What do people know about peer pressure?
Peer pressure, as the name suggests, is related to feeling compelled to do something because the peers are engaged in it. The terminology seems to be catching on in recent years as it became a part of the lifestyle for most of us.
An integral part of our childhood and adolescence are our peers. They become far more important and influential than one’s family. It is with peers that one initiates more engagement within the society, learning the negotiations and code of conduct. Peers and friendships, since are so important to one, are also very influential.
How does it work?
Peers are a part of us while we are growing up and forming our identities. In other words, defining who we are, for ourselves and others. It is said that if you want to know about a person’s character, you can make a correct estimate by studying their friends. This is because we tend to get attracted towards others who have similarity to our core values, principles, and approach to life. Having said that, there is a strong need to be accepted by others. This is more heightened when in adolescence. The adolescent wants to be the centre of attention for others and to be accepted. This may happen at an expense, which may lead to a detrimental outcome. But the adolescent is unable to logically assess the outcome and other factors. Since the focus is to be “cool” and “accepted”, the feeling of being accepted overpowers the rational thinking process, which hinders in objectively evaluating the actions that one engages in.
How it affects your life?
Peer pressure seems to stem from one’s insecurities. When there is a lack of acceptance of self- the way one is, this results in depending more on others to define who they are. Their evaluations and opinions become more important. When this happens, the peer becomes more influential – positive or negative. The negative outcomes of peer pressure can be drinking or smoking, or other inappropriate, unlawful behaviour. Since the peers do it and one needs to maintain their membership in the group, the act is likely to be imitated.
However, peer influence can be positive as well. When the peer group comprises people with socially acceptable and appropriate attitudes, values, and approach towards life, they tend to strive for success with hard work and commitment. The approach is to do it the right way. Inappropriate and unlawful actions are considered a crime/sin. Even if one of the members in the group is slipping, others have the power to motivate him/her to be on track and follow the right path.
To sum it up, it is true that peer influence is important and fundamental. It will always be a part of our development and our journey towards adulthood, more so in adolescent years than the adult life, though adulthood is not resilient to peer pressure. However, the outcomes primarily depend on the mindset of the peers and the members of the group. We have a choice, to decide which group we want to be a part of, we also have a choice whether peers’ decisions are to be followed or not. But to be able to resist the peer, one’s own identity needs to be strong and independent. There needs to be an acceptance of ourselves with our strengths and weaknesses.
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