How to Positively Handle Negative Peer Pressure
Everyone, young and old, has experienced peer pressure. It's not always negative, there is positive peer pressure, too. Peer pressure is when a person’s friend tries to get them to do something, and since some teens and adults want to fit in, they succumb to it. Sometimes it's because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but most times, it’s because they don’t know how to say “NO!”
According to the Kids Health Organization, these are some of the main topics that come from discussions about positive and negative peer pressure.
How does someone get you to agree to what they want?
Reasoning: The person might give you a list of reasons why you should do it, which may sound logical. But, if you examine them closely, you’ll find out they probably aren't.
Rejection: This is the main way that teens get you to give into peer pressure. They might threaten to not be your friend, tell you that you can’t be a part of the group anymore, start rumors, or just ignore you.
Unspoken Negative Peer Pressure: Seeing all of your friends doing something might make you a little jealous, which makes you want to join them. Don’t worry; it’s normal. If they are truly your friends, they won’t reject you.
Where does peer pressure begin?
Directly: Peer pressure can be as simple as someone telling you what to do. They could also threaten you. If you feel you are being forced into something, tell someone. Talk to your parents, a teacher, or the school counselor.
Indirectly: You won't always know when peer pressure is happening because it can occur in different ways depending on who you are with and what they like to do. Every group of teens will have different values, habits or activities from other groups. If you are with friends who smoke, then you might think that it’s okay to smoke, too. Another group of friends may like to watch movies, so you’ll go to the cinema with them. If you have a group of friends who enjoy studying, then you may join them and increase the odds of passing your upcoming exam.
Individually: You might be applying peer pressure to yourself. If you are starting a new school or have moved to a new city, you want to fit into your peer groups. To do so, you may do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Before you join any group of friends, take some time and find out what they do for fun, how they act, and how they treat others. If you don’t like it, don’t join the group. You should be friendly towards them, but you don’t have to act like them--be yourself.
What can you do about peer pressure?
Peer pressure is a hard thing to resist since it's everywhere. It’s in books, movies, advertisements, and TV programs. When you don't give into it, you may begin to think that you're “not cool.” You don’t have to change yourself to be liked or loved; it's good to be an individual. Exodus 23:2 states “You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;.”
There are plenty of kids who feel and act the way you do and with the same values. The hard part is finding them.
Say NO! It’s an easy word to spell, but can sometimes be a difficult word to say. But when you do, you might find you feel good about doing so and have earned respect from others who were too afraid to do the same.
Try not to judge others by their choices. Respecting them for making a different choice might help them respect your choice. You don’t have to agree with them, just show them respect.
Stand up for yourself. Be positive in choices. Don’t argue with someone you don’t agree with, just don’t participate. Be confident in your choice. God is on your side! He will guide you in what to say.
The difference between positive and negative peer pressure is the outcome. Positive peer pressure can come from friends wanting you to join a school club, going to college, or asking someone how their day has been. Negative peer pressure is when someone indulges in bad habits and hurts others through words or actions. As you grow, you begin to listen to other people, such as your friends, teachers, and the media in helping you make decisions. But, in the end, you are in charge of yourself and your choices. 1 Corinthians discusses how bad company ruins good morals.
According to Reach Out, peer pressure can affect all aspects of your life, and once you get into bad habits, it's harder to change them. Think of it as eating potato chips: a few won’t hurt you, but if you eat the entire bag, you might get a tummy ache. If you surround yourself with positive peer pressure, you'll begin to change those bad habits into better ones. You can even be a witness to others around you! Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Now, we know our works does not lead us to salvation, but good works are a way of glorifying God and what He has done for us.
You can’t escape peer pressure. It's in every public, private or charter school, the workplace, and exists in families. You can’t change people; you can only show them alternatives. Be the positive pressure in someone else’s life.
If you attend an online school, such as Enlightium Academy, you lessen your chances of having negative peer pressure affect your life since you are at home. Enlightium is a fully accredited online private Christian school that allows students to work at their own pace with a flexible schedule. Our affordable tuition, individualized curriculum, and simple admissions process maintains the advantages of a home school education while also preparing students for college. Additionally, Enlightium offers record-keeping and has worked with families in all 50 states to meet state requirements. Feel free to call us at 866-488-4818 if you have any questions about transferring to Enlightium Academy.