How to handle negative peer pressure

By admin
30 June 2014

Everyone experiences peer pressure at some stage, whether it’s to do with bunking class, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs or sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend. What do you do? Do you do what you know is right or do you give in to pressure?

“Come on, we’re all bunking class. Who wants to write a test? We’re going to jump over the fence and spend the day at Jacques’ house,” says the most popular guy in your class.

What do you do? Do you do what you know is right and not jump over the fence? Or do you give in to pressure and accompany your friends?

Everyone experiences peer pressure at some stage, whether it’s to do with bunking class, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs or sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

The easiest way to handle bad peer pressure is to avoid it completely. Surround yourself with friends who enjoy the same things as you and share your values – there’ll be less chance of experiencing negative peer pressure.

Here’s advice on handling negative peer pressure.

1. Take a breath

  1. If a friend suggests doing something you feel uncomfortable about, take a deep breath. You don’t have to answer immediately.

2. Choose the right words

  1. If your friends try to persuade you to bully someone or steal something, say what you think of that. For example, “That’s cruel”, “That’s dangerous”, “That’s theft” or “It’s against the rules.”

3. Think

What will be the result of your behaviour? For example:

  • Bullying someone: Will it hurt them?
  • Breaking school rules: You could end up in the headmaster’s office and your parents might punish you too.
  • Theft: You could be caught and taken to the police station.
  • Smoking, drinking or drugging: You could become addicted and it could harm your health.
  • Having sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend: You could break up in a month or two. How will you feel then? Or you/your girlfriend could fall pregnant.

4. Ask “What can we do instead?”

Suggest something else to do. That’s often easier than listing the negative consequences of doing something wrong.

5. Walk away

If none of the above strategies works, walk away. But don’t criticise your friends (which can result in a fight). Rather say something such as, “Okay, I’m going to class and I’ll see you at Jacques’ house after school.”

-Shané Barnard

Sources: kidshealth.org, teensforlife.com, greatschools.org

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