Young people are often influenced in their behaviors and situations by others in the same age. This is called “peer pressure”. Do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages?
‘No man is an island’ – goes the adage. We are all surrounded by others – our peers – people our age who have experiences and interests similar to ours. We make dozens of decisions everyday and are influenced by each other’s choices and behaviors. Similarly, young 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. No one is immune to peer pressure. Peer pressure can be both, positive as well as negative but mostly it is positive.
On the positive side, peers set plenty of good examples for each other. If peers are committed doing well in school or doing their best in a sport then they can influence those around them to be more goal-oriented, too. Secondly, peers who are kind and loyal can influence others to build these qualities in themselves. What is more, peers can help each other make decisions such as what courses to take and even how to handle a family argument. Peers often give each other good advice. Peers might get each other involved in clubs, sports, or religious groups. One’s world would be far less rich without peers to encourage or to offer moral support when one needs it most.
On the negative side sometimes, peers may pressurize each other into doing something wrong, such as shoplifting, taking drugs or drinking or taking dangerous risks when driving a car. Nearly everyone ends up in a sticky peer pressure situation at some point. Young people are going through a lot of stress in their life as it is the time when the most crucial decisions of life have to be taken such as pursuing a career or choosing a life partner. It is very easy at such times to succumb to negative peer pressure.
Responding to peer pressure is part of human nature — but some people are more likely to give in, and others are better able to resist and stand their ground. I firmly believe that the stress of resisting unhealthy peer pressure can be buffered by good family relationships and a high self-esteem. So, the onus falls on the parents to give a stable family atmosphere and talk to their children about peer pressure. Explain what a powerful force it can be, and tell them that the excuse that “Everyone did it” will never be accepted and that they will be held responsible for their actions.
In conclusion, I believe that, peer pressure is inevitable and it can be positive as well as negative. However, if parents teach their children how to handle negative peer pressure, it can be largely positive.