Teens deal with peer pressure, coping skills

Children are taught at a young age the rights and wrongs when it comes to breaking rules or participating in risky behavior. It may be easier to follow the easy rules as a young child, but teenagers are more capable of improper behavior and breaking rules. Peer pressure is the feeling that one has to fit in with others to ‘feel cool’.  It’s the persuasive act of people trying to make others do things that aren’t always the best ideas. According to American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, teens are likely to give in to peer pressure because they want to fit in. They worry that they will be made fun of for missing out on events.

There are different types of peer pressure that teens find in their daily lives. According to Teen Health, teens are asked to wear the ‘cool’ clothes, skip school, try alcohol or drugs, fit a certain body image, text while driving, or even pressure others. Some teens have trouble when it comes to coping with peer pressure, but there are tips and guidelines that teens can follow. These include avoiding the situation, using words, using the buddy system, rethinking friendships, and talking to trusted people.

Avoid the situation

If you know that the party you were planning on going to has drugs or alcohol, make other plans. If the girl you sit by at lunch is constantly trying to change your wardrobe, sit at a different table. If you feel shy about standing up to your peer or like they try to control you, avoid them. Avoiding difficult situations in which you may make bad choices is the start to avoiding peer pressure.

Use your words

If being peer pressured, don’t give in. Resist by stating your reason for doing so and, if necessary, state it again. Speak with confidence. Make sure your peer knows where your boundaries are, and tell them the effects of breaking the rules and the benefits of rules staying unbroken. For example, if someone is tempting you to drink alcohol, say, “No thanks, I’m fine without it.” If someone is gossiping about another and they want you to add to the conversation, say, “I wouldn’t like it if people were talking behind my bad, so I’d rather not do that to other people.”

Use the buddy system

Find someone who has the same values as you and hang with them. Instead of hanging out with a risqué crowd, hang out with someone who is more like you. Being with someone who shares interests, ideas, and hobbies is more enjoyable than being with people who don’t like you for who you are. The buddy system also ensures that there is always someone there to help you out of bad situations and support you.

Rethink your friendships

Are they actually your friend? If a ‘friend’ is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do, they aren’t a true friend. True friends are people who are supportive of your values and have your best interest at heart, not people who want to change you. A friend should have a positive influence on your life and should not turn you away from your true character.

Talk to someone you trust

Parents, teachers, or counselors are great people to talk to in situations involving peer pressure. They want the best for you and want to see you succeed. Seeking help could be one of the best options. Chances are that an adult has been pressured at some point in their life, so take advice from their firsthand experience.

Peer pressure
According to Kids Health, more teens avoid peer pressuring by just saying no. Other alternatives are avoiding the people that are considered poor influences, offering a better option, or finding people who are true friends. (Photo provided by Psych Central)

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