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Peer Pressure
by Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani
Peer pressure has been a subject and concern amongst many individuals for eras gone and will continue to be so for eons to come. Peer pressure can be accurately defined as a form of social pressure applied to groups or individual to act or adopt beliefs in a certain manner that shall deem them acceptable in a societal clique.

Various issues come under the category of pressure by peers, such as lying, cheating, misdemeanours, juvenile crimes, etc. Every individual experiences it during some stage of their life, be it in school, office or outside/within a social circle. Peers influence your life even if you may not realise it for all your life. It’s part of human nature to want to lead, dominate or set trends for people to follow. Growth is essential, but involvement of parental or fraternal force in activities develops into “pressure” when the element of influence sits in. Usually, amongst adolescents, peer pressure is a successful part of their lives because of their inability to comprehend and demarcate right or wrong of activities or thoughts that are practised or expressed. A natural leader becomes the role-model within his sphere and every thought becomes a command.

Parents/guardians at most instances remain ignorant about their child’s activities and development of their mind (thoughts) because of their disassociation, which if weren’t the case would normally be perceived as interference. Parents, as well, get sucked into this vortex of pressure to remain absent from their children’s “social” lives lest they are derided by their peers. Peer pressure, however can impact a positive influence on people too. A lot of people give in to their peers in order to be liked and approved of within or outside of a circle that hinders their better judgement and common sense of a certain act that could be dangerous or incriminating. Parental interference is important in places where a child is seen to waver.

Proper instillation of values and beliefs can render in person strength, enough to rebel against a wrong even if it seems a popular thing to do in that moment. Peer pressure is common amongst children, but is no foreign or passé subject for men and women in fields of employment or even within their social circles. It takes strength of mind, character and concrete beliefs in morals that can break the vicious cycle of peer pressure by even a single person standing firm against the wrong. There is a very popular adage “choose your friends wisely” that when practised will help you break through any pressure from peers.

Asking for help to fight against pressure is no cowardice, instead a better option because it prepares you to fight in the face of future difficult experiences. When a group of people come together to fight against peer pressure or force other peers into being “good”, peer pressure then takes a positive stance. Peers who are committed to doing well in school or in any fields of work inspire or motivate individuals around and amongst them to be goal-oriented.

Qualities such as kindness, loyalty, unity and helpfulness develop in people that help them maintain relationships they build in every phase of their lives throughout life. Advice is shared and offered for any task attempted or a positive debate or discussion on beliefs and practises broadens vision, knowledge and acceptance of those people coming from different sectors of the world. Such qualities are ensured healthy and consistent with prudent teaching and influence by teachers or guardians.

Role-models or peers can be the people watched on television or heard on radios. Hence, guidance in the programmes viewed on channels is important to educate children about the right or wrong and why some practises and beliefs are acceptable in certain groups and unacceptable in others, however sustaining harmony through respect and space amongst each other.

The most important way to avert pressure from peers into negative or wrongful actions is to learn to say “NO”. Always be prompt in seeking an adult’s help where situations are deemed difficult or dangerous to manoeuvre on one’s own. Where there are people, there shall always be peer pressure.

There are two aspects to it: positive and negative. Peer pressure when encouraged in a positive manner can result in productivity and development, whereas, negative pressure can only lead to divisiveness and destruction. Intensive and extensive education on many issues of life prepare the minds of individuals and help make decisions on their own regarding acts or thoughts they are comfortable with or would refrain from.

Awarding remarks boost self-confidence in children and turn them towards activities where they can influence their peers into growth. Peer pressure influence if regulated and controlled can attain many positive results. This depending on the level and standard of education each individual acquires throughout their lives from teachers, parents, friends, or people around them. Hence, exposure to books and information expand understanding of subjects and the rights and wrongs. Negative peer pressure can be empowered only through this and would no longer remain a source of concern to any.
27-Mar-2013
 
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