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How to Avoid Peer Pressure

by Leslie Miller

Peer pressure is when one or more people in your age group coax you to do something you would otherwise be unwilling to do. You might fall prey to peer pressure because you want to fit in, especially when you are new to a place or are less experienced than the ones around you. A peer can be a friend, a classmate or even someone on TV. You might be tempted to live up to your peers' expectations, but be careful not to lose sight of your own values.

Build Your Self-Esteem

Having little self-regard can make you fall short of your potential and reduce your resistance to abusive relationships and situations. Self-esteem is determined by your relationships, thoughts and experiences. With healthy self-esteem, you perceive yourself as deserving the respect of others. However, with low self-esteem, you view your opinions and ideas as less important. Do not cut yourself down in front of others. Instead, start feeling bold in your own skin. To uplift your self-esteem, surround yourself with forward-looking role models. Relationships that give you positive feedback are likely to boost your self-esteem, unlike the ones whereby you are being teased, devalued or criticized by others.

Be Bold

It is not difficult to start molding a polished and attractive image. However, it takes some courage and boldness in the face of peer pressures, asserts Beverly Slomka in her book “Teens and the Job Game: Prepare Today -- Win it Tomorrow.” You might find it hard to say no in certain situations. Nevertheless, do not become a people pleaser, especially when it comes to being pushed around. Be bold and practice to stand up for yourself and for what you believe in. Although this will not eliminate peer pressure completely, always say no and you will eventually find easy ways to defeat it.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

It is difficult to resist constant temptations of friends who swear all the time, have dirty minds and drink or do drugs if you always hang out with them. In her article “Friendships, Peer Influence, and Peer Pressure During the Teen Years” on the IANR website, Maria R. T. de Guzman explains that friendships built during adolescence tend to be more exclusive, more consistent and more complex than earlier in childhood. Have someone positive whom you can always turn to for advice. A friend or relative who is ready to discuss things with you will be helpful whenever you feel pressure from your friends to indulge in bad deeds.

Reflect on the Consequences

When you feel peer pressure, stop and think about the results. There are always repercussions to each action, and some are more serious than others. Give every moment a serious thought. Brett Laursen, a professor of psychology at Florida Atlanta University, explains on the APA website that it is easier to resist influence when you have thought about its implications beforehand. Reflecting on the consequences will help you picture how various actions will affect you before you are pushed into making bad decisions.

About the Author

Leslie Miller is an expert in parenting issues, social, family and relationship issues. Currently, she is blogging on these issues for those seeking guidance and insight for everyday challenges. Miller is the founder of www.therapyontheweb.org, which was developed for individuals who seek the convenience and privacy of telephone and the internet.

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