The Influence Of Peer Pressure On Teenagers: How To Cope With Teen Peer Pressure
You’re told to do something you’re not comfortable with or would not do otherwise, just to feel like you belong among your peers, which is described as ‘peer pressure’. We go along with this behavior because we want to fit in with others.
Peer pressure is when you’re influenced by others’ words or actions to engage in a behavior or activity that you might feel uncomfortable doing.
Peer pressure is not just for teenagers. Often, peers are considered as friends and can be anyone with similar age, similar abilities, and who shares a similar social status.
The way you or your teenager respond to peer pressure matters a lot as it can indicate the personality of a person. In some cases, peer pressure on teenagers can be positive but sometimes, this influence can be negative.
For example, peer pressure can be beneficial when you want to become more assertive or want to become more social and interactive. However, the effect of peer pressure can be negative when you’re pressured into doing something that you feel uncomfortable doing like smoking or bullying.
Signs Of Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can be subtle and sometimes not too subtle. In some cases, peer pressure can easily be identified but in others, the signs of peer pressure may not be easy to spot. Some common signs of peer pressure include:
- Avoiding school and social interactions
- Being very self-conscious
- Changes in normal behavior
- Feeling of not fitting in or belonging
- Experiencing low moods
- Making social comparisons
- Trying out new habits
- Engaging in risky activities
Types Of Peer Pressure
As a teenager, the biggest worry is to find people or spaces where you can belong. Most teens want to just fit in with others and because of this desire, they become more sensitive to bullying, being made fun of, or being excluded.
These fears drive teenagers to eagerly do things or act the way their peers tell them to do or influence them to do.
As I said, peer pressure can be positive or negative. Let’s see how positive peer pressure and negative peer pressure look like.
1. Positive Peer Pressure
When your peers encourage you to do something that’s ultimately healthy or productive for you and help you in your overall personality development, then it can be considered positive peer pressure. Some common positive peer pressure examples can be:
- Encouraging a peer to study harder to improve grades
- Convincing peers to engage in an after-school activity to grow skills
- Encouraging friends to save money for a purchase like a car or something equally important
- Disapproving of risky behavior like smoking or under-age drinking
2. Negative Peer Pressure
When your peers try to influence you to try something that you normally would never attempt or engage in risky or illegal behavior, then it can be considered negative peer pressure or unhealthy peer influence. Some common negative peer pressure examples include:
- Persuading peers to skip school or classes
- Pressuring a peer to buy alcohol
- Encouraging a peer to bully others
Effects Of Peer Pressure On Teenagers
As we grow up, peers and friends begin to play a big role in how we shape our lives, especially when we’re teenagers. Peers can influence almost everything we do – from our music tastes to what we wear.
As parents, you need to understand that peer pressure can have negative and positive effects on your teenager. How? Let’s take a look:
The positive effects of peer pressure on teenagers can help your teen by pushing or encouraging them to try out new things and explore new goals. Peers also provide friendship and support when your teens begin school. Being accepted by others can help develop their self-esteem and confidence.
Trust me, sometimes, we all can do with a small push in the right direction and that’s what positive peer pressure can help with.
However, where there are benefits, there are bound to be drawbacks. The negative effects of peer pressure on teenagers are also influential.
Being around peers and “friends” who pressure your teen to engage in activities and behaviors that they aren’t comfortable with can make them feel anxious and depressed. Negative peer pressure can also make teens self-doubt and become more self-conscious. When peers ask a teen to change their behavior and appearance to “fit in” then this kind of pressure can also make your teen feel uncomfortable and can lower their self-confidence and doubt their self-identity.
Coping With Teen Peer Pressure
Finding the right balance between being yourself and fitting in your peer circle is important. As parents, you can try to help your teen cope with peer pressure or peer influence in these ways:
1. Talk To Them
Talk to your teen about the effects of peer pressure and teach them to say no when they are asked to do something they are uncomfortable with. Plan for ways they can deal with peer pressure.
2. Pre-Plan With Them
Along with your teen, create a plan for when they are struggling with peer pressure. For example, you can create a code for when your teen needs to escape a situation. Pre-planning can also help your teen stay safe.
3. Encourage Friendships With The Right People
As parents, you want to see your teen thrive and make friends however, if you’re not careful, your teen might fall into the wrong group. Encourage your teen to make friends with people who share their ideas and interests. This way they are less likely to fall into negative peer pressure.
4. Create A Support System
It hurts but you can’t always be there for your teen. When you can’t be there for your teen, they need someone trustworthy to rely on. Along with your teen, create a support system of trusted adults, friends, or even a counselor to help them escape a tricky or risky situation.
Peer pressure in teenagers can be challenging as sometimes the effects of peer pressure are positive and sometimes they are not so positive. However you look at it, peer pressure can play an important role in shaping a teen’s future.
If you suspect that your teenager is struggling with peer pressure, then talk to them and ask them to share their problems with you or a trusted adult. As parents, you need to talk to your teen about the effects of peer pressure.
If you’re concerned about your teen’s mental health, you can reach out to a professional or a counselor for help. Did you know that Headspace is now available for teens? If your teen is struggling with maintaining a positive mindset, Headspace can help.
Peer pressure is not always bad but when peer influence begins affecting a teenager’s mindset, their self-confidence and causes them to doubt their self-identity, it’s when peer pressure needs to be dealt with.
Let us know if this blog helped you understand the effects of peer pressure on teenagers and how to cope with peer influence by dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Take care and stay safe.