Building Character

Teen peer pressure, what is peer pressure, Battling peer pressure

Peer pressure is all about being forced into a certain way of living, dressing, talking, socializing and even thinking – simply because that is how everyone else you know behaves, dresses, talks, socializes and thinks.

This is common amongst people who generally mix with people their own age. And mind you, this is definitely not restricted to youngsters. People across all age groups are subject to peer pressure. An office-worker is subject to as much pressure from his or her peers as a young college student.

All of us wish to gain and retain the respect and admiration of our peers. After all, we have to believe that others are our equals before we want to impress them. And if we cannot win their approval, we struggle to ensure that we dont face their disapproval or ridicule either. It can be terribly painful to watch a peer humiliating us or even speaking negatively about us.

The matter of peer pressure becomes particularly difficult for youngsters because, thanks to the demands of education, they spend almost ninety percent of their waking hours with their peers. And they rarely have the choice of not mixing with those particular peers.

Young people can be often blunt and insensitive in their dealings with each other. And they are very quick to notice differences of habit, dress and social behavior. As a result, you might compelled to buy the latest fashions in clothes and accessories. Because everyone else does the same, regardless of cost or comfort. You might end up reading what they read, watching the same television programs and movies that others watch and using the same language that they use. Because, otherwise, you feel left out of all the conversation. You might end up staying out late at night or eating out all the time, simply because that is what the others do, regardless of whether you can afford to or not.

The best way to counter peer pressure is to select your friends very carefully. Preferably, your friends should be in a mixed group of people. That keeps everyone rooted and more tolerant of differences.

The second is to muster your courage and to tell people to mind their own business, if and when they begin to interfere with your life. Sure, a few people may be offended. But they will also learn to be less offensive themselves, in future.

And most importantly, you have to remember that you are an individual and a unique one. And your decisions to eat, drink, dress, talk, go out, read or think are your own. If others dont share these interests or habits, too bad. Let your peers and friends catch up with you. If they cant, find new friends.