Peer Pressure: Definition, Types, Examples, and Ways to Cope

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  • To support children in an age of screens and social media, it’s important for parents to teach healthy digital habits that encourage emotional health.
  • When you’re watching a TV show or a movie, or even reading a book, peer pressure is often presented in a very straight forward way.
  • When you’re faced with a choice, ask yourself what your reasons are for doing something.
  • When teens make a choice that is right for them and stick with it, they learn to express their values.

With indirect peer pressure, no one is singling you out, but the environment you’re in may influence you to do something. If you’re at a party where everyone is drinking, for instance, you might feel pressured to drink even if no one asks you to. Even more so when you realize that peer pressure isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Someone’s peers can pressure them into making positive changes, or avoiding bad situations. To support children in an age of screens and social media, it’s important for parents to teach healthy digital habits that encourage emotional health. When teens make a choice that is right for them and stick with it, they learn to express their values.

Reinforce Values

But it’s the quality — not quantity — of time spent that’s truly important. “I was being peer pressured to be mean to one of my friends… I knew it wasn’t right and I felt awful that I was doing this to one of my closest friends.” It can be difficult to find the right way to say no to friends and classmates, especially if you are worried about possible consequences such as bullying, social isolation, or rejection. Gender can affect how these pressures are internalized and expressed. For example, of the 29% of teens who responded they felt peer pressure to look “good,” girls were more likely than boys to say they feel a lot of pressure to look good (35% vs. 23%). Peer pressure in younger children tends to be limited to copying bad behaviors such as acting out or taking things that don’t belong to them.

how to deal with peer pressure

Armed with some vital skills, teens can learn to handle and overcome peer pressure. We can give teens the know-how by considering the following strategies and understanding how they can make a difference. When I was at school, I struggled to shake the overwhelming feeling that I was somehow lagging behind everyone else.

Strategies to Handle Peer Pressure

Peers can also be other kids who are about your age and are involved in the same activities with you or are part of a community or group you belong to. You may not consider all of your peers to be friends, but they can all influence you. Role modeling good emotional self-regulation may also help your child stick to their own values when it comes to peer pressure. Self-regulation involves the ability to control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to manage current behavior and achieve long-term goals.

And, the people suggesting the behaviors often do it to show they are the trendsetters. If their temporary lapse in judgment doesn’t cross into territory in which safety or morality are at risk, try to stay calm. Have a reasonable discussion after a bit of time has passed. It should be a conversation in which you don’t pass judgment. If possible, share a situation from when you were younger in which you made a mistake and explain what you learned from it. That even-handedness will encourage them towards making positive choices if faced with a similar peer situation in the future.

Why Do Some Kids Give in to Peer Pressure?

One common social media misrepresentation is when people post the “best” of their lives, creating a false sense of reality. This can lead teens to compare the true reality of their lives to the “picture-perfect” portrayal of others’ lives and feel pressure to keep up. Additionally, the absence of in-person feedback can enable an environment in which people share harmful content or abusive comments that they would not otherwise say in person. This phenomenon (called trolling) is an incredibly pervasive form of negative peer pressure found on social media. There have also been examples of harmful online challenges that have the potential to negatively impact a child’s health. There are endless skills for teens to develop with their peers.

But as children age, parents’ influence decreases and the opinion of peers becomes more and more important. Social pressure can affect a wide range of thoughts, actions and behaviors, from academic performance to substance use to mental health. Older teens and young adults may be peer pressured to engage in harmful activities like drinking alcohol, smoking, or reckless driving. At this age, peer pressure has the potential to affect a child’s long-term health and well-being and put them into dangerous situations.

How to Handle Peer Pressure

These are skills that not only support their ability to make it through tough situations today but will also serve them far into adulthood. Passive peer pressure, sometimes called unspoken pressure, may have more influence over behavior than active peer pressure. Unspoken pressure may be harder to resist because it can seem easier to go along with the crowd in order to fit in, especially when there’s no explicit pressure to do something. People who don’t feel pushed into something may have a harder time finding an opportunity to refuse. When peer pressure is positive, it pushes you to be your best. Negative peer pressure is when someone who is a friend or part of a group you belong to makes you feel that you have to do something to be accepted.

how to deal with peer pressure

It helps you maintain your core self and creates a healthier environment around you. The best way to handle a peer pressure bully is to nab him (or her) when the two of you are alone and explain how you’re feeling and ask him/her to get off your case. When teens have the opportunity to practice new strategies, they gain confidence in their ability to use the skills in real life.

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