Teen Peer Pressure

Teen Peer Pressure is the influence on a peer group, observers or individual exerts that influences others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to groups.

It is important that teens learn to handle peer pressure, and to recognize when it is positive and when it is negative.

As an adolescent you enter these teen years, you may begin to focus more on your peers or friends. The desire to fit in with peers can be a very strong influence on any teenager. Peers influence most aspects of a teen’s life, including how you dress, what music you listen to, and what kind of activities you may get involved in. Peer pressure can be direct or indirect, but it is almost always present. Learning to handle peer pressure helps you mature and learn positive ways to get along with others.

Peer pressure is not always bad. Good friends can encourage you to do well in school, get involved in positive activities, volunteer, eat healthy foods, and avoid drugs, alcohol, and other risky activities. Friends can also help you learn good social skills and better ways to communicate and work out problems, and give good advice.

Even pressure to do good things can be bad for teens, however, you need to learn to say NO when you need to. For instance, you may need to say no to going to a movie if you have homework that needs to be done. Always going along with what others want can cause you to have lower self esteem, and to give up things that are important to you.

Negative peer pressure is when teens feel pressured to do something they know is wrong, such as smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or stealing, or something they don’t want to do such as cutting class or having sex.

You may be tempted to give in to negative peer pressure because you want to be liked or fit in, you may even be afraid of being made fun of, or you want to try something other teens are doing. Negative peer pressure will remain a part of a teen’s life into adulthood, which is why it is important for you to learn how to deal with it.

Here are some tips you can can teach your teen on how to handle peer pressure:

  • Decide before you get into situation what your values and standards are
  • Choose good friends who share your values. Good friends use positive peer pressure to help you be your best
  • Avoid situations where people are doing things you don’t want to do
  • Think about your reasons for doing things: Are they good reasons? Are you being true to yourself and your values? Think about what the consequences will be of your decisions and actions, such as if an activity might harm your health or get you into trouble
  • Practice ways to say no – come up with excuses if necessary, such as that you don’t want to get in trouble, damage your body or mind, or risk blowing your involvement in sports or academics.
  • Talk to your parents or a trusted adult about the kinds of peer pressure you face and listen to their advice
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