Giving into Peer Pressure

There is no getting around it, peer pressure is a normal part of many young adults’ and teenagers’ formative years. It is also a part of our lives as adults as well. Like we have been talking about this quarter, peer pressure isn’t all negative, but can definitely have some consequences if choices are made from it. What happens when we or our teen gives into peer pressure?

Confused Teen - Making Decisions

What is Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure is any type of influence, positive or negative, that comes from a peer group. This peer group can be a group that is all the same age or a group that holds similar interests. The motto for the quarter is resisting peer pressure which could say that it may all be negative. however, some of it is positive pressure which can help us make a good choice for us that we are just scared to make. The resisting peer pressure is more about stopping to think about whether the decision that is right for you, and not to let your peers determine it for you.

Giving into peer pressure

When we give in to peer pressure, we may find ourselves doing things that don’t align with our true selves. Or, we can lose sight of our values and ultimately end up pretending to be someone we’re not.

The main reason we give into it, is to seek validation from peers. Anxiety, stress, and depression might creep in when we don’t feel accepted, so we do what ever we need to do to feel accepted. That is where the pressure comes from. The pressure they put on us to do what they want us to do and the pressure for us to feel accepted.

The reason we give into it, is to seek validation from peers. Anxiety, stress, and depression might creep in when we don’t feel accepted, so we do what ever we need to do to feel accepted. That is where the pressure comes from. The pressure they put on us to do what they want us to do and the pressure for us to feel accepted.

Peer pressure is both positive and negative, so giving into it may not be a bad thing. Remember that sometimes our peers are just cheering us on to try new things or make a good choice that we are scared to make. Positive peer pressure is the nudge we may need to do it.

When our peers are pressuring us to do something that goes against what we believe is right, then we are compromising what we believe just to fit in and do what they are doing. Examples of this are when teens try drinking, drugs or vaping. They have been told they shouldn’t do it, but are worried if they don’t, they will be shunned by their peers. It makes for a tough choice to be made at the time it is happening. And most of the time, they chose their peers, even though they know they shouldn’t do it.

When it comes to making the choice to give into peer pressure or not, we all want to go along with the flow and have our decisions approved by our peers. We believe that they have our best interests at heart when they give us advice about what to do. But when we make a choice, we are the ones that have to deal with the consequences. How do we know if the choice is a good one for us?

Mental Health - Anxiety

Listen to and follow your gut

It isn’t easy to make decisions when we are being pressured by our peers. One of the best ways we can resist peer pressure is to have confidence in the choices we are making. For teens, that will come with experience and learning from doing. For adults, it is a little bit the same, but we have experience to fall back on. One of the things I tell my kids about making decisions is to listen to follow your gut. What does that mean?

To help them understand what is good for them, I ask them to sort out the factors, good and bad, about their upcoming decision.

  • Listing out pros and cons
  • Talking to someone outside the peer group
  • Journal out how you feel it

Decisions aren’t always easy to make. Sometimes both options seem like good ones, but they can only pick one. But after my kids do some thinking about it and use a method to sort out the options that works for them, I ask them,

How does it make you feel? Does it feel good? Or does it feel wrong?

Having them zone in on how it makes them feel is a great way to listen to what their gut is telling them. It is the way we can tell how something feels. My kids now use it as a gauge to make the decisions that are right for them.

Learning how to say “no” to others

It is really hard to say no to others, especially the ones that you feel closest to. We naturally want to please others and not let them down. But sometimes saying no is the best decision for us.

How can we help our teens to say no? Encourage them to befriend people who resist negative peer pressure and/or who have a positive influence. Who our teens hang around can help them or hurt them. They can help them by supporting them to make the right decisions for them without influencing them to do something harmful to themselves or others.

Learning that it is okay to say “no,” will remind them how important they and their feelings are. And, leaving situations that feel unsafe or uncomfortable will show them the importance of recognizing it isn’t good and getting out of the way. If they are having trouble saying “no”, create a safe place or person for them to talk to about it.

Finding out how we feel about ourselves and saying “no” to others takes practice and time. Surrounding them with positive influences will help them to make better choices, say “no” when needed, and build confidence in themselves.

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How to help your teen deal with the consequences?

Once the choice has been made and the action taken, how can we help our teen deal with the consequences of giving into peer pressure?

First, understand it takes a lot to come clean about peer pressure situations. Helping them navigate through these situations and learn to make healthier choices in the future is essential.

Try the following tips:

  • Communication: Create a safe and non-judgmental space for your teen to express themselves. Encourage open communication, where they can talk about their experiences without fear of getting in trouble.
  • Listen: When your teen shares their struggles with peer pressure, listen empathetically. Show understanding and validate their feelings, even if you disagree with their choices.
  • Educate: Help your teen understand what peer pressure is and how it can influence decision-making. Discuss real-life scenarios and explore alternative ways to respond to peer pressure. I have lots of resources on my website to help with educating
  • Encourage Healthy Friendships: Support your teen in developing and maintaining friendships with peers who have a positive influence. Healthy friendships can act as a buffer against negative peer pressure.
  • Avoid Shaming or Blaming: If your teen makes a mistake due to peer pressure, avoid shaming or blaming them. Instead, focus on understanding the situation and finding solutions together.
  • Celebrate Resilience: When your teen successfully handles peer pressure, acknowledge their resilience and commend their efforts. Positive reinforcement can strengthen their confidence.

Also, if you are looking for additional resources on this topic or any other topic seen as a teen challenge, check out the Mentoring A Dream Resources Page.

The resisting peer pressure is about stopping to think about whether the decision that is right for you, and not to let your peers determine it for you. If you make the choice to give into it, remember you will have to deal with the consequences it provides. When we give in to peer pressure, we may find ourselves doing things that don’t align with our true selves. Or, we can lose sight of our values and ultimately end up pretending to be someone we’re not.

The Hard Way is about giving into peer pressure

Happy 7th Birthday to The Hard Way!

On April 12th, we will be celebrating The Hard Way’s 7th Year in publication!

The Hard Way is the first book in The Way Series by Selma P. Verde. It is the story of Paul Jones and his navigating peer pressure to make choices. He had a hard time making a decision about what to do, but gave into peer pressure and it lead to big consequences. Follow the link below to pick up a copy today and find out what choices he makes and how it affected him and his friends.

The Hard Way - Book Image

The Way Series – Selma P. Verde

Looking for free ebooks? The ebook versions of The Hard Way and Shawn’s Way will be available for free download on April 12th-15th. Be sure to grab your copies before book #3 of The Way Series is released on May 9th. Ebook copies are available through Amazon or through the links on Selma’s books page on the website.

Have a great week!

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