Peer pressure means the influence that one’s friend circle has on oneself. It is the need to ‘fit in’ or ‘be liked’ by friends, classmates, colleagues, etc. Everyone experiences peer pressure at some point in time. It is more common in adolescents and teenagers because their identity is still developing at that age.
Peer Pressure or Peer Influence?
Both may be positive or negative. Although we know peer pressure for its negative influences, it can be positive when-
- You learn a new sport or develop a hobby.
- You learn the beneficial uses of technology.
- You learn to say ‘No’ when someone tries to convince you to do something against your will.
- You become more socially aware or take up social projects such as taking care of animals or cleaning up the neighbourhood.
How to avoid Negative impact of Peer Pressure?
- The first step to avoid any negative peer influence is to know that you feel compelled to do something that you don’t enjoy or something is against the rules set by society or your family. To sense this, you need to be aware of your own identity and personality- know what you like, what makes you uncomfortable and know your strengths.
- Understand that just because ‘everyone is doing it’ doesn’t make a certain thing right.
- Learn to say ‘NO’.
- Reach out to your parents, to an elder or even a helpline number when you sense that you feel lost. You may also approach your school counsellor such as the one at Arya Gurukul. Alternately, this link has a list of numbers that you can call for help https://www.teentalkindia.com/call
A Note for the Parents –
As parents, you will know if your child has a predisposition for getting easily influenced by others or has a strong personality. However, it is important to remember that adolescents and their personalities are constantly evolving. A child who appears confident during early years might become unsure about oneself. Therefore, it is important to keep a lookout for –
- Changes in your child’s personality.
- Changes in moods
- Willingness to communicate.
- Withdrawn behaviour
- Too much pressure to please friends.
It is important that parents keep communication channels open with the child so that the child approaches you when he/she feels something is not right. Parents can also help by praising the child and contributing to a positive self- image so that the child doesn’t try to impress friends and others by engaging in wrong behaviours.
It is the basic need of humans to seek friendships and have meaningful relationships. But we must be able to recognise when a person means well for us and when they are using us for their own gain. Understanding our own self and the people around us is an important aspect of leading a good life. We wish there are fewer teenagers who will go astray because of negative people and thoughts.