According to a recent survey of 337 teenagers in the USA, 90% faced peer pressure and at least 80% fell for it weekly, even when it meant doing what they clearly knew was wrong. Peer pressure is a common experience in child development, especially in the teenage years. Many character traits formed by young people are influenced by what their age mates do. As a Charity that works with youths, we tried to find out the causes and effects of peer pressure and possible ways to help them overcome it.
Cornel Osigwe, a career development consultant for young adults, defines teenage peer pressure as when “a teenager is influenced by other teenagers to follow a particular course of life other than they have originally set for themselves”. This is caused mainly by keeping wrong/bad company, lack of effective parental advice, inferiority complex and unholy associations.
Cornel advised guardians to make teenagers aware of the fact that every choice or decision they make comes with consequences, and explaining these consequences could help to keep them in check whenever they are pressured to do wrong. He pointed out that peer pressure might not always be bad, as good behaviour can be fostered by helping teens to keep the right company. This way they can be influenced to make the right choices or form positive habits. However, peer pressure becomes bad when unwanted behaviour becomes uncontrollable.
He also suggested that parents or guardians can help by creating in the child a feeling of self-acceptance or confidence. This can enable the child say “no” to wrong advice and excel in life, irrespective of the negative popular trends.
To conclude, here are our top three tips on overcoming teenage peer pressure:
- Learn to say No and stand your ground. When even a close friend is urging you to join in something you are sure is wrong. Think less of hurting their feelings and think more of the damage such action will do to your life.
- Be confident. Don’t fall for the threat of losing their friendship. There are many great and positive friends out there. Look out and connect with them.
- Practice positive reinforcement, by focusing on the good traits you would like to develop and working towards them. If you focus too much on negative behaviours, you may be drawn into temptation.
We hope this is helpful to you our friends. Are there more tips you think our teenagers need to know? Please leave your comments in the box below and do share with family and friends.