As teens begin to socialize, peer pressure is something that often can’t be avoided. When teens begin building relationships and forming bonds with groups of other teens, they will begin to feel pressure from their friends in several areas of life. Sometimes this pressure is to do something they know is not right. When teens give into this pressure, it can lead them down the wrong road. Avoiding peer pressure is hard, but understanding the importance and impact peer pressure has on teens, and its possible consequences, can help you make better choices, even if those choices aren’t always the popular ones.
Peer Pressure and Drugs
Peer pressure is one of the main reasons that teens try drugs. In fact, many teens use drugs regularly, and often try to convince those around them to join in. This is tempting because you might feel you will anger or upset your friends by saying no. But if you follow along and do something that you know is illegal or wrong, you risk serious consequences, like being suspended from school, becoming addicted to drugs or being arrested.
Like many teens, you may have the desire to be accepted and to fit in with your peer group. If a group is popular, chances are many teens will be willing to do things they wouldn’t normally do to be part of that group. Some teens take advantage of their popularity and coerce other teens to steal drugs or alcohol, or engage in other illegal behaviors. This kind of pressure is something you can’t necessarily avoid, but you can learn how to deal with it, or how to say no.
If you have already succumbed to peer pressure and are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s not too late to seek help. Call us today at 1-888-388-5605 to discuss your treatment options.
Avoiding Peer Pressure
It’s very difficult to avoid peer pressure completely because socializing is part of being a teen. When the only thing you want is be part of a group, it often seems impossible to walk away from peer pressure. However, there are some cases where saying no is the only way to avoid further issues that could get you into a lot of trouble.
Most teens understand the difference between right and wrong, so avoiding peer pressure is a matter of weighing the pros and cons of the situation. Is fitting in with a crowd worth getting arrested for drug possession? Is sparing a friend’s feelings worth becoming addicted to alcohol?
In some cases, if a group of teens is engaging in illegal acts, there will be at least one teen who is strong enough to say no, and if one person is strong enough to speak out against the activity, the chances are that others will follow. Knowing what is right and wrong, and having a clear idea of the consequences of your actions, are key to avoiding the negative effects of peer pressure. The teens who are most successful in this area are those who are able to view the situation from a larger perspective, and realize how their actions will affect others, including their parents and siblings.
The reasons that teens give into peer pressure are numerous. According to Safe Youth, teens often:
- Feel afraid of rejection
- Want to be liked or don’t want to lose a friend
- Don’t want to be teased
- Don’t want to hurt another teen’s feelings
- Feel unsure what to do
- Don’t know how to get out of the situation without giving in
All teens give into peer pressure at one time or another, and peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing. Friends might pressure each other into doing things that improve health, confidence or social skills, and these are good types of peer pressure. But when friends push each other into doing bad or illegal things like drugs, they are not behaving as good friends. One of the most successful ways of avoiding peer pressure is for teens to encourage each other to resist it.
Teens can help each other out in social situations by being supportive and jointly refusing to do something they know is wrong. If you feel pressured to do something you know is not right or good for you, remember that you have the right to say “no,” and you don’t need a reason. You also have the right to walk away. Resisting pressure can be hard for some teens because often their friends won’t accept the negative response. There are some ways of effectively saying “no” so the pressure stops:
- 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