When I was younger, I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to get older so I won’t have to deal with peer pressure.”
Entering high school, like most kids, I encountered a lot of peer pressure. Prior to high school, your parents can do a fairly decent job at filtering what you’re exposed to; however, during the teenage years it becomes a bit more difficult. You cannot fully prepare your kids for all the different situations or people they may encounter. Sure, there are the more apparent conversations that happen such as “the birds and the bees” and “don’t do drugs,” but then there are the unpredictable circumstances where the only thing a parent can do is instill good values and morals in their children and hope that their children use those values and morals as armor during the battles they face.
I am not necessarily writing this post to share about peer pressures you face in high school. Rather, I want to stay focused on my opening thought: “I can’t wait to get older so I won’t have to deal with peer pressure.” This thought stemmed from the naive assumption that it gets easier to stand firm in your values and morals when you get older – the notion that adults don’t make fun of each other and that just because you’re an adult, all other adults will respect your beliefs and accept you for who you are.
I can’t fault my younger self for thinking this way, but now that I’ve reached the ‘older’ point in life that my younger self dreamed of, I have to chuckle. Let’s be honest, it is hard – if not harder – to stand firm in your values and morals in the “adult world.” The pressure to drink, do drugs, gossip, cheat, lie, etc…still surround you. That uncomfortable feeling still overcomes you when you try to avoid these things.
Peer pressure will never go away – no matter your age. Why? Because we will ALWAYS have peers – no matter your age. Definition of“Peer” :: One that is of equal standing with another…One belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or status.
So, I will leave you with this. I have 3 things that serve as my “armor” when I go to battle with peer pressure. I do have to give a shout-out to my amazing mom and dad, because these are 3 things they instilled in us since we were little. Parents – do not underestimate the power of your words and actions. It may takes months or years, but your kids do notice…and remember…and apply.
To suit up for a battle with peer pressure, I put on my:
- Knowledge. I’ve found that dealing with peer pressure is A LOT easier when I know who I am. As you “grow up” you naturally learn more about who you are and the person you want to be. When you are unsure of who you are, you are easily swayed and ultimately never find your way because you are more than likely living your life according to others’ perspectives, values and morals rather than your own.
- Confidence. It’s OK to be afraid – fear is a natural reaction for us all. But, confidence in your values and morals is what helps you overcome the fear of being judged by others. When you are confident in a choice you’re making and, most importantly, the reasoning behind that choice, facing peer pressure is that much easier!
- Faith. I listed this last, but it is certainly not least. As a matter of fact, this is what ties everything together. Without my faith, I would be completely and utterly lost – my values and morals would consistently be changing and I would not be the person I am today. When facing peer pressure, my faith is what protects my heart. I know and am confident that I was made in His image…my Savior…my God…my Creator. He sees me as perfect, so there is no way mankind can make me feel less than what I know I am. God accepts my values and morals because they are His own! Boom.
I truly hope that sharing the ways I deal with peer pressure – knowing who I am, building upon my confidence, and strengthening my faith – have helped to encourage and inspire who needs it. Peer pressure exists everywhere in this world: in schools, the workplace, at home, even in public places where we encounter strangers day in and day out. You never know who you’re impacting when you choose to say “no” to peer pressure – when you choose to do right by your values and morals. You can be the spark that creates a fire of positive change in this world.
Keep pressing on!