Peer Pressure

Dealing with Negative Peer Pressure

It can be as simple as your classmate asking you to copy your homework and as difficult as your friends wanting you to try drugs for the first time. Negative peer pressure takes place when someone tells you to do things that you know or feel is wrong, hurtful, or dangerous.

Words can hurt. Friends can make you feel so pressured into doing something, you feel you have no choice but to go with the flow. After all, who wants to be called "chicken"? They might tell you, "It's no big deal." or "Everyone's doing it."

THE BOTTOM LINE IS: If you do something because of what your friends say, Who's in control of You? It is during your teen years that you start gaining more personal freedom and are in the position to make more decisions by yourself FOR yourself. So who's in charge? If you LET them make up your mind, you're giving up that control.

If something feels wrong, it probably IS. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. Lots of teens worry about not being liked and unpopular if they don't go with the flow. DON'T LET YOURSELF BE MANIPULATED. Life is about making decisions and each decision you make will lead you down a different path.

Learn to make good decisions:

Weigh the pros and cons. Understand the negative consequences that can result from a decision YOU make. (By giving in to negative peer pressure, you might get grounded, you could lose people you thought were your friends, you could be put in jail.) trust yourself to make the responsible choice. Be honest with yourself. Are the risks involved worth damaging your own self-respect?

It takes guts to stand up for yourself. At some point in time, you've got to assume responsibility for yourself. Why not start now? Say it like you mean it!

When you tell your friend you won't do something you don't feel good about, speak with conviction. Speak with sincerity. You'll be surprised. By asserting yourself honestly and firmly, you might gain respect and admiration from your peers.

Remember you can always walk away and ignore them. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. Do it casually. Do it confidently. Remember, not all peer pressure is negative. Friends can lend a lot of positive support for each other too.

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