Deal with Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is one of the most challenging problems for anyone. It affects the social life of everyone all over world.
It is one of the reasons for unclear decision making of teenager, because people around them were dictating an action that they do not want to do.
The emotional state of an individual can be affected due to peer pressure and, in a long term it can lead to serious problems such as anxiety, poor decision making and being too much dependent on other people for validation.
If a kid does not know how to deal with peer pressure usually leads to a lot of stress and anxiety in a teenager. To know if your teenager is suffering from anxiety related issues do read our article on How-To SPOT & DEAL with Teenage Anxiety Issues and gain more insights.
That is why it is important to understand some ways on how we can deal with peer pressure.
But how can you deal with peer pressure? What are the ways that you can do to avoid doing something that we do not want to do?
- Who is a peer and What is peer pressure?
- Types of Peer Pressure and how to identify them
- Some common types of negative peer pressure
- Checklist to help your teen spot peer pressure
- 10 ‘Way outs’ to help you get out of peer pressure
- 5 Ways to deal with peer pressure
- Video time – Experts speak
But first thing first!
To overcome peer pressure, it is very important to understand what peer pressure is.
According to Wikipedia Peer pressure (or social pressure) is the direct influence on people by peers,
Or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitude, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual.
Meaning to say when you are pressured by your colleague, friends, or family to do a decision that you do not want to do that is considered as peer pressure.
Fortunately, pressure can be overcome easily if you know how to deal with it.
Who is a peer and What is peer pressure?
A peer is someone who yes of similar age to you. Who share similar interest a part of group or a community that you belong to?
A peer can also be your friend. But not all your peers are your friends, but they can exercise influence on you.
For example. All your classmates are your peers. But not all of them are your friends. You do not spend more time with peers or hang around with them. You do it with your friends.
However, let us say most of them in your class has a type of phone or a device. You might get influenced to buy a similar type of device just to fit in.
So, you see. Peers do have influence on you. Even though they are not part of your group of friends.
The pressure exerted by this group of people (classmates in the case above) on the teenager is called peer pressure.
These pressures need not be direct for example someone comes to you and says, “you need to have this phone to be part of the class”.
It can be a pressure your teenager is bringing onto themselves because others are having it.
Types of Peer Pressure and how to identify them
There are two types of peer pressure your teenager can face…
Positive Peer pressure: This is the type that pushes you to be the best version of yourself. The one that is progressive and brings out your potential.
E.g. A healthy competition in academic grades between classmates.
How to spot: If you do something out of positive peer pressure: You will feel good about yourself. Even if you did not win you will still feel good about trying. It will motivate you to learn from your mistakes and bounce back. You will feel confident to raise to the challenge gain. It Pushes you forward.
Negative peer pressure: This type of pressure forces you to do something you do not want or wish to do but makes you do it to “fit in” or “feel accepted”.
How to spot: If you do something out of negative peer pressure: You will feel weak, disappointed, question yourself, your belief, and your values when you resort to doing it.
Some common types of negative peer pressure
I have outlined below common types of negative peer pressures so you can educate your teen with these examples.
- Pressure to have a certain standard to fit in (e.g. A certain car, or mobile or dress etc)
- Having to act a certain way to feel included in the social group. (e.g. To act snobby, or cool, or rude, mean etc)
- To reach certain target to feel validated (e.g. Have certain social media accounts, have a benchmark of followers, or likes or shares etc.)
- To accept and glorify certain acts contrary to your own nature (e.g. Rash drive, to take risks, to shoplift or break in etc…)
- To engage in certain behaviour to appear “cool” (e.g. Such as to bully a junior, to pass comments or hoot at ladies, to harass or abuse someone)
- Forced to use substance to feel in control and like an adult (e.g. Use drugs, drink, smoke, or any other substance abuse (even chewing gum all the time))
- To be forced or seek sexual pleasures or indulge in sexual activities.
- To cheat, lie, copy and other detestable behaviour to get away with things not to be done.
Some of our articles that you might want to read about to help you better are..
- How-to Talk to your Teen about Dating and Relationship
- How -To Talk to your Teenager about Sexual Abuse
- How-To talk to teen about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol
Checklist to help your teen spot peer pressure
Teach your kid this small and simple 4 point yes/ no check list. And if the answer to any of these questions is a negative. Then your teen needs to understand that they are under peer pressure. And they should say “NO’ or take time and wriggle out.
- Am I feeling ‘OK’ to do what is asked of me or is it making me feel uncomfortable?
- Does it feel right to do what I am asked to do?
- Will it cause me or others any harm (physically or mentally) if I do it?
- If I do what I am asked to do. Can I openly and freely talk about what I have done to my loved ones or will I feel shame?
10 ‘Way outs’ to help you get out of peer pressure
While the best is to avoid situations or people who pressurise your teen.
Incase it is not possible, or your teen gets into a situation they need to manage. Teach your teen these tactics.
So that they can wriggle out from the situation without embarrassment or loss of social standing.
REMEMBER : It is better to teach your teen these excuses than leave them to think of it on their own when they are already under pressure.
- Give a direct refusal. A ‘NO’ that they do not wish to do it.
- Request the person who is pressuring to ‘STOP’.
- Make soft refusal such as “may be not today,” “can I do it next time”, “Will do it later” or “Thanks, but sorry I can’t. now”
- Use delay tactic… such as “can I get back”, “let me think about it”, “I need time.”, “I will tell you tomorrow”
- Use excuse to slip out and leave the situation… “Not now… got to run an errand”, “Not keeping well… catch you soon”, “Have work to catch up… bye “, “have an early day tomorrow… Got to catch sleep”, “meeting someone shortly… Got to go…”
- Take a friend along in case you suspect tricky situation. Give a clear expectation to your friend on what you suspect so they can be in the alert. That way your friend can support or intervene for you. E.g. Friends calling you for a party.
- Stand up for people who you feel is pressurized. This is called “bystander intervention”. That way you are not a party to crime by being a mute spectator but help another person in need.
- Have a secret code with your parents. So, when they spot it, they can come to your rescue. I have heard someone say they had a hamburger emoji as their SOS call code. My kids were instructed to send an SMS “help” with location or have their GPS on. We would immediately call them and stay online with them. After all, “Have to take my MOM’s call is a good enough excuse for many situations”.
Specific situation excuses
- Excuses against use of drugs, smoke, or alcohol. “Have a family get together later in the day. Sorry not drink/ use drugs now”, “am on medication…”, “Have a condition <asthma, headache, aches etc.>, sorry cannot do” …” have a competition/test/ exam tomorrow. Need to have head clear…”, “got to pick up family member later, need to drive”.
- Excuses for pressures of activities of sexual nature.. “ Not in the mood..”, “ I looks all messy, let me clean up and come”, “Feeling a bit sick.. got to go..”. Delay tactic and excuses to slip out also work in these situations.
Also talk to your teen about How to prevent your teen from social media addiction and How-To protect your kid from Bullying. It will be of help when you raise your teenager.
Ways to deal with peer pressure
So, here are FIVE EFFECTIVE tips that you can do whenever you feel pressured by your friends, family, or colleague
Learn to Refuse
Teach your teenager to say ‘No’. Help them with way outs and excuses so they can slip out of the situation. (Addressed above).
Tell them that saying “NO” to what they feel uncomfortable is not a sign of weakness but that of strength.
Speak to your children and help them out with some standard excuse for common issues that your children might face.
Issues like pressure to smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, indulge in sexual acts, or be destructive.
Teach them how to identify these pressures and how to slip out of the situation wisely.
They were times I have even role-played with my son on few of these topics.
And I have also seen him do the same type of role play with his younger brother when the younger one was close to teenage.
They say knowledge is power and while we may have trained our kids. And we believe our children may not get trapped into these social pressures.
It is still advisable that we know and be vigilant for some science How-To find out if your teenager is using drugs that we need to look out for. Read article on to know more.
Know when to Leave the Situation
If you are peer pressured at the moment, sometimes the best way to avoid it something is to leave the situation.
Learn to understand your situations. Evaluate if your friends are really forcing you to do things that you do not like? If yes then, it is much better to leave the place to avoid unnecessary decisions on your part.
Always come up with a phrase as an excuse such as “Sorry I’ve got a curfew” or “Sorry, I’ve got to meet my parents right now.”
Just make sure that you will let your friends know the reason why you are leaving. Create an excuse depending on the situation in other words make an excuse that is believable.
One important benefit of leaving the place is that you will get some space and an opportunity to think and analyze the situation. You can respond to your friends better the next day when you see them.
You can also avoid getting into a situation like this once you know how the situation is getting built up.
My son would say that when he goes with friends. And when they plan to stop on a particular tea stall. Invariably the situation of wanting to have a smoke arises.
And my son has noticed that since he does not like this habit his friends start pushing him or challenging him to take a drag.
Once he figured this pattern. He was more vigilant and anytime his friends suggest having a pit stop at the tea stall, he would slowly make his excuse and move away from the situation.
You know why certain places exist. Places like bars and pubs. So, if you feel that you will get into uncomfortable situations when you visit these places. It is just better to avoid going in the first place. The key is to be in control not to go there.
Browse through our numerous articles to know more about parenting challenges from the link given here -> Parenting challenges faced wile raising teenagers.
Choose positive social group
Peer pressure can be avoided of your teen does not go in a place or situation that will make them uncomfortable. This avoidance of triggers is a very effective way to deal with peer pressure.
Ask them to always be wary where their group of friends planned to go out.
If the peer pressure comes from a social group or circle of friends then, maybe it is the time to be socially selective.
Help them choose a positive social group that can accept their personality so they dont have to deal with peer pressure.
Our article How-to help your teen to choose right friends can help you with this.
Note to Parents
Get to know your teenager’s friend circle. Keep them always in your radar. Entertain them in your house and speak to them when you get a chance. So that you can understand then better.
Even if you disapprove of some friends of your teenager do not confronted it outright. If you do your teenager might get defensive and close you out.
The best way to deal with this is to point out the behavior, or issue rather than the individual.
It is good to have positive social circles. It not only helps your teenager to grow and be better.
But when they have a secure relationship with friends it also plays an important part in reducing depression related issues in teenagers.
As parents it is wise to be aware of these issues and have a watch out for the same. Read article How-to find out if your teenager is battling depression? and How to influence your teenager’s mental well-being to know more.
Ask for Advice/ Seek Help from Others
Peer pressure can be a serious problem especially when your teen keeps it to themselves.
That is why it is very important for you to give them the needed support.
Ask for advice from your trusted friends and family if you are at loss on ow to help. Let them know your situation and for sure they will be willing to extend their hands for you.
Make sure to seek help from people that you truly trust it can be your best friend, parents, or partner in life.
Help your teen deal with peer pressure by being the someone they can lean on.
Sometimes kids volunteer and come to ask for help.
Sometimes a little bit of a nudging from our side is needed to break the ice and reach out to our children.
But all this will be successful only when you create an emotional bond with them and maintain it.
Do you read or article on How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager to help you in this journey?
We noticed that our son was not himself for few weeks in a row. We kept asking him if something was worrying him. And he always gave us vague answers.
Till one day due to a constant reaching out to him he opened up stating that he is facing problems with his best friend.
On enquiry we figured out that his best friend has joined in with some bad company and where experimenting on drugs.
My son was not very comfortable with. However, he wanted to be with his friend and not abandon him and try to get his friend out of the new company of friends.
He was not only unsuccessful, but he was also getting dragged into it and he felt stuck.
It took us a while to help our son get out of this situation and make peace with himself. For choosing to move away from bad company including his close friend.
But him reaching out to us helped us as a family to come together and build a stronger bond than before.
Help your kid to know themselves better
Help your teen to get to know themselves better. The things that they like and that they dont.
Once they know themselves better they will not be comfortable to so something they dont like. Something that will make them feel less of themselves.
Make your teen do these there things to get to know themselves better.
The first one : Write a daily journal; this may sound cliche but writing a daily journal can help you know yourself even more.
It can help you to reflect daily that will help you to organize your thoughts. Daily reflection in the long run can help you to overcome peer pressure.
The second one : Engage in different activities whether in a sport, boot camp or hobby.
It can help you to enjoy things and have positive perspective in life. You will also benefit with a healthy body when you engage in sports, and healthy body is equal to healthy mind.
The Third one : Ask your people close to you on who they think you are. Your strengths, your areas of improvement, and your weaknesses.
You will be surprised to know how they see you and you might find few things about yourself that you were not aware about.
To be more effective in this. Ask question to people who are in different relationship with you. Such as parents, siblings, friends, teachers and coaches, and neighbors.
There are many ways we can build self-awareness in our children. Talks and feedback are one effective way. Self-awareness leads to self-confidence.
My Example – A leaf from my experience
My son around the age of 15 started becoming friendly with a boy who worked in a mechanic shop.
And slowly we notice that my son’s outlook of life was changing.
He started talking about how he can get a job immediately and start earning money.
At his age, a daily wage was good and higher when he compared to the allowance, we were giving him. He started justifying to himself that this was the best he could do and not study further.
It was his coach who came to our rescue at this trouble times. His coach spoke about him about his talent in cricket.
Pushed him with extra classes. Highlighted his strengths and slowly made him realize that he could do far more than becoming a mechanic helper boy in a shop.
Ignited by the feedback from his coach. My son would come asking us on who we thought he was.
And was it possible that he can achieve what his coach believes him to achieve. And we helped along the way in bringing to his notice what we think he was.
Video Time: Experts Speak
Watch the video below to know on what experts have to say on this topic.
Experts opinion on how to deal with peer pressure
In conclusion, there are things that you can do to cope up with peer pressure or social pressure. You must understand and classify first the problem to fight against it.
For parents: Read our article How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life to help your teenager with the most needed life skill.
All problems in this world have a solution. You can cope up with peer pressure by doing an intervention:
Know when to say NO in a situation,
- Leave a situation when necessary.
- Always be in control in your life in any situation,
- Do not be afraid or shy to ask for advice from your friends, family, or love ones.
- You must know yourself better to gain clarity in life
You can be the beginning to overcome peer pressure when you are experiencing it.
Once you have learnt to cope up with it do not forget to extend your hand to help another person. Help your friends, family or love one that may possibly experience peer pressure.
Peer pressure is a phenomenon that we will encounter at some point of our lives. You must be ready and knowledgeable enough in order to cope up with it.
Since for sure each of us will experience it, we must change our perspective about it. Let us think that it is a challenge that we must accomplish in order to be promoted in life.
Let us think of it as an opportunity to showcase our ability as an individual. In this way we can have a positive perspective even in darkest hour of our life.
However, I am a mother growing 3 kids. Am a concerned parent.
I like to share my knowledge with the hope that it will be help to someone somewhere and make a difference to a very worried parent.
I have written this article, basis my experience, my talk with experts in this line and research on this topic. Also, I have implemented it in my life with my kids.
I like to emphasize that this is only for knowledge sharing and information purpose.
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