Peer pressure is one of those subtle experiences that you might not notice until after you made a decision. You might not realize until later that you made an unhealthy decision because of the pressure you felt from friends. However, the truth is that the more you feel comfortable with yourself, the greater the chances you will make a decision that is right for you versus right for your friends. This article will provide some suggestions that can help teens make choices for their own well being versus giving in to peer pressure.
Being in a situation filled with pressure from friends can be challenging. On the one hand, there’s a desire to say no but at the same time there might be a need to say yes. However, if you can stay true to yourself and not give into the pressure of wanting to belong, here are some ways to no:
- Say no assertively
- Stay separate from activities that involve drugs or alcohol
- Suggest another activity that doesn’t involve drugs
- Stand up for your friends
- Walk away
- Find friends who do not engage in drug-related activities
- Speak clearly and don’t mumble
- Don’t say no too aggressively, but be firm
When faced with the problem of peer pressure, especially if you’ve already noticed that you’ve fallen for it in the past, you might want to explore exactly what it is that leads you to give in to peer pressure in the first place. Is it one of the following?
- Fear of rejection
- Not wanting to be made fun of
- Not wanting to lose a friend
- Not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings
- The desire to appear grown up
- The desire to appear in control
- Not having a clear picture of other’s desire
- Not understanding how to avoid or handle a situation
- Not knowing how to say no
Lastly, you may want to ask your parents to help you, or another adult you trust. Adults in your life can help strengthen who you are so that you don’t succumb to peer pressure. And you may even specifically ask for help with avoiding peer pressure. For example, you might ask your parents to validate you more, provide lots of compliments, and highlight your strengths. As mentioned above, when you are confident and have the ability to accept yourself for who you are, then you’re less likely to give in to the pressures of others. It’s a bit tricky because discovering who you are and developing that self-confidence is the one psychological task that teens need to accomplish in adolescence. Working on self-love and self confidence can support you in making powerful choices that are in favor of safety, autonomy, self-discovery, and self-love.
Peer pressure might be one of the most challenging experiences of being a teen. However, perhaps some of the above tips can strengthen your ability to withstand the pressures of your peers.