Negative Peer pressure is a horrible feeling. You don’t feel accepted by your peers and they put strong pressure on you to do whatever it is they want. More often than not this turns out not to be in your best interest. It feels like the people don’t like you for who you are or don’t have any respect for you. I have personally dealt with this in my younger years and could give you some insights on how it made me feel and how I deal with it today. Peer pressure happens mostly to kids and teens, but can affect anyone at any age. Truthfully, most of us have been a victim of peer pressure at some point in our lives.
Kids are always trying to fit in with the crowd, and be cool. Sometimes what the cool kids are doing isn’t really that cool at all and can get you into a lot of trouble or maybe even form some really bad habits at an early age. Some of these habits could be sex,drinking,drugs,crimes, or violence. Kids and young adults who are usually good and well behaved can fall victim to peer pressure just as easy.
The good news is you can always say “NO”. One of the easiest ways to get out of a peer induced situation is to simply say “NO” and walk away. You may not feel as cool at the time, but you will be thankful later on that you did. Take a stand for what you believe is right. Don’t go through life regretting that you let others make major decisions for you. Taking a stand is never easy, but it’s the right thing to do. Standing up for yourself demonstrates self-respect to your peers and is one of the key components of breaking the peer pressure cycle. Be a good example for you peers and you may even save some of them from making bad decisions.
You need to determine who your real friends are and who aren’t going to pressure you into doing stuff you don’t want to do. When you ask people who have fallen victim to peer pressure why he or she did so, one of the most common responses is that they never thought their friend would lead them down that path. Also, that they trusted their friends to help them make the right decisions. Real friends would never make you do something you didn’t feel comfortable with or involve you in things that would get you into trouble. Don’t rush yourself into friendships, be selective and careful about the people whom you choose to hang out with. If they are already troublemakers you will probably end up making some of the same decisions as they do. It’s ok to be picky.
Another great way to combat peer pressure’s negative effects is to love yourself. If you have high enough self-esteem you aren’t really going to feel the need to fit in as much. Studies show people with high self-esteem almost never fall victim to bad peer pressure situations. Love yourself for who you are no matter what. Especially things you have no control over. Just accept yourself for who you are and stay true to your heart.
Parents can help their children combat peer pressure by teaching their children at a young age why they should set limits and about standing up for themselves. They need to evaluate their own information when it comes time for them to make a decision and make one based what they want to do and not what everyone else wants them to do.
Amanda is an author and contributor here on personal development 123. She is an expert in self-help and motivating others. Amanda is a family women living in Tennessee with her daughter and enjoys writing and web marketing.