Positive Peer Pressure

How to use it and still be "cool".

Teens are not the only ones who have difficulty with peer pressure; ask any adult and they will give you a few examples. There is pressure to have a better house, car, or job; just because of what the neighbors or friends might think. Parents are often pressured by other parents to let their teen drive even when they know their teen is not ready. Why? Because that parents want to feel "okay" about their poor decision. It's no different for teens.

Every teen confronts peer pressure...it doesn't matter what "clique" you belong to. But not all peer pressure is bad. Peers can also have a positive influence on each other and can play an important role in each other's lives. Peers can offer encouragement to do well on a test or in a competition. They can offer advice on a problem or new idea, and may be the first one to tell you when you are about to make a mistake! However, peers can often pressure you to do something that you are not comfortable with such as taking drugs, drinking or taking risks when driving a car. Finding the courage to speak up and not "follow the crowd" is difficult but not impossible. Everyone finds themselves in a tough situation at some time or another.

Sometimes it helps to listen to your gut...you know, that little voice in your head. Get comfortable saying "no" and think through in advance some possible scenarios. Surround yourself with fiends who think like you and will "have your back" when things get tough. Watch out for each other! When all else fails you can always blame your parents: "My mother would kill me if she ever found out, no way!"

You have more power than you might think. When you speak up and take a stand your actions will influence others. This influence can be positive or negative. Be determined to make it positive.

Chances are you are not the only one who wants to speak up and do the right thing. However, you may be the only one with the courge to do so. Be a leader! Over half of teens surveyed stated that would not speak up when faced with an unsafe situation.