Sunday, 12 August 2007

Peer Pressure: A Big Deal to Deal With

Peer Pressure: A Big Deal to Deal With
by Nabeel A. KhanAug 12, 2007

"The strong influence of a group, especially of children, on members of that group to behave as everyone else does”. This is how Cambridge dictionary defines peer pressure. If we further elaborate it otherwise – influenced or pushed by friends or people of same age or ability to do some thing which you would not like to do with your own judgment. It is not limited to any class or age. It is a natural attitude of a person to belong to a group in a community eventually in order to ‘to be accepted’ among peers, people tend to do things which might not be appropriate for them. Like a parent would like to host a huge birthday party for his children after seeing a neighbour’s grand party or a compulsion to buy a new car after seeing a colleague driving a new car. Though you might not be having sound conditions to afford these lavish things and even your guts don’t allow doing it but an external force makes you do it.

Peer pressure is most commonly associated with the adolescent in teenagers as they are growing up and having diverse people around. Adolescence is an age when teenagers are still trying to make an identity for themselves. They have a desperate zeal to belong to a group. Hence, they become an easy prey in the hands of peer pressure, where bad suggestion, curiosity to try something everyone else is doing or just the fear of being mocked by friends lead the teens to do things, they would rather not do if left to their better decision. This is also the crucial time for making many decisions as they are exposed to several different cultures and value systems at once. Teens’ manners and observation of life depends much on the peer pressure.

Let me put a story from many real life experiences which I came across in the process of writing this article. The story is about a girl who is now 25 years old, working with an MNC; she tells her story: “In my school days I used to be a bright girl I never missed to stand first in my class. But in class 10th I made friend with a girl. She was having a group of cool guys. I was an introvert girl but my new friend was an outgoing and extrovert girl. I felt very strongly to be like her. As the other guys liked her they used to go out have fun. I strongly felt to belong to this group. So I started (though uncomfortably) pushing my presence among them. I used to stay out till late and this is for the first time I lied to my parents. I started sitting with them in canteen gossiping till late. Though, they were not ready to welcome me in their group, I tried and give lots of my time just to be part of the group. Unfortunately my all endeavor to become a part of this group could get much success despite my all devotion. In coming exams, I faired badly. Thus I realized where I was going wrong and tried to control and reestablish myself and tell no. it's no easy task but I am happy I could do it".

But now as she is mature she understands what really went wrong. One should never judge others actions to be correct. One should always keep his/her point in notice why he or she dislikes something and remain firm on his/her grounds. Sometime people drink, smoke or get into many other acts just to be part of a group. They may have to struggle with their own friends to wrestle away from drugs, violence, sex and overspending money, among other things. Formal dating has been replaced informal socializing patterns with casual sex relations in mixed-sex groups that have increased the risk of exposure to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In metropolitan cities the trend is very rife about having girlfriends and boyfriends. Most of the teenagers get into relationship just to abstain from being teased by dealing with it.

At teenage years, peer relations become the core of teens’ lives and activities and young people like to socialize and have fun with their peers rather than their families. Adolescents become more and physically and psychologically distant from their parents and these distances diminish emotional closeness and warmth between them and there are frequent conflicts and disagreements between them. Kids seem to prefer their peers for close relations. I just write few key formula in my personal view to cope with the demon of peer pressure which are: Parent should never criticize the teenager’s choice of friend as they take it as attack on them personally. Rather parents should keep the lines of communication open and find out why these friend are important and support the self-esteem of your children. The teenagers must be told about the consequences of whatever behavior they are having. The best way to deal with it is to encourage teenagers to trust their own sense of what is right and wrong and discuss the art of saying ‘NO’ and remember that we all learn greatest lessons from our mistakes.

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