Learn To Say ‘NO’ – 5 Ways to Handle Peer Pressure
by Nancy Baker
Right from children to adolescents to adults, peer pressure is something that all of us experience at some point or the other. However, peer pressure is more common among school children and teenagers, wherein living up to others standards, trying to become popular, pressure to act in a certain way, and so on, is all part of peer pressure. While peer pressure can also be positive and motivating, it is often likely to be negative with peers pressurizing you and driving you to do things that go against your principles. Nevertheless, peer pressure can be successfully dealt with depending on your mindset and how you feel about yourself. Following is a list of 5 simple yet effective ways to help you or your child combat peer pressure.
Knowing yourself and being comfortable with the choices you make
Even before you go out and socialize with your peers, it is important that you have your own opinions and principles in place. Do your bit of introspection and identify your standards. Try to understand what your principles are, what your thoughts are, what values you subscribe to, what things matter to you the most, and most importantly, stand up for what you believe. By doing so, you will not only appreciate yourself more but even your peers will respect you for your beliefs and your willingness to stand for them no matter what. This will also help you develop a good sense of judgment and a moral conscience, which will further decide the choices that you make. Accordingly, you will be in a better position to either stand up for your peers or stand against them, depending on your judgment of good or bad. The key is to be comfortable with the choices you make, and not do something contrary to your character.
Avoid negative peer pressure and choose your friends wisely
Along with family members, friends and peers play a major role in your daily life in deciding the choices or decisions you makes, the habits you cultivate, your behavior, the values you imbibe, and so on. Therefore, it is increasingly important to choose your buddy group wisely. Stay away from those who you feel would hold a negative influence on you. Avoid being friends with people who might put negative peer pressure on you. Be kind to them and respect them, but avoid social contact if you can. You need not be the most popular kid in the class with an overflowing friend list; rather, have a set of reliable friends who believe in you and share the same values and morals as you. These are friends who motivate you, respect you, and stand up for you – friends who exhibit positive peer pressure. Being in the right company is hands down the best way to share, learn, grow, and resist unwanted peer pressure.
Speak up and do what is right. Learn to say “No”.
While socializing and interacting with peers, never be afraid to speak up and let others know what your boundaries are. Stick to what you believe and never let anyone influence you in a negative way or make you deviate from your stand. Remember, it is okay to say “no” and to flatly refuse to be a part of anything that goes against your conscience, and speak up for it if the need arises. If someone pressurizes you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing, a short and simple “no, thanks” should do. Remember to be firm and polite as far as possible. There are a million ways to say no for something. The key is to know your limits and to stick to them without caving in to pressure.
Instill confidence and self-esteem in your children
It is a known fact that children who are confident are less likely to give in to pressure from their peers and this is exactly why you should be doing whatever it takes to develop self-confidence and self-esteem in your children. Take out the time to praise them and celebrate their achievements. Be a constant source of motivation and encouragement to your children and make them feel good about themselves. Try involving your children while making important decisions and ask them for their opinions. Spend time talking to them, listening to them, helping them develop responsible attitudes, and most importantly, respect and value their opinions. Doing so will boost their self-confidence and make them realize that they are capable of making good and sensible judgments for themselves.
Encourage children to take part in sports and extracurricular activities
Apart from studies, one should always encourage children to take part in positively reinforcing activities such as sports, music, art, athletics, and other hobby groups, youth groups, or school projects that can enhance their self-esteem. Indulging in such activities will not only boost your child’s self-confidence, but will also give your child the opportunity to build new social circles and interact with peers who share similar positive interests. This is great way of turning peer pressure into positive peer pressure.
About the Author
Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger who is currently writing for EDUCARE, reputable providers of focused early intervention advice for families. She enjoys keeping herself update with the latest market trends when not indulging in a John Grisham novel. You can also follow her on Twitter @Nancy Baker.