“Remember this, I beseech you, all you boys who are getting into the upper forms. Now is the time in all your lives, probably, when you may have more wide influence for good or evil on the society you live in than you ever can have again.”- Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s School Days
Thomas Hughes beautifully summed up the issue of peer pressure in schools when he wrote the above-mentioned quote in his book, Tom Brown’s School Days, a novel published in 1857.
This proves that “Peer Pressure” is not something new but has been around for a long time.
Who or what is a “Peer”?
People who are of the same age as you, are called “peer” and when they start interfering in your decision-making process, when they start to tell you what you should do, or when they start to influence you, it is called “peer pressure”.
The coolest students in your class may ask you to cut class, may offer you cigarettes, ask you to lie to your parents, and so on. On your own, it is difficult to decide what is right and what is wrong. But when someone else is trying to pressurize you into making a decision, it becomes even more difficult.
How do you handle “Peer Pressure”?
First of all, you have to understand that “Peers” will always influence you, even if you do not always realize that. You will get influenced by them and they will get influenced by you. It is natural.
Secondly, you have to know that “Peer Pressure” can have a positive impact on you. Sometimes you may get help from them in your studies or learn a new trick on the sports ground. They may also help you decide good books to read or great movies to watch.
But, on the flip side of it, “Peer Pressure” can sometimes have a negative impact. Like when a classmate asks you to be mean to other students, or influence you to cut classes, etc.
Some students give in to “Peer Pressure” to fit in, to be accepted by all. They don’t want to be seen as not being cool. Others give in just out of curiosity. They want to try something new and in their curiosity they leave their reason behind. This arises a very obvious question:
How do you say “NO”?
To be able to say no to your peers requires a great amount of self-confidence and inner strength. Also, you have to listen to the voice of reason and understand what is right for you and what is not. You have to know your own feelings and your own beliefs. It will be helpful if you are not alone in saying no. Choose your friends wisely. Hang out with friends who share your values and beliefs. Don’t give in. And if you find yourself unable to say no though you want to, talk to someone who is in a better position to help you, like a teacher, parent, older sibling, etc.
Finally[sociallocker] in the words of Steve Maraboli:
“At any given point you can release your greatest self. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t let anyone dilute you. Don’t be peer pressured into being less than you are. People willing to dilute themselves for the sake of others are one of the great tragedies of our time. Stop letting others define and set the pace for your life. Get out there and be your best. Do your best. Live your best. Make every day count and you’ll see how exponentially more exciting, thrilling, successful, happy and full your life will be.”[/sociallocker]