Peer pressure is an important problem for teenagers. The primary reason behind it is the need to belong. At a particular age, a teenager starts to feel a need to figure out their identities and belong to a particular group. Often, group members are required to behave in a certain way. They feel pressure from other peers if they do not do it. Such conflicts can negatively affect children’s psychological and social behavior. Therefore, it is highly important to understand the reasons for peer pressure and possible ways to withstand it.
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One of the most popular types of peer pressure is forcing someone to smoke or use alcohol or drugs (MacArthur et al. 392). It is a widespread situation when a teenager starts to practice unhealthy behavior under the pressure of peers of their group. For example, let us imagine Jack, who is forced to smoke by his friends John and James.
It is important to understand that there are several ways to resist the pressure. First of all, everyone who feels peer pressure should remember that he or she has a right to say “no” to other people if he or she does not want to do something (“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure”). Thus, the most effective way for Jack to refuse to smoke is to say “no.” If it is necessary, he should repeat this “no” several times. He should look into his friends’ eyes and be confident.
Also, it is important for Jack to avoid situations that are bringing him under peer pressure, for example, parties where people smoke (“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure”). If Jack does not stay in a company where everybody smokes, he will not feel the pressure to do it. However, this measure could be a way to isolation. Thus, Jack should not avoid all social activities.
Jack could feel afraid that he would lose his friends, but it is not the only possible outcome. For example, he could ask John and James why they smoke, how long they do it, what benefits they obtain from smoking (“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure”). A dialog is a good way to resist the pressure because, in dialogs, peers’ roles can change, and a victim can become a leader. If it does not help, and Jack continues to feel pressure, it is possible for him to find support from other teenagers who do not smoke (“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure”). In this situation, Jack will not be alone.
Finally, Jack can find other friends who do not smoke and/or do not want him to do that (“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure”). These friends will accept Jack’s personality and will not want him to change, which is the most important in a friendship. In conclusion, everyone could use the refusal skills to say “no” and not to do something against one’s will.
“20 Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure.” Your Life Counts, 2017, Web.
MacArthur, Georgie J., et al. “Peer‐led Interventions to Prevent Tobacco, Alcohol and/or Drug Use among Young People Aged 11–21 Years: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis.” Addiction, vol. 111, no. 3, 2016, pp. 391-407.