The Oxford dictionary does not have a definition for the phrase, peer pressure. However, peer group has been defined as a group of people approximately the same age and status. For the youth, having a group of friend is an important part of being a teenager. It is how they learn to get on in the world of their age group and gradually become independent. Peer pressure in general terms refers to any of the following.
- Influence of age mates on others
- Feeling like wanting to do something first because others are doing it
- When friends persuade you into doing something that you don’t want to do.
Peer pressure can happen when we are influenced to do something, we usually would not do or something that stopped us from doing something we will like to do.
This phenomenon peer pressure is one thing that all teens have in common. Indeed, it is what every person has to encounter and deal with sometime. Conformity with ones peer group is strongest during adolescences, which is the time of acquiring experiences. How successfully you handle peer pressure depends a great deal on, how you feel about yourself and your place in the world.
There can be positive and negative peer groups. In young people like secondary schools, the negative peer pressure manifests more than positive.
NEGATIVE PEER PRESSURE
This, by implication means when your peer (friends) influence you to do things that are wrong or bad despite knowing (within yourself), that those things you are doing or want to do are actually not right.
Such negative behaviour may include:
- Missing your lessons
- Breaking of school rules and regulations
- Alcohol drinking and smoking
- Drug peddling and addition and many more.
SOME OF THE REASONS WHY PEOPLE GIVE INTO PEER PRESSURE ARE GIVEN BELOW
- Wanting to be like others
- Afraid of being made fun of or ridiculed if they don’t play along with the group
- Act of curiosity
- Pay attention to your own personal feelings and beliefs about what is right or wrong
- Build up and sustain your inner strength and confidence
- Choose friends/peers that share common values with you
- Avoid and stay away from peers who pressurize you to do things, you know are wrong or bad
- Talk to the school counsellor, teacher or your parents, when peer pressure has made you do some bad things, you will feel better if you learn from your mistake
- Don’t judge others. You only need to focus on the reason, why you are not happy with your choices.
Where peer pressure rears its ugly head, try to focus on how you feel about what is happening rather than getting caught in the web. Always stand up for what you think or know is right. Some of your peers may like the pressure, but doing the right thing is highly rewarding.