NEW GROUP! Includes discussions from the Administrators and Professional Development groups. What will it take to move our schools into the 21st century? Please share your thoughts and leadership strategies here.

Handling Peer Pressure In Teenagers........

Tina Olyai Director - Little Angels High School -Gwalior M.P.

Handling Peer Pressure In Teenagers........

Low esteem, lack of confidence, feeling isolated from family, poor academic abilities or performance, fear of one’s peer group, lack of close friends, are some of the ‘traits’ that make you fall into the peer pressure trap. It is a known fact that Peer Pressure exists in all walks and stages of life, but it is particularly prevalent with teens. Rather, they are more conscious of it and more susceptible to it than at any other stage of life. As a teenager, this is a time when you are finding your niche, moving towards greater independence and trying to get a sense of your individuality. Hence, this is the time when you will experience peer pressure the maximum.

Teen age is a time when you are trying to make decisions for yourself and finding your independence. Independence is about exercising your choice with responsibility and not about replacing your parents’ choice with that of peers..

Peer culture isn’t a generic, one-model-fits-all culture. There are many groups among teens, each with their own set of style .You can easily find a group that most suits you. Trouble comes when you want to fit into a group that’s most unlike you. Be sure of your reasons for wanting to be part of that group. It is better to be part of a group you are comfortable with than one where you just don’t fit in.

Adolescence is an age when teenagers try to create an identity for themselves they have a desperate need to belong to a group and thus often end up becoming a soft target for peer pressure.

Peer pressure can be categorized under good and bad. Bad peer pressure refers to doing certain things by force much against one’s will...

I shall Defy All Rules
I shall Defy Rules Selectively
I shall Follow All Rules.

Between these choices, there exist many variations, giving you scope to fit in with the right group. Choosing the right group eases half the pressure.

One of the other things that kids are most worried about in peer acceptance is the way they dress.

Clothing is the most visible element that defines you. Hence, it becomes one of the first elements in which peer pressure is felt the greatest. You wonder constantly whether this or that clothing is right for you to fit in with the group.
Should you wear that neat pair of jeans that fits you just right or the pair of low waist jeans with the line of innerwear showing up? Should you wear this pair of sports shoes or those pair of scuffed slip-ons? Should you have your school shirt in or out or just half out? As much as you want to fit in, it is important to remember one thing – Fitting in doesn’t equate to Giving in..!!

Fitting in is about knowing yourself, having your own set of guidelines and decision process and making subtle changes to fit in with the group.
Giving in is about discarding your thought process entirely to be part of the group. With that, the whole purpose of finding your independence and asserting your individuality is lost. Your peers wouldn’t respect you for giving in. You may find that you are included temporarily within the most happening circle, but it would be short-lived. You will gain their respect only when you understand the peer culture but strike your own path.

Dressing right is the big visual element of the image you project to your peers. It is also one of the fundamental elements through which we define ourselves. Whether you want to define yourself as a hip, happening person, a studious, intelligent kind, or a music lover, art lover, the sports buff, it is up to you. There are plenty of choices and variations out there. Know your choices and see whether they are the real you. The more closely your clothing comes to express the real you, the more effectively you have exerted your independence with responsibility. Doing so brings you respect from your peers, at the same time you are comfortable with your choices. Hence, what you are trying to achieve is Peer Respect and Confidence in who you are.

Always be happy and content with what you are and don’t try to impress anyone. It is much better to be with few very good friends rather than hang out with a happening group that is just pretending to like you. Be friends with those who are willing to respect you for who you are.

Always display your own individuality with pride and confidence. The trick is to find the balance between when you need to follow the crowd and when to follow your inner voice.

Tina Olyai
Director LAHS

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