Preventing Peer Pressure

Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

In this lesson, learn what peer pressure is and how it is linked through acts of bullying. Afterwards, identify prevention measures and other tactics that can help decrease this adolescent-based phenomenon.

What is Peer Pressure?

Although peer pressure can be defined as an influence from one's peer group, this definition alone struggles to provide an understanding of this adolescent-based phenomenon. Peer pressure is an experience that you will encounter when friends attempt to influence you to act a certain way or complete a certain task, typically something that you do not want to do.

There are positive acts of peer pressure; however, this phenomenon is mainly seen as negative, as it hinders your ability to make a decision based upon your own values and morals. Don't forget that adults can also experience peer pressure; so know that you are not alone when it comes to being pressured by people of your own age.

Peer pressure is defined as a negative influence from one

Examples of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can present itself in your life in different ways. The best way to identify peer pressure is to think about how your friends influence your life. For example, do they encourage you to cut class? Do they encourage you to commit crimes? Or perhaps, they may encourage you to make fun of someone on your sports team that isn't as good a player as the rest of the crew. In order to identify peer pressure, you will typically not want to participate in the encouraging behavior, and your friends may say something along the lines of, 'well everyone else is doing it'.

Other examples of peer pressure could include underage drinking and smoking, the pressure to have sexual intercourse, to fight, and to steal. Look for negative behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable, or ones that are illegal.

Linking Peer Pressure and Bullying

Peer pressure is a form of bullying, especially when it comes to making fun of peers for being different. This experience has been coined peer pressure bullying. Peer pressure and bullying are linked as you can be pressured to engage in making fun of other peers due to differences that include being overweight, having a disability, or being attracted to the same sex. Peer pressure bullying can occur in many forms that include physical acts of violence, emotional teasing, and also cyber bullying. It can be easy to be peer-pressured into bullying someone via a social media platform, such as Facebook or Instagram.

Preventing Peer Pressure

Because it may be difficult to say 'no' to a peer who is trying to influence you, there are many preventive steps you can take in order to reduce the exposure and negative effects of peer pressure.

Get Away from the Pressure Zone

This is a simple preventive rule, as it allows you to leave the area immediately, shutting out peers that are trying to influence you. When peers are repeatedly asking you to do something you are not comfortable with, simply say, 'no thanks' and move away. This will make it harder for your peers to continue pressuring you to complete something that you know is not within your value system.

Learn to Say 'No'

It is important to remember that the word 'No' is a complete sentence. It doesn't require you to explain your positions. This is where many people struggle in saying 'No', as they feel that they have to explain their position, which in turn, increases the peer pressure. When saying 'No', say it with authority while looking the other person in the eye. The more confident that you appear in your refusal, the less chance of your peers continuing to bug you.

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