Handling Peer Pressure: Building The Right BoundariesHandling Peer Pressure: Building The Right Boundaries

In teenage life, everyone faces peer pressure in one form or another. Due to the fear of missing out or not fitting in, they often give in to the pressure. However, it is not ideal as the decisions you make in your teenage years can affect your adulthood.

In this blog, we will understand how to stand your ground by building boundaries and handling peer pressure in the right way.

What Is Peer Pressure?

The act of giving in to pressure from your friends even if you may not want to. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that the pressure can be both positive and negative.

One of the most common reasons that teens give in to the pressure is that they want to feel accepted by their peers. Some other reasons may be finding it difficult to say no, having low confidence, and the fear of embarrassment and judgement.

This pressure can be direct or indirect and mostly affects teens. Some subtle examples are, bunking classes because you don’t want to be a victim of name-calling or bullying.

Additionally, many teens lack the maturity to make decisions. Therefore, they can easily give in to pressure.

Types Of Peer Pressure

1) Spoken Peer Pressure

Spoken pressure is when one friend persuades or tries to convince others to do a certain activity to behave in a certain way. Nonetheless, peer pressure does not have to be a negative pressure. For example your friend is forcing you to go to the school dance to gain experience.

2) Unspoken Peer Pressure

Unspoken pressure is when you are not directly asked to do something. However, you feel compelled to follow because everyone around you is doing so.

An example of unspoken pressure could be vaping. According to studies, more than 37% of teenagers in the USA are vaping. If a teen who does not smoke is surrounded by a group that does, he may feel compelled to join too.

3) Direct Peer Pressure

Direct pressure can be both spoken and unspoken. It is when a friend forces you to do something even if you know you don’t engage in such activities. For example – they give you alcoholic beverages even if they know you are a non-drinker.

4) Indirect Peer Pressure

Indirect pressure from friends can be daunting. This is when you feel compelled to do something that you do not wish to do. The indirect pressure from friends you may witness in this case is quite subtle which makes it difficult to address the situation

An example of indirect pressure from peers can be them looking at your answer sheet during an exam, even though you don’t want to help them. In such a scenario, you don’t want to seem selfish or you may fear judgement from your friend due to which you may not hide your answers and help them in the exam.

5) Negative Peer Pressure

“Negative pressure” as the name suggests is when a group of friends compels you to do something that is against your family values and morals. This can be in any form such as spoken, unspoken direct, and indirect pressure. Examples of this kind of pressure are: shoplifting, consumption of alcohol, etc.

6) Positive Peer Pressure

Positive pressure, similar to negative pressure can be of any form such as spoken, unspoken direct, or indirect. However, the difference between the both is that this kind of pressure promotes positive influence. For example – everyone in your friend group has joined the gym or yoga class and you feel compelled to try it out too.

Positive pressure will eventually benefit and motivate you to foster healthy changes.

How To Deal With Peer Pressure?

1) Talking To Parents

Parents play an important role in how a teenager will act during peer pressure. Parents should give their children a safe space to come to them in case they feel uncomfortable in a certain situation.

Suppose a teenager has lied about a sleepover and sneaks out to a party. However, once the teen reaches there, she finds out that everyone there is consuming alcohol, and she doesn’t feel comfortable attending. In such a situation, the teen should feel comfortable contacting the parents and be honest.

While the teen may fear the consequences of lying, being able to open up to the parents will allow them to feel safe. However, if they find it difficult to open up with her parents, she can contact another adult such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, elder cousins, etc.

Also read: Parental Involvement with Peer Pressure

2) Building Boundaries

It is important to build boundaries with friends. Ensure that the boundaries you set protect your morals, values, and beliefs. Moreover, you must communicate these boundaries with your friends.

Some examples of these boundaries could be – Saying no to doing drugs or consuming alcohol, sneaking out at night, lying, stealing, etc.

3) Walk Away

If a friend does not respect your boundaries, it is better to distance yourself from them. You must stick to your ground. There may be instances where you may hesitate to distance yourself as they are your only friends. However, you should remember that you do not have to stay with people who do not respect you.

Don’t settle for friends who pressurise you to do things you are not comfortable with. Rather, make quality friends who motivate you to work on yourself.

4) Listen To Your Gut Feeling

If you are in a situation and are confused about what decision to make, take a break and listen to what your gut feeling. Trust your instincts as it will help you differentiate between right and wrong.

5) Learn To Say No

Lastly, you must learn to refuse and make excuses so that you can easily tackle the pressure. For example, if your friend is asking you to bunk a class you can tell them you are having a headache and just want to sit, or if someone is inviting you to a party that you do not want to attend, you can say that you have prior commitments, etc.

These excuses will help you to decline without having the fear of judgement. Additionally, this will also help you stick to your values, beliefs, and morals.

Suggested read: Childhood Friends: How to Nurture a Strong Bond

By Shreya Bhatt

I am Shreya Bhatt, a content writer and creator, I enjoy answering audiences' curiosity with my blogs. I graduated in 2023 with a bachelor's in mass communication. I have always taken an immense interest in writing, and creating content. My first workshop about SEO is what piqued my interest in content writing, and I have been pursuing it ever since. I love to write about diverse topics and enjoy researching and gathering information about something that is new to me. Although I graduated in 2023, I have over a year's experience in content writing. Personally, I love to travel, listen to music, and follow an active lifestyle. As a child, I often looked at Google to answer all my questions, and today as an adult I look to answer the questions of others.

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