Did you know that two-thirds of students have tried alcohol by 12th grade? Meanwhile, half of the 9th-12th grade students admitted to using marijuana. On the other hand, 4 in 10 students tried smoking cigarettes.
Among the reasons for consuming alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes is peer pressure.
Are you looking to find out how you can protect yourself from the dangers of peer pressure? Are you a parent eager to find out how to keep your child safe from the dangers of peer pressure? Keep reading to find out the answer.
What is Peer Pressure?
A peer does not only refer to a close friend. Your peers may include your neighbors, classmates or schoolmates, and churchmates.
The people who are in the same organization as you are also your peers. They may be from your basketball team, book club, or community club.
Most of the time, you spend more time with your peers than with your family members. This is why you pick up some of their habits.
For instance, you spend a lot of time with a peer in your basketball team who loves eating popcorn. At first, you’ll let him be, but time will come where you’ll realize that it’s not him eating popcorn a lot, but you do too.
Your peers influence your decisions, such as what to wear, eat, or how to behave. This influence that one person has on another is what we call “peer pressure.”
How Does Peer Pressure Work?
If you’ve watched the movie series Mean Girls, you have an idea of how peer pressure works. Some may want to feel like they belong, while others fear the thought of getting kicked out of the group. This is why people often succumb to peer pressure.
There are many reasons why people give in to peer pressure. These reasons include:
- Wanting to fit in
- Wanting to get the approval of friends
- Scared of being “different”
- They don’t want their friends to bully them
- Trying new things
These reasons influence why most people succumb to peer pressure. But not all peer pressure is negative. Let’s discuss more on that in the section below.
Positive Peer Pressure
With the right group of peers, peer pressure could help you in different aspects. For instance, your peer has good grades at school. Wanting to be on par with your peers, you push yourself to study hard with their help and succeed in the end.
Other examples of positive peer pressure include:
- Pushing a friend to develop a healthy lifestyle
- Pushing a friend to stay away from drugs
- Inviting a friend to join a recreational activity
- Encouraging a friend to save money
- Disapproving when a friend is gossiping
- Telling a friend off when she/he does something wrong
- Influencing a friend into avoiding drugs
Positive peer pressure results in positive benefits for both parties. When you surround yourself with peers who pressure you, you’ll get to:
- Have long-lasting friendship
- Get a positive role model
- Receive helpful advice
- Try new positive skills/hobbies/things
- Have someone who you can rely on
- Receive positive encouragement
- Have someone who can help improve self-esteem.
These are only a few of the many benefits you get when you surround yourself with people who influence you. Meanwhile, peer pressure can also lead to the development of negative behaviors. Keep ready to know more about the dangers of peer pressure.
Dangers of Peer Pressure
A study found out that boys who saw their peers engaging in abusive behaviors are more likely to perpetrate violence against others. These include rape, bullying, dating abuse, and youth violence. This proves how much danger peer pressure is.
Peer Pressure and Drugs and Alcohol
Imagine this scenario, your friends invited you to a party one night, and you accepted. At the party, everyone was partying hard while drinking alcohol except you.
While playing a game, someone noticed that you’re the only one not drinking. That someone teased you for that and challenged you to drink a cup. Everyone started chanting your name, encouraging you to drink.
They were telling you that “it’s one cup” and that it wouldn’t hurt you. Feeling the pressure from the group, you chug the cup of alcohol while they cheer. Sooner or later, you won’t be needing them to challenge you to drink, and you’ll drink every time they do since you’re all part of the “same group.”
This scenario can happen with anything, including drugs. You see your friends smoking and doing drugs and want to experience that, so you too try one. These can result to:
- Possible accidents
- Alcohol and drug addiction
- Drug or alcohol poisoning
- Death by overdose
- Sexually transmitted diseases like HIV
- Serious health effects
Drugs and alcohol are not the only risky behavior that can develop from peer pressure. You can also feel the pressure to change your lifestyles, like eating habits, hobbies, and mentality.
You can also develop gambling addiction and other negative behaviors. Other negative effects of peer pressure include:
- Developing anxiety
- Becoming depressed
- Feeling bad about your appearance
- Hating yourself
- Withdrawal from family
- Distract you from school
- Become someone you’re not
These are only a few of the many dangers of peer pressure. Of course, there are ways to protect yourself from peer pressure. Read on to find out how.
How To Avoid Peer Pressure
You can take countless measures to ensure that you won’t face the dangers of peer pressure. Here is a list of how you can protect yourself from the dangers of peer pressure.
- Become friends with peers who have a positive lifestyle
- Stay away from peers who do drugs
- Learn and practice how to say “no”
- Practice ways to avoid unsafe situations
- Limit your interaction with peers who bully others
- Learn the difference between true friends versus peers
For parents who are looking to keeping their child safe from peer pressure, consider the following:
- Communicate with your child
- Teach your child how to resist
- Learn who your child hangs out with
- Compliment your child to help him/her develop self-confidence
These are only a few of the things that you can do to help yourself or your child stir away from the dangers of peer pressure.
Resisting Peer Pressure
Now that you’ve learned about the dangers of peer pressure, it’s time to stand firm and resist. Don’t know how?
We’ve got your back. Contact us today, and let us know how we can help you.