Peer Pressure: How To Cope

How will you respond when the most popular boy in school asks you to skip your English class and join them swimming at the beach? How will you react if a group of your friends tells you to skip school for the day and watch a movie with them instead? Will you follow your conscience, or will you listen to them?


As the years pass by in school, you will be confronted with difficult choices. Some choices do not have correct or incorrect options such as whether you should join the chess club or the debate club. But some choices relate to grave ethical options such as whether you should smoke or not, whether you should skip school or not, or whether you should tell your teachers the truth or not.

Choosing what to do by yourself is already very difficult. However, if other individuals try to influence your choice, it can be more difficult. Peers are individuals who are the same age as you are, such as your friends or classmates. “Peer group pressure begins in elementary schools, as early as age nine. It’s what kids actually encounter there on any given day,” says psychologist Dr. Melanie Killen. Peer pressure happens when your peers attempt to persuade you regarding which choice to take. Everybody experiences peer pressure, including adults.

What Is Peer Pressure

According to Elizabeth Hartney, BSc., MSc., MA, PhD, “Peers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term “peer pressure” means the influence that peers can have on each other.” By their mere presence, your peers affect the decisions and choices that you make in life whether you recognize it or not. You acquire knowledge from each other and influence one another. It is normal to hear and take heed what other individuals your age have to say.

Listening to your peers can be a good thing. Perhaps a classmate in biology class told you about a mnemonic device to help memorize the parts of the digestive system. Or maybe a teammate in the basketball team gave you tips in handling the ball. You may look up to a group of friends who are good at chess, and you want to emulate them. Or maybe you told your friends about a documentary you enjoyed watching and your friends also started watching it. These are illustrations of the right ways friends affect one another’s choices. “So, when we think about peer pressure, we’re really talking about influence to behave differently, that’s exerted by peers,” stresses Brett Laursen, PhD.


But sometimes listening to your peers can be a bad thing. Some friends may attempt to persuade you to skip school. Or a classmate may ask you to ignore another classmate. Or a friend may try to convince you to help him steal items from a store.

Why Kids Submit To Peer Pressure

Children tend to submit to peer pressure for other kids to like them. They also tend to provide peer pressure to avoid being made fun of by other children. Curiosity over the new thing that other children do may also cause them to submit to peer pressure. Wanting to do what everybody else is doing can also cause children to ignore their conscience and subject to peer pressure.

Fighting Peer Pressure


It is tough to be the lone person to refuse to submit to peer pressure. However, it can be done. Listening to your conscience will assist you in doing the correct thing. Being strong and having confidence in yourself will aid you in fighting peer pressure.

It is very useful to have one or more friends who will not bow down to peer pressure. You should also assist friends who are having difficulty fighting peer pressure.

If you are having a hard time fighting peer pressure, approach a trustworthy individual for assistance such as your mother or father or someone who teaches at your school.

Peer Pressure Can Be A Good Thing

Peer pressure can have a good effect on children. Good peer pressure can cause a bully into becoming a better person and start being kind to other children. Peers can help children make good choices in life.

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