--Original published at Kate's College Blog
Peer pressure is something that children, teens, and adults deal with in various settings. Many people are often told to resist peer pressure and to stand up for themselves, but more often then not people fall into the pressure. Teens especially face peer pressure in their daily lives, so it is important they know the options they have to resist it. People can conform to the peer pressure by adjusting their behavior or thinking to conclude with the group standard. They also can be influenced resulting from their desires to be approved or avoid disapproval from others (normative social influence). Another form of peer pressure is informational social influence where the influence results from one’s willingness to accept others opinions about reality. People seek acceptance from others and peer pressure is an easy way to please others so they accept you as their friend or into their group. All of these following articles either follow the influences or conformity stated above, just in different type of settings.
The first article I found was directed towards parents and how they can help their children resist peer pressure. Some points made were to not have the parents overreact, getting to know their child’s friends, and to model saying “no”. I think that these strategies would be successful. I think that kids, teenagers especially, are going to not want to bring things up to their parents if they overreact. Both a child and parent want to be able to have a conversation with each other without getting worked up or blaming anyone. Also having parents know who their child’s friends are what type of crowd they run in helps build a trusting relationship. Helping your child understand good and bad qualities of friends will open their eyes to true friendship. If a child has a friend who is pressuring them to do something dangerous, they should try to distance themselves so they do not get involved in anything hurtful or even illegal. Modeling saying “no” is probably the most important. By giving tips and advice to your child/teenager, they will remember what to say in certain situations and how to avoid conflict. You are giving your child the right ways to say no to avoid doing something they know will have bad consequences.
The next article was focused towards the child/teen themselves. This article gives more of the responsibility and independence to the child instead of the parents. It gives 20 ways to avoid peer pressure. It gives the classic tip of saying no, but it also gives ways to stand up for yourself, ways to leave the scene, or ways to avoid the situation in general. It gave the tip of asking “101 questions” and gave the example of if someone asks you to smoke, ask them why they smoke, how long they have smoked, etc. I think that this is an interesting approach and have never thought of it before but I think that this strategy would work. When people ask you tons and tons of questions right after each other, people tend to get annoyed easily and forget why they asked the person in the first place. I think that this is a smart avoidance method and not many people think of it. Another tip this article gives is to use the buddy system. By having a friend who shares the same values, you both can back each other up. Also if one is tempted by peer pressure, the other friend can help them realize they shouldn’t do it. Friends that care for you and do not pressure you to do things you are comfortable with are the ones that you should surround yourself with so you are less tempted by peer pressure.
The last article was directed towards athletes and the negative peer pressure that they face. Athletes have many people that interact with them on and off the field, like their teammates, coaches, parents, and the other teams they face. Being an athlete can have many demands that come with it. They are expected to not only perform on the field with practices and games, but also in their classroom settings getting good grades and GPA’s. Also, especially in college, being an athlete means you are more known on the campus and tend to have a more significant social life, being pressured with drugs and alcohol. Teammates especially can have tendencies to peer pressure others, a typical example of this is hazing freshmen to do things for the team because they think they have no other options when in reality they have a choice to say no. Athletes also have many decisions and choices to make, like studying, going to work out or run, getting an extra practice in, or going to hang out with the team, all of which that can easily be influenced negatively because of peer pressure of the team or coaches. Coaches have a powerful and influential role in the lives of athletes, but if the coach abuses their position, then that is where negative peer pressure can fall upon the athlete.