influenced by peer pressure

Defining Peer Pressure

“Come on we’re skipping biology class! Let’s go for a walk and grab some food!”

It sounds like a good idea but in your head you know it’s not the right thing to do. Do you do what you know is right and go to biology class or hang out with the cool kids? That’s peer pressure.

As you grow older you will be faced with many challenging decisions, including some that might have some consequences. Sometimes the right answer won’t always be clear and it’s up to us to learn how to make the right choices.

We are always surrounded by people that will influence our decision-making – doesn’t matter what age we are. Sometimes these influences will be positive, like when a friend teaches you how to solve a math equation. Other times people can negatively influence you. For example, they might pressure you to take something from a store without paying for it. So what’s the best way to handle peer pressure?

Handling Peer Pressure

Some kids will give into peer pressure as a way to fit in and be accepted by a certain crowd. They are worried they’ll be judged or made fun of if they don’t do what everyone wants them to do. The idea that “everyone else is doing it” can influence kids to leave behind their common sense and better judgement behind.

peer pressure comic

It can be difficult to say no to peer pressure. But it can be done.

Pay attention to how you are feeling and beliefs about what is right and wrong. Your inner strength and confidence can help you stand firm and resist doing something when you know better. Sometimes even just having a friend standby with you who is willing to stand up for you can make it easier to resist. Someone with the same values as you will help back you up when you don’t want to do something.

Choose your friends wisely.

You may have heard this many times from your parents and teachers but those words are said for a reason. Peer pressure is a big reason why they say this. Friends that don’t do drugs, smoke, cut class, lie, or bully, are more likely to influence you in the wrong way. You pick your friends usually because you share the same interests, but also make sure you both have the same values.

If you are still having a difficult time handling peer pressure, talk to someone you can trust. A parent, teacher, or counsellor can make you feel better about saying no and prepare you for the next time you’re faced with a difficult decision.

Positive Peer Pressure

Peer pressure doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. For example, peer pressure can influence bullies into acting better towards others. If enough kids band together, peers can pressure each other to do what’s right.

Want to learn more about handling peer pressure? Check out Kids Health.