Man is a social animal. Socializing and interacting with the people one encounters often is a basic trait of human nature. As a person grows from a child into a mature individual he or she starts spending lesser duration of time with family in comparison to the time spent interacting with certain people. These people can be friends, relatives, classmates, teammates or members of certain clubs that one is a part of. All such people can be termed as peers. They all generally belong to the same age group. This is a major reason that peers influence a person deeply in many ways like, subconsciously a person adopts many mannerisms that are common to people he spends time with. Sometimes comparisons arise and at others the urge to be alike. People are influenced by peers because they want to fit in, be like peers they admire, do what others are doing, or have what others have (Lyness 2012).
An estimated ten million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders, including about 10 percent of high school and college-age youth, 90 to 95 percent of them are females (Berg, pp. 85-86). It later results in problems during pregnancy and numerous deficiencies in the body. Another example of negative peer pressure is drug abuse, which is devastating for the consumer and the family as well. As quoted by The Australian, that ‘young people turn to drugs under peer pressure from their closest friends, not their wider circle of classmates, according to new research into marijuana use by teenagers.’ Repeated drug usage leads to reduction in the brain cells and cause addiction. These drug addicts become delinquent in order to afford drugs. Career and future prospects take a back seat for these drug offenders, who resorted to drugs just because they wanted to be cool or respected amongst their peers.
Traditional means to curb and check peer pressure, are no longer applicable nowadays. Peer pressure is touching most of the adolescents’ world over by the new age technologies such as smart phones and Internet. Discouraging an individual to interact with a certain group is not a very appropriate step because one can easily get influenced by social networking sites while sitting at home. Criticism has been an age-old approach and it should be avoided. Parents often criticize their wards when they see them hanging around with the wrong set of people or adopting a lifestyle that can pose serious problems. In this case there is a probability that the child might think that the parent does not have faith in the decision making ability of the child and in extreme cases it can lead to hatred of parent. Another area that is generally taboo amongst households is premarital sex, which too is a consequence of negative peer pressure in most of the times as teenagers are coaxed into having premarital sex by their friends.
In order to avoid such practices parents tend to be either too strict or ignorant, both these methodologies of prevention should be avoided. Too much nagging can make the child secretive; the guardians may not know what their ward is doing behind their back. But with the passage of time parents are becoming more and more aware and they are recognizing the signs and symptoms of peer pressure in their children rather than ignoring and terming it as a part of ‘growing up’. Some families help the children to get rid of drugs and provide emotional support unlike earlier times when drug addicts were treated as a dysfunctional part of the family. Thinking patterns and mindsets of people are changing and this is a positive development.
There can be certain methodologies that can be helpful to both the victim of peer pressure and the family as well. Like, inculcating an attitude of acceptance that can improve one’s self-image and encouraging the child to say ‘NO’ and not be afraid of the consequences. The family atmosphere should provide a sense of security to the child. The person should know that there are people who will stand by him and he can chose his life and not do something which is forced upon him. Secondly, education is very important factor if one wants to avoid getting hooked by peer pressure. Education can serve as a shield because the person will know what is right and wrong in certain situations. Knowledge about the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking can prove to be useful because no one will be able to persuade the child to do something that he or she knows can cause great harm. Sex education should be made mandatory at school level and parents should guide their children in sexual matters rather than ignoring the subject that leads to confiding in peers that can be misleading at times. Thirdly, a check needs to be there on the kind of friends a child makes, if the friends do not seem appropriate then this should be conveyed but in a subtle manner. The above methodologies can aid in preventing negative effects of peer pressure. There are also a few methods that can be adopted to cure the effects of peer pressure such as, providing psychological support to drug abuser.
Stigma associated with drug de-addiction should not harm the young mind, parents need to take care and exercise caution in this case. Home schooling should be considered as an option if it is too difficult to get rid of those set of unwanted friends. Medical help should be sought if the child shows symptoms of depression or feelings of hopelessness. There should be helpline telephone services supported by the government to counsel and provide guidance to teens in need. Healthy eating habits should be encouraged and adolescents should be dealt with great care so that they can accept their body type and medical advice should be taken before a teen decides to diet. Last but not the least; self-confidence should be inculcated in every individual. The belief in one’s own self can not only help the child to be leader but also repair the damage done by others to one’s self esteem.
The above measures can be handy to ward-off the wraith of peer pressure but it also needs to be kept in mind that the youngster experiencing it is not solely responsible. The responsibility lies upon the family and teachers as well so that they can identify the warning signs and take appropriate measures. In order to achieve this, atmosphere of open communication should be maintained so that fear cannot keep the youngster from sharing problems because if your child feels she’s in a risky or high-pressure situation, it might help if she can text or phone you for back-up without worrying you’ll be cranky (Karvelas 2012).
Growing up is a wonderful experience and adolescence is the time when a person is most energetic, vibrant and filled with ideas. Don’t let peer pressure take the life out of these years and this is re-enforced through the famous quote by Lisa Leslie, ‘I don't think I would have been able to stick with it and been proud of who I am and be feminine out on the court. I think I would have folded to the peer pressure if I didn't have my mom to encourage me to be me and be proud of how tall I am (RaisingChildrenNetwork, 2013). ’
Lyness, D’Arcy (2012). Peer Pressure.
Teens Health, Retrieved April 4, 2013, from
Berg, Frances M. (2005). Underage and Overweight: America’s Childhood Obesity Epidemic
(pp.85-86). Healthy Living Books, Hatherleigh Press.
The book gives a complete overview on the health issues related to kids and teens like Obesity and the things families need to know to ensure that their kids grow up fine. Frances M. Berg, the editor, founder and former publisher of Healthy Weight Journal uses all his experience to chalk out a 7-point agenda to fight Obesity. The book offers a holistic view of the issue.
Karvelas, Patricia (2012). Peer Pressure key to drug use.
The Australian, Retrieved April 4, 2013, from
The article very intelligently, succinctly and concisely puts across the most disastrous peril of Peer Pressure i.e. Drugs Use. The article quotes and discusses a latest research by Melbourne Institute of Melbourne University that contends how youth is pushed to drugs abuse and also guides parents on how to tackle such issues.
RaisingChildrenNetwork (2013). Peer Pressure and Teenagers.
Raising Children Network, Retrieved April 4, 2013, from
The article analyzes the relationship between teenagers and Peer Pressure. An extensive study tells about the very basics of Peer Pressure, steps which could possibly help kids in fighting stress and manage peer pressure and the symptoms which could suggest a possible peer pressure. The article digs deep into the topic and brings out some really useful findings.