During the process of growth and development, almost all individuals experience some kind of peer pressure. The world around us and the friends that we interact with play a significant role in shaping our lives and characters (Lotz, 2005). However, they may influence us either directly or indirectly to engage in negative behavior that can cause a lot of negative consequences in our lives. It is therefore necessary for every growing individual to learn how to handle this kind of pressure in order to make responsible choices at all stages of life (Lotz, 2005).
The major types of peer pressure I faced in my life
As I was growing up as a young man, my friends influenced me both positively and negatively. The pressure to measure up to them has contributed to the person I am today to a great extend. However, if I had the knowledge that I have today about peer pressure and how to deal with it, I would not have developed some of the negative habits that I have had to battle with in my adulthood. The main types of peer pressure that I faced include:
Direct Negative Peer Pressure
This is the worst and most influential peer pressure that I have faced in my life. I had friends to would ask me directly to engage in negative habits like drinking alcohol in order to keep their friendship. Some of them would threaten ending our friendship if I failed to give in, saying that they had grown up and did not want to interact with people who did not want to grow up. Due to the fear of losing their company, I would give in.
What I did not know was that it was okay to lose their friendship and make new friends. If I knew that, I would have rejected their influence by eking more open to my parents or teachers and seeking guidance from them.
Indirect/ unspoken negative pressure
Like most other teenagers, sometimes I would emulate some negative behavior just because everyone around me did it. For instance it reached a point where almost all the boys in my class had a relationship with a girlfriend. Although I knew that it was not the right time to have one, I did not want to stand out as the odd one out. Nobody talked me in to doing it, or threatened me in any way, but the pressure to have one was coming from inside. Today, I know that there is no problem with being different from my peers as long as I do the right thing and maintain my moral standards.
Positive peer pressure
Although most people consider peer pressure as negative influence, it can lead one to develop good habits (Babrour, et al, 2010). Some of the skills that I have today have resulted from influence by friends. As a teenager, my friends influenced me in to joining the basketball team in our school. Playing basketball was considered cool that time and I joined the sport in order to measure up al with my peers. I also developed interest traits have become a significant part of my life, and were it not for peer pressure, I would not have developed them.
The power of peer influence on today youth
The manner in which the modern age youth handle peer pressure is totally different from the way the youth handled it two decades ago. Peer influence has more power on the youth today than in the past (Babrour et al, 2010). This is due to the fact that in the past, parents had more influence on their children’s behavior than today. In most households, one parent would remain at home while the other one was working. Because of this parental interaction, children would grow to trust their parents to such an extent that they would share their challenges as seek guidance and thus would be helped to deal with peer influence. Today, most parents are busy perusing their carriers that they have little time to talk to their children. The cases of divorce have increased, and many children are being brought up by heartbroken parents who have no time to guide them. Their friends have become so important to them that they would do anything to keep them. That is why peer pressure has more power on today youth than it had in the past.
Lotz, R., (2005) Youth Crime in America: A Modern Synthesis. USA
Babrour, N., Barbour, P., & Scully, (2010) Peer Group Influence. Retrieved from: