- Peer pressure may be a normal part of growing up.
- May be part of how children and adolescents learn how to become part of a group and the larger society.
- Peer pressure becomes a problem when it drives the teenager to do something s/he doesn’t want to do or something s/he would not normally do.
- Some teenagers may be more vulnerable to peer pressure than others.
- Adolescents who are more likely to be vulnerable to peer pressure are those, who are –
- Experiencing lack or loss of support from their primary social groups (i.e., family, church, school)
- Experiencing disruptions or severe change in their environments (i.e., divorce, death of a parent or close family member, family financial crisis)
- Experiencing emotional turmoil (i.e., , prolonged sadness, grief, depression, shame)
- Adolescents who are experiencing peer pressure, and who lack the skills to resist, may be more likely to –
- Experiment with drugs and alcohol
- Engage in high risk sexual behaviors
- Become involved in risky or dangerous behaviors (i.e., crime, gangs)
- Understand and communicate the relationship between peer pressure and normal adolescent development
- Explore alternative options to what the teenager is feeling pressured about
- Realistically explore the risks associated with and the ultimate outcomes in giving into some forms of peer pressure
- Assist adolescents in developing positive social connections which will “pressure” in a positive way
- Assist teenagers in developing the ability to give themselves permission to say “no” to unwanted behavior (e.g., sexual contacts, drugs, crime, cheating)
- Teach adolescents effective skills for handling and refusing peer pressure
- Practice these refusal skills as they apply to specific situations typically encountered by teens
- Teach and practice assertiveness (resources, Manuel Smith’s When I Say No, I Feel Guilty or Alberti and Emmons’ Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships)