Peer Pressure Influence on Students
Peer Pressure – Fitting in is a myth, standing out is a gift!
Peer pressure is a normal part of growing up. No matter what grade your child is in they are often subjected to peer pressure by their classmates. Everyone talks about peer pressure on students. Well, what exactly is peer pressure? In simple words, peer pressure is a feeling that a child has to do something just because their friends or peers are doing it. And why do children give into peer pressure? The answer to this question is simple, just to “fit in” and to be liked by others. Peer pressure can have both positive and negative influences on your child. It is surprising to note that teenagers are more vulnerable to the effects of peer pressure, because they crave social acceptance.
Peer pressure isn’t all bad! Despite the fact that peer pressure is very often viewed as a negative thing it can also be seen positively in some situations. This can involve pressuring your peers to be honest, follow rules, show up at school on time, respect others, work hard to excel, exercise to stay fit, be kind to others, be responsible, and much more. Negative peer pressure can include influencing others to cheat on a test, bully or tease others, copy somebody else’s work, tell lies, skip class etc. The list is endless. Some children are able to brush it off without any issues while it negatively impacts others.
Here are some of the ways in which peer-pressure can negatively affect students.
· The greatest impact of peer pressure is a dip in their self-confidence. They are unsure about themselves and the decisions they make. Peer pressure can make a normally self-confident child turn into a low esteem person.
· Children lose interest in studies and their academic performance drops. Peer pressure encourages a child to bunk classes, neglect home-work and ignore studies. Eventually, they do not perform well and as a result their grades go down.
· Teenagers who are under peer pressure can shut themselves off from their family and friends. They fall prey to bad company. And bad company corrupts good morals.
· Peer pressure can stifle one’s individuality and originality. You will start following your peers blindly thinking what they do is right. You feel under a pressure to like what they like and do what they do.
· Peer pressure forces you to do things you are not comfortable doing. This paves the way for developing risky behaviours like alcohol consumption, smoking and drug abuse.
· Teens coming from low income group families feel lesser as they cannot afford expensive clothes or go on vacations. So, they fall prey to bullying targeted on their family’s economic status.
It isn’t easy to say “No” when you are being pressurized by your friends. You might even feel and think that they won’t like or want to be friends with you anymore. It takes lot of courage and practice to stand peer pressure! The following are some of the ways to stay strong and tackle peer pressure.
· Listen to your gut. If you feel uncomfortable you can confidently say “No, thanks”.
· Say “No” in a funny way to change the topic and mood. Humour is the best way to take the attention away and get out of an awkward situation.
· Walk away from the situation that makes you feel uncomfortable.
· You can suggest an alternative activity by stating the reasons.
· Feel free to talk to someone whom you can trust. It can be reassuring to know that you are not alone.
· Know your limits - what you’re willing to let slide and what you’re not okay with.
· Say you don’t want to be pushed to do something you don’t want to in a calm and assertive tone.
· Move away and make new friends who provide comfort, trust and safety. Hang out with friends who feel the same way as you do.
Of course it is not that easy to resist negative peer pressure. But when you do you will feel good about yourself afterwards. Be yourself! Understand your own boundaries, values and beliefs. Above all remember it is okay to say “NO”.