Humans have an infinite urge to be accepted in a group or an institution. Peer pressure manifests itself in numerous ways, from simple things like the clothes we wear to more serious things such as smoking or doing drugs. Peer pressure is most rampant in youth, as they are in the learning stage of their lives, and often are tempted to things they might not be comfortable with. The facts about peer pressure point out the challenges that our youngsters face in schools and colleges. It is important therefore, that we all take some steps to fight peer pressure so that it does not impact our lives.
Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure
Develop a Positive Self-Esteem
All of us strive hard to gain acceptance in our groups and sometimes end up doing things we would have never done in the absence of peer pressure. The underlying reason for this is that we do not want to be singled-out, and perceived as someone who is uninteresting and boring. For example, most youngsters take up smoking as they feel that it will help them to gain acceptability in a group. The basic notion behind this phenomenon is that youngsters think that if they refuse to smoke citing reasons such as 'smoking is injurious to health', they would be laughed at, and would become a subject of ridicule.
To counter this, it is important that positive self-esteem is developed in youngsters. Individuals who feel positively about themselves will be able to deal with peer pressure in a much better way, as the inclination to reassurance seeking behavior will be lesser. For example, if an individual is confident about himself, he can stand his ground, and would be able to say no to his peers if he is forced to indulge in something that he is not interested in. So, it is important to develop a positive self-esteem among the youth, and parents can play an important part in this.
One of the most effective ways of avoiding peer pressure is to say 'No' to something that you do not believe in. We all are unable to outwardly refuse an idea put forward by our peers and find ourselves reluctantly being a part of an activity. The reason for hesitation in saying 'No' stems from the feeling that it would look awkward and will portray us poorly. This feeling can cause one to be in a state of dilemma, where one knows that the activity he is engaging in can have disastrous consequences but still ends up being a part of it.
Comparing yourself with other members of the group can develop a sense of inferiority complex in you, and allow peer pressure to build on you. For example, one common observation that has been seen in adolescents is regarding the consumption of alcohol. Youngsters who can have more amounts of alcohol without getting intoxicated or drunk are perceived to be macho and cool. This makes other members of the group to emulate, and they end up drinking alcohol in much higher amounts than their body can handle. So, all efforts should be made by youngsters to avoid getting into unnecessary comparisons. Be comfortable with whom you are and how you look, and do not let negative comments make you feel bad about yourself.
Make Real Friends
One of the best ways to avoid peer pressure is to surround yourself with people who have similar interests as yours, and who understand you. When you are with people who have the same opinions as you have, you will feel a sense of security and confidence, which can be extremely beneficial in preventing you from falling into bad company. If you feel that there are other members in the group who also feel that peer pressure is dominating their lives, approach them and tell them about how you feel about the whole situation. When people with common concerns come together, they act as a support system for each other.
Talk to Your Parents
Sharing your thoughts and emotions with your parents can help you in getting rid of the emotional baggage. Your parents are someone who understand you thoroughly and know your strengths and weaknesses, so you should not hesitate in talking to them. Parents can play an important role in ensuring that their wards are able to cope up with peer pressure.
These were some of the tips that can be helpful in avoiding peer pressure. We have not mentioned anything that you might not already know but ignorance about these often makes our youth to get carried away, and indulge in reckless behavior. We hope that these tips will prove to be beneficial to you.