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Peer Pressure

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No man is an island!

Building relationships especially with persons of similar age range is inevitable in life.  In fact, it is an important aspect of social conditioning that reflects that as humans, we are bound by some mysterious arrangements to befriend individuals who share similar interests and like-passion with us.  These are our peers, our friends.  

However, identifying with a group of friends or peers comes with its challenges, which are notably associated with the pressure of meeting up with the standards of the group.  This could get sour sometimes especially when one is inspired wrongly and pressured to act in a particular way that negates morality simply because one’s mates are acting that way. 

What exactly is peer pressure?

Peer pressure entails the influence members of a similar social group can have on one another.  Briefly, it is the case where you desire to be part of something because your mates are doing it.  You can be influenced by your peers to dress in a particular manner, listen to a particular style of music and associate with a particular set of people. 

Peer pressure is notable among teenagers and young adult as virtually all of them go through this phase in life.  Of course, the teenage age comes with its difficulties; it is that moment when they feel they are right and their parents or guardians are wrong.  They yearn for freedom and fantasize about a whole lot of things that might not be necessary and relevant to their mental and physical growth.  Notably, at this age, it is easy to be pressurized because they are yet to have a mind of their own.  It happens to adults too; it is just not as pronounced as it is among children, teenagers and young adults.  For instance, some adults are exposed to alcohol because that is the only social life they have. 

Interestingly, peer pressure can manifest in various forms; for instance, you could be directed by your peers to act in a particular order; or you could perceive to act in a particular manner indirectly because you see your friends engaging in that activity.  Consequently, you motivate yourself to act likewise and where you lack the capacity to follow suit, you resort to illicit means. 

Causatives of Peer Pressure and Influence

Several reasons accounts for why a person might easily conform to the desire of his or her peers.  They include;

  • The urge to blend in

The desire to blend in or fit is largely responsible for succumbing to peer push and pulls.  No one wants to be left out, so they join in.  

  • Porous homes 

 Dysfunctional parenting largely contributes to why teenagers give in to peer influences.  The failure of parents to bring up their children in the proper way goes a long way in releasing them into the hands of their misguided peers.  Children, teenagers and young adults who suffer from broken and inconsistent communication with parents, physical and mental abuse by parents are likely to be influenced by their peers. 

  • A desire for companionship

Everyone desire friendship.  You like to hang out, play video games, exercise, and gist and interact with your friends.  They form a crucial part of your everyday life.  In order to keep the fire of friendship burning, one might be influenced wrongly. 

  • Self-gratification 

The desire to please oneself sometimes pave way for peer influence.  When your peers act in a particular way and it feels satisfactory to you, you might want to continue with this act. 

  • Low self esteem 

Having an ill perception of oneself engenders peer influence.  Some people feel they are not good enough.  As such, they thrive on the opinions of their peers to act in a particular manner.

Effects of Peer Pressure

It should be pointed out that peer pressure and influence is not entirely negative.  It has positive dimensions too.  In the positive light, when you have for instance, a male teenager who suddenly develops an obsession for singing, dancing, painting, coding or writing; nothing else matters because this is what his mates are doing too.  He joins and in the short run, he discovers his passion and aspects where he can function optimally. 

Nonetheless, its negative impact outruns its positivity, as most social group tends to have erroneous upbringing.  For instance, an exposure to sports can lead to excessive exercising and a loss of concentration on other things.  In recent times, the appalling spate of drug abuse and addiction, alcoholism, rape and violence have reached heightened magnitude and this has been linked to peer-pressure and influence.  The adverse consequences these have on them includes but not limited to the following; accidents, alcohol poisoning, STDs, behavioral addiction and death.  Suffice to say, peer pressure is a menace to societal development. 

Dealing with Peer Pressure

It is good to be in the company of peers.  However, you must learn to draw the line.  You can deal with peer pressure by 

  • Being assertive; that is, learn to say yes!  In addition, mean Yes!  Say No!  In addition, mean No!

  • Identify your core values and don’t be scared to associate with them

  • Be open minded; let people know what you tolerate and what you don’t 

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