Understand peer pressure: Inculcate good habits

Understand peer pressure: Inculcate good habits

The peers usually refer to the group of people whom we share similar likes, dislikes and interests. It can be any group like a group of students at school, college, and university or at a coaching institute. We spend quality time with this group and admire it as well. One may belong to different peer groups like one in the school, at tuition, at the sports ground, in the neighbourhood, one at the workplace and hobby groups. These days, due to the grown use of social media and internet usage, there can be peer groups at the internet as well for example WhatsApp Group, Facebook Group or online gaming friend group, etc. So that ways an individual is bound to have several different peer groups. 

Understanding Peer affect:

Doing things or depicting behaviour that usually one doesn’t like and won’t do that behaviour otherwise; only because of pressure exerted by the group. This kind of behaviour or activity is generally done to seek acceptance in the group.

Almost everyone experiences peer pressure at either stage of their life. Peers affect the  person in either way; positively by influencing to do those activities that are useful in growth, negatively by performing activities that hamper growth and development. The negative impact of peer pressure can be associated with negative outcomes like smoking, drinking etc. Positive peer pressure can impact the person by increasing participation in sports, curricular activities, increased workplace efficiency, increased self-confidence, introducing to positive attitude and hobbies. It’s difficult to know and predict how the peer pressure would affect the individual; positively or negatively.

Positive and Negative Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be understood by a simple example; a boy usually doesn’t shout or abuses at others while at home, but, shows such behaviour while with peers as all his colleagues do this. He is doing this to remain accepted and valued in the group. Peer pressure is a set of activities or a set of some behaviours that a person usually or just does for the sake of staying in the trends of a particular group. These things are unacceptable and are generally against the will of the person experiencing peer pressure.

How do peers pressure?

It requires high self-confidence to avoid peer pressure as peers have a huge impact on the individual. Sometimes, a person who’s not doing any particular thing which is done by his/her peers faces insults and humiliation. The person is made to feel bad when he shows unwillingness for any undesirable behaviour or task. By doing so after some time and due to this, the person being insulted gets convinced and eventually does all the things that are done by the peers.

The peers give strong reasons for a particular behaviour to make the person convinced. For example, making a person ready for hard drinks, he is told that it’s good for health if taken occasionally, as well as he/she is given strong reasons of the biological and physical benefits that are usually not true. At last, peer pressure wins over the person’s ability to resist it.

Rejecting the person who is not showing the desired behaviour by peers is also a way how peers put pressure. Rejection is usually done by threatening to end the friendship or to end that particular relationship. Adolescents put their best efforts to get the group acceptance. Hence, they are more prone to get threatened by this rejection. So they are convinced easily. For example, a group of friends have planned to go for a driving race but Ramesh is homesick and he doesn’t love many outdoor activities so he denies first to be with them. But when some of them told that he won’t be considered their friend anymore just because he is denying their proposal, then, all of a sudden Ramesh also agrees as he feels peer pressure.

Unspoken peer pressure is observed where peers neither reject that person nor insult but the individual feels the peer pressure even though. This type of influence is usually observed by simply seeing your friends or colleagues doing something or wearing something.

Both positive as well negative peer pressure can be understood by the behaviours like in a child becoming more stubborn about unnecessary things, trying new extracurricular activities which are performed by the friends, trying smoking, boozing, or getting involved in antisocial activities that usually they don’t do otherwise.  Peer influence might result in the many activities based upon the type of peer pressure being faced, for example:

  • Choosing the same outfit, bike, car, hairstyle, wrist watch or jewellery as their friends are using.
  • Listening to the same music, watching the same game, TV serial, playing the same mobile game because their friends are listening, playing and watching to.
  • Even they change the way they talk, the new words they use, abusive words, respecting words as used by their peers.
  • Adopting risk-taking behaviours, going late to school or parties, going out without g parent’s permission.
  • They might start working even harder at school or may stop working hard in the school based upon the peer pressure faced.
  • Being good at sports and show withdrawal from sports activities or not participating in sports at all.
  • Dating or taking part in sexual activities and sometimes practising unsafe sex just because it is the trend in the peer group.
  • Smoking, drinking or taking some other drugs.
  • Adopt the habit of robbery or start becoming religious.
  • Quit drinking alcohol/smoking cigarettes/doing drugs or may start consuming them.
  • Pressures to exercise 

Usually, for everyone to worry about their fitting in the peer group. Peers impact our thinking as well as our activities.

Positive peer pressure can be a good thing if it motivates someone to get involved in those activities which are helpful for our overall development and growth. Positive peer influence may be defined as the involvement in those sorts of activities or behaviours that peers influence us to do and these activities help them in personal growth building. These are the set of activities or behaviours that peers influence their colleagues to do which is something positive. For example, peers who are pretty good at sports may influence others too in doing so. This way peers get influenced to be more goal-oriented. Positive peer pressure helps us in learning being loyal, kind, and supportive; and may help in increased academic performance, good social adjustments, behaving properly at the workplace and at home, increased interest in social activities and problem-solving.

It is really important to understand peer pressure because unlike adults who generally act or behave similarly while being alone as well as being in a group, teenagers are more prone to get influenced by their peer group.

Understanding peer pressure is good in either way to identify the consequences of a particular behaviour we showcase.  A drug addict under treatment at the de-addiction centre accepted in the interview that it was the influence of peers that lead to addiction. Eventually, he was at the stage when he used to spend 90 thousand rupees on drugs per month. He further told that no addict starts this to go into addiction. Everyone first tries and then they get stuck into the trap. Likewise, positive peer pressure also plays an important role in developing good habits, getting rid of bad habits, developing self-esteem etc.

This way it becomes necessary to understand the peer pressure because everyone is some or the other way bound to influence others and get influenced by others. We always try to bring positive changes in ourselves, getting positively influenced by others and then trying to inculcate good habits can bring wonderful changes. It becomes easier if the negative peer pressure is avoided. Thus, we start leading a positive life that has fulfilled and wonderful moments ahead.

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