the age of 16 because they are pressured into it. Teenagers develop shoplifting habits on the encouragement of their friends. This is becoming a serious issue day by day and it must be put an end to.
Teens need to be educated on how to counter peer pressure. Standing your ground firmly and being clear about your decisions will steer you clear off of people who would want to pressure you into things you’re uncomfortable with. Surround yourselves with happy, healthy and well-behaved friends. Learn how to feel comfortable with saying ‘no’. It’s nothing to feel guilty about. You don’t owe anyone any explanation for your reasons as well. Most of all, listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t smell right, immediately leave. No one’s ego is above your own safety. Choose trustworthy friends who will back you up when you need it. Just having one companion resisting peer pressure beside you makes it a lot easier to ward off.
The feel to conform to the ‘rules’ of your peers and adapt to their mannerisms just to fit in can be strong. Teenage years are difficult, where we are on the path of self-discovery, which also makes it easier for us to swerve off the right path and drift to the wrong. Think of the consequences of your reckless actions and how they are bound to harm you and your family later on. Choose whose opinion matters more to you: your family, who you know wants only what’s best for you, or your newly found friend who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about how bright your future is?
Everyone wants to be liked or accepted, and I understand that. What doesn’t make sense to me is why we need to change our positive aspects in the process? People who are unsure of themselves or are easily influenced become easy prey for peer pressure. A new group with new habits does not mean you are expected to follow their thoughtless ways. You are your own person and you are the one who is entitled to make decisions concerning your own life and future. Fighting peer pressure doesn’t require you to own a magic wand, but it does require a lot of nerve.
Image Credit: Pixabay/ karosieben