Friendships are very much an integral aspect of the teenage years. Friends could influence and support them through their adolescent (teenage) era. This period, friendship that are more intimate, exclusive and more constant is developed. Many parents worry that their teenage children could fall under negative peer influence that might influence the teenagers to reject their family values and beliefs, as well as, be pressed into engage in high risk behaviours.
In spite of these fears, peers play a large role in a teen’s life; offering the teens lots of positive opportunities, despite the negative connotations of the parents. The actual fear and concern by parents and other adults, should be when the teens are seen becoming too preoccupied with these friends. Positive peer influence is needed to help explore teen’s identities, learn about social norms, and practice their autonomy and the social support needed to deal with some their challenges.
Instead of watching your teens fall victim to negative influences, equip them with the skills necessary to resist negative behaviours and reach informed and good decision. Teach them exit strategies or ways to say No! to negative pressures.
Some common pressures teens and young adults face:
- Pressure to try drugs, alcohol and to smoke cigarettes or weeds
- Pressure to engage in premarital sex either by a partner or by friends
- Pressure to encourage risky online behaviour via social media
- Pressure to steal.
- Pressure to partake in illegal acts; reckless driving, driving unlicensed cars, cheating in exams, copying done assignments or ditching school entirely,
- Pressure to dress in certain uncomfortable ways.
- Pressure to join gangs or fraternity.
Walking away from peer pressure
Teens give in to pressure by their peers because they want to belong, to be liked, to fit in, everybody is doing it, worrying other kids may make fun of them. No matter the reason you are pressured into acting contrary to your better judgment, or common sense, you can walk away and be liberated and be safe today. It will be tough but you can do it by:
Deciding to choose better friends: If you choose friends who are loose, you probably will be to, so choose friends who are not loose or who do not do negative things.
Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs: Your inner strength and self confidence can help you walk away and resist doing something you are better off not doing.
Joining force with another friend willing to say No!: This makes it easier to resist and have someone who will back you up when you say No!
Staying away: If you face peer pressure when alone, you can simply stay away from such people and quickly find classmates or pals to stick around with.
Talk to a trusted adult: Don’t feel guilty if you’ve made a mistake or two. Confiding in a school counselor, teacher or a parent could be your saving grace which could prepare you if such occasions arise again.
Not all peers are bad, join some who will positively change lives and pressure others into doing what is right.