What Is Peer Pressure ?
Peer pressure is a type of pressure exerted by a social group that influences the way a person acts or behaves. It can also influence the person's beliefs and values. Basically due to peer pressure, a person's behavior changes and so does his belief. Peer pressure can be either positive or negative.
When it comes to teenagers, they are highly vulnerable to peer pressure. They are going through a turbulent period in their developmental stage during which they are trying to find their identity and personality. They want to be accepted by a group outside the family circle. This is when peer pressure becomes dangerous, as it can influence a teenager to take up undesirable habits like smoking, doing illegal drugs and drinking alcohol. Peer pressure can also force a teenager to get into sexual activities even if they are not ready for intimacy.
However, peer pressure is not always negative in nature. It can also be positive and help a teenager perform better at school or take up extracurricular activities. Positive peer pressure can force a teenager to give up a bad habit and take up a good one.
So, basically peer pressure is a type of social pressure that is exerted on a person by his social group. Usually teens are subject to peer pressure because they end up spending more time with their friends rather than their families. A lot of a teenager's personality is molded and shaped by the peer group he or she socializes with. The teenager just follows the flow and trend prevalent in the group and acts in accordance with the group.
Type Of Peer Pressure
Peers have a powerful impact on the life of a teenager. During adolescence, teenagers are looking to be accepted by a group and be a part of a social group, and that is when peer pressure exerts a force on the life of a teenager. There are many different types of peer pressure. Some can be direct, while others are more indirect and subtle.
The different types of peer pressure that a teenager may have to face are as follows:
Direct and Negative Peer Pressure: In this type of peer pressure, the pressure exerted on the teenager is direct and spoken out aloud. For instance, a teenager may be told by his or her friends that he or she is always studying and does not do anything fun. So, the teenager is obliged to go for a drink when an invitation is handed out to him or her. Basically this type of peer pressure forces a teenager to do something that he or she should not do. With direct and negative peer pressure, a teenager cannot make excuses and get out of the situation.
Unspoken and Indirect Peer Pressure: In this type of peer pressure, the pressure is not exerted by means of words. Rather all the members in the peer group act, behave or dress in a particular manner and this puts a lot of pressure on the teenager to follow everyone else in the group. This primarily because the teenager does not want to stand out as a sore thumb while he or she is with the peer group. They want to fit in.
Effects Of Peer Pressure On Teenagers
The way a person thinks, behaves, dresses and the kinds of music or movies he or she likes tends to have an impact the way the person is perceived by the society. This is one of the main reasons why people, especially teenagers, are influenced by the lifestyle of their peer group. The lifestyle of a peer groups often forces a teenager to change his or her way of leading life and looking at it. This is not anything abnormal, as it is human nature to follow the crowd.
Very few teenagers have the courage or strength to resist peer pressure. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. If you follow the peer pressure blindly, then it will have a negative effect on you. However, if you can analyze the peer pressure and then act accordingly, it will have a positive effect on you.
Many times, teenagers are forced to behave or act in a way they do not like. This is negative peer pressure. The reason that the teenager goes along with negative peer pressure is because he or she is afraid of being rejected by the group and losing friendships. However, by giving into negative peer pressure, a teenager ends up being unhappy even without knowing it. But as acceptance and being part of a group is important during adolescence, the teenager goes along with the flow.
Negative peer pressure can make a teenager drink, smoke, indulge into unsafe sex, youth crimes and even get into drugs. If a teenager gives into negative peer pressure against his or her will, they can end up ruining their lives.
Teenage period is the time when a teenager is trying to carve his or her own identity. However, giving into to negative peer pressure can make a teenager lose his or her individuality. They can blindly follow what their peers say and do.
On the other hand, there are also positive effects of peer pressure. Here, the teenager analyzes and contemplates the way a group behaves and not picks up those habits that are beneficial. Also, by analyzing and contemplating, the teenager learns the way of life and being selective in their choices.
Positive peer pressure can help a teenager mold his or her personality and bring about a change in their personality and behavior that is positive in nature. The pressure influences the teenager to change for the better and make the correct choices in life.
Causes Of Peer Pressure
During adolescence, a teenager wants to be part of a peer group and be accepted by the group. This is one of the main reasons why peer pressure becomes very difficult to resist. However, it is the parents' responsibility to ensure that an adolescent has all the necessary skills to resist peer pressure, so that they do not get into illegal acts and unsafe behavior.
Peer pressure is not about a group of children daring another child to do something. It is quite different. Peer pressure is subtle and occurs when a group of adolescents persuade each other to start believing in certain behaviors and beliefs. The group accepts those who follow the behaviors and beliefs, while it rejects those who do not. So, when a teenager is rejected by a peer group, it causes not only shame, but also embarrassment.
Peer pressure is quite evident during teenage drinking parties where teenagers are expected to drink and not abstain from alcohol. Other forms of peer pressure are evident when it comes to clothes and approach towards sex or drugs. An adolescent cannot just agree with a group's approach to the behaviors and beliefs, and get away. He or she has to prove themselves by indulging into the acts.
A peer group will always have a leader and he or she is the one who defines the rules and is viewed as an authority figure. If an adolescent challenges the rules of a peer group, it indirectly means that he or she is challenging the authority of the leader. Most teenagers do not challenge the rules as they are worried about losing the friendship of the leader and subsequently their status in the group.
It has been seen that teenagers who do not have house rules and are brought up in a lax environment are the ones who tend to give in to peer pressure. Therefore, it is always advisable for parents to set rules and define clear boundaries, so that the teenager will not cross them. Also, parents who support their children and get involved in their lives have adolescents who have the confidence to resist peer pressure. In case a peer group rejects a confident teenager, then he or she is able to find another peer group to join that will have positive peer pressure rather than negative.
Facts On Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is the pressure that is exerted by a peer group to bring about a change in a person's attitude, behavior or morals, so that the person can fit perfectly into that particular group. While teenagers are busy submitting to peer pressure, they forget to look at the negative side of the pressure.
Peer pressure can cause a person to give up his identity and personality. So, as a result, the person ends up making wrong choices in life, something that he or she might regret later on in life. Peer pressure is definitely something to be aware of and worry about if you are a parent of a teenager.
Here are some facts on peer pressure that you should know:
- Peer pressure is highly prevalent among teenagers or youth who are of an impressionable age.
- Many times due to peer pressure, teenagers take on habits like smoking, drug abuse and binge drinking.
- Peer pressure can be positive or negative. In negative peer pressure, the effects on the teenager are negative, while positive peer pressure helps a teenager to become into a better and more responsible person.
- This pressure governs the teenager's lifestyle habits. It will have an impact on the way a teenager dresses, what sort of music or movies he or she likes or even the fashion trend the teenager follows. Basically, peer pressure influences the entire life of a teenager.
- Peer pressure can have a serious impact in the developmental growth of a teenager and should not be dismissed as being unimportant.
- Peer pressure is instrumental in getting teenagers into unprotected sex and also unsafe sex practices. This increases the chances of teenage pregnancy.
- Parents and other family members need to play a supportive role in helping a teenager overcome this pressure. It also requires the teenager to be determined and confident.
Teenage Peer Pressure
Although parents are highly protective about their children, when it comes to teenagers, parents cannot afford to shadow them and ensure that they do not get hurt or take the wrong steps in life. This means that teenagers are highly vulnerable to peer pressure as they want to be part of a group and will do anything to get accepted by their group, including giving into peer pressure.
However, it is not all that bad. Parents can still take steps to help teenagers handle teenage peer pressure.
You should not discard teenage peer pressure as being imaginative. It is real pressure that forces teenagers to take up habits and behaviors that are not suitable. The fact that many teenagers take up smoking, drinking alcohol, becoming promiscuous and using illegal drugs should be proof enough that they are being goaded by their peers to try out these behaviors.
Peer pressure also exerts teenagers to aspire for unrealistic body goals. This is commonly seen among girls where they may develop eating disorders to get an ideal body shape without realizing how much damage they are causing to their health. Also, boys want to have the perfect physique which drives them to over exercise and take steroids in their quest to get those unattainable six-packs. All this is because of teenage peer pressure.
Sometimes, teenagers get provoked into causing injury to themselves on account of peer pressure. This is primarily because the teenagers are not equipped emotionally to handle the pressure and the emotions. It is quite common sometimes for teenagers to slash their arms and also persuade other teenagers to do the same. This is intentional harm and is on account of teenage peer pressure.
Positive Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is not always negative. It can have a positive impact on a teenager. For instance, due to peer pressure, a teenager may want to join a gym, take part in sports or even study hard to get good grades. In this type of peer group, the words are spoken allowed and positive behavior is encouraged by the members of the group.
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