How many times did your parents try to make you wear something totally ugly, just because it was warm or practical? All the while you complained about wearing it, and without a result? Maybe, when it did not work, you resorted to another solution – I have a friend who would let down the ponytail her mom tied up for her every morning as soon as she was out of sight on her way to school. On these occasions, it is very likely you got influenced by peer pressure.
What even is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is defined as direct influence or effect of the influence on an individual or a group of individuals by their peers, resulting in the change in behaviour, values or attitude of those influenced.
To put it simply, peer pressure is the pressure the people of your age and social group put on you to change your behavior or even looks so as to conform to someone else’s. It is a phenomenon often seen in children. If you have ever been to a kindergarten, you must know the one and only point is to be like everybody else, play with the same toys as everybody else and make friends only with the kids that respect these unofficial rules. If you fail to do that and are not afraid to be unique, you will probably be called names, like “weirdo”.
It might have a debilitating effect on some children (who would like being insulted for being themselves anyways?), but generally, they tend to “bounce back” pretty fast. Young kids are easily influenced, by their peers and by older people as well. They generally tend to trust their parents in everything, so if the parents manage to convince their children that they should be themselves and do what they like, they will probably be a little less impressionable.
Is peer pressure dangerous?
From the previous paragraphs, you would probably decide that peer pressure is nothing to be worried about. To a certain extent, that is true – we definitely have bigger problems on our hands concerning mental health and youth. However, it is certainly not something to ignore.
When you are a child, peer pressure usually makes you do pretty harmless things – refusing to wear a certain colour, play with a certain toy or watch a certain series you do not care about. As people get older, the base stays the same – only shopping in certain stores, listening to popular music you do not like or altering your looks to resemble everybody else. With this comes a danger of repressing your own, unique personality.
There is another risk to peer pressure – with age, it might lead to worse actions. Shoplifting, drinking, violence, and other crimes or moral oversteps are often caused by peer pressured teenagers who did not find the strength or will to say no, or simply did not see anything wrong with the action. “Everybody else does it, so why would I not?”
What to make of this article?
Chances are, that you, the person reading this, are a teenager. Believe it or not, we are sometimes more impressionable that children, simply because we care about our social settings and image a lot. We would rather be uncomfortable and unhappy than lonely and humiliated. You probably convince yourself that it is not as bad, that you can just go through with whatever you are being pressured to do and then heal the wounds later, in private. And you know, this technique works for some time. You suppress yourself, go to places that you do not want to go and do things you do not want to do.
But I think you would be much happier if you actually asked yourself.
- Do I really want this?
- Is this what I need?
- Is this my decision?
- Will this make me feel good or miserable?
- Who am I doing this for?
Maybe answering these questions will help you find out something about yourself and your actual personality. Remember, it is just fine to be different. It is okay to maybe be a little less popular in exchange for being able to enjoy what you like instead of making yourself fit into a mold.
Magicshop wishes you the best of luck!