"You practised the whole week to get selected in your favourite sport teams in school. Last minute your friends back out as they did not practise enough or are not interested in participating. They ask you to drop out too. What will you do?? Most of the time you mirror your friend's actions and behaviours just to be a part of the cool group." Initially you might feel uncomfortable and bad, but then slowly you get habituated to this feeling and situation. What happened here was that you gave in to peer pressure and in turn could not be a part of something you really enjoy.
The society we are living in, Peer Pressure can
even be observed among 10 to 11 years old children. Pre-teens and teens tend to
follow and mimic their friends just to fit in.
What is Peer Pressure?? It is when you choose to do something you wouldn't otherwise do, just because you want to feel accepted and valued by your friends. This happens because adolescents want to be more like their peers, which can have both a positive and a negative effect.
Negative Peer Pressure influences seen in adolescents:
1. Demanding things which are difficult for parents to give like: new phone, new branded clothes or giving parties to friends.
2. Changing their way of talking or behaviour to fit in.
3. Antisocial behaviours like shoplifting, stealing from home, or at times even damaging school or other public property.
4. Trying to indulge in using Alcohol and other substance abuses.
Positive Peer pressure influences:
1. Encouraged by friends to try and participate in various activities in school.
2. Observing others, they become more self-confident
3. Socializing makes them get out of their comfort zone.
4. Improving their social skills while talking to different people.
5. Being more open to receive advice and even criticism.
Adolescents are fully aware and sensitive
Recognising peer pressure from the start is vital. As a family, support and guide your children. Make them feel safe and comfortable coming up to you for their problems. Make them understand that Perfection is not necessary to be liked or be a part of any group. It is more important to stand firm on one's own values and principles.
Dealing with peer pressure might seem impossible and unachievable, but with family support and friends it becomes an easy hurdle to cross.
There is a saying I once heard... "why fit in when you were born to stand out."
By: Dr. Divya Pal, Consultant- Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata.