There is no getting around it, peer pressure is a normal part of many young adults’ and teenagers’ formative years. It is also a part of our lives as adults as well. I found an article about it on VeryWellHealth by MIchelle Pugle about it called “How Peer Pressure Affects All Ages.”
What is Peer Pressure?
In her article, Pugle defines peer pressure as any type of influence, positive or negative, that comes from a peer group. This peer group can be a group that is all the same age or a group that holds similar interests. The motto for the quarter is resisting peer pressure which could say that it may all be negative. however, some of it is positive pressure which can help us make a good choice for us that we are just scared to make. The resisting peer pressure is more about stopping to think about the decision that is right for you, and not to let your peers determine it for you.
Pugle goes onto say that peer pressure is not only a thing that happens with teens and young adults. It is something that continues throughout our lives. But when you learn to accept it and build up your self confidence and positive influences around you, may prevent being as affected by this issue.
Statistics About Peer Pressure
I love how she talks about peer pressure isn’t just about someone asking you to try drugs or alcohol. For many of us, this is how it was always presented. But there are many other ways teens and young adults feel peer pressure. The following are the statistics she presented in her article that I found interesting.
- Academic achievement (61% responded they feel pressure to get strong grades)
- Looking a certain way (29% felt pressure to look “good”)
- Fit into social peer groups (28% )
- Be more involved in extracurriculars and be good at athletics (21%)
- Drug and alcohol use (4 and 6%, respectively)
See, the one that was big for us adults growing up is on the bottom of the list. But as I look closer, the other things our teens are being pressured about, we were probably experiencing too. Now as adults, we feel the peer pressure to compete for promotions at work, or to have the best lawn on our block. We feel those pressures to fit in with our peer groups and continue to try and keep that status within them.
Peer Pressure isn’t all negative
Like I mentioned above, not all peer pressure is negative. Positive peer pressure provides us with support to try something new like a hobby or a new job or career change. Here is a list of the examples provided in the VeryWellHealth article
- Joining an extracurricular activity or trying a new hobby
- Challenging and not participating in gossip
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Working to save money for college
- Going to therapy (solo or couples)
- Making a career change
Just remember, sometimes our peers are just cheering us on to try new things or make a good choice that we are scared to make. Positive Peer Pressure is the nudge we may need to do it.
Resisting Peer Pressure
Resisting Peer Pressure is more about making our own choices despite what others may be pressuring us to do. One of the best ways we can resist it is to have confidence in the choices we are making. For teens, that will come with experience and learning from doing. For adults, it is a little bit the same, but we have experience to fall back on.
Here are a few ways that Pugle suggests to cope with peer pressure
- Not spending time with people who pressure you to do things that feel wrong or dangerous.
- Having difficult conversations, learning to say “no,” and practicing leaving situations that feel unsafe or uncomfortable. This may include calling a parent or spouse for support.
- Befriending people who resist negative peer pressure and/or who have a positive influence.
- Talking to a trusted peer or professional (teacher, counselor) if you have problems saying “no” or are feeling pressured to change something about yourself.
Surrounding yourself with positive influences will help you to resist peer pressure which may be negative or hurtful to you and your health. It will also help you to be happier in your life journey as well.
Be sure to check out this article on VeryWellHealth.com and many other great articles and resources they have on their site.
Also, if you are looking for resources on this topic or any other topic seen as a teen challenge, check out the Mentoring A Dream Resources Page.